eHarmony started in 2000 in the USA and is growing to be one of the biggest US internet dating sites. Building on its success there, eHarmony is now available in the UK too.
The site uses a patented Compatibility Matching System that reportedly results in an average of 236 marriages a day, or some 2.5% of US marriages! The Matching system made use of a study on couples of all ages who had been married between 1 and 65 years and used this information to form a system that would predict compatibility of two individuals.
The UK sister site was launched in 2008 and is fast becoming very popular. Interestingly, rather than just using the same criteria for matching that the US site utilises, eHarmony used the results from a UK-specific survey in conjunction with Oxford University. The results showed many similarities in what makes a marriage work in the UK and the US, but also some differences. We are impressed that eHarmony went to such lengths to ensure the success of their British site.
eHarmony is only intended for individuals who are seriously seeking a long-term, serious relationship. Be warned, if you are separated or still married you will not be allowed to join.
Signing up is lengthy because it includes filling in the detailed personality profile so you can be matched. Once you have joined you will be able to see the profiles of your matches, but won't be able to see the photos until you become a paying member.
You are able to indicate how interesting a profile is to you, removing those you don't want and allowing the software to improve its ability to match you. If you find you are a little disappointed with the number of matches on offer compared with other sites, do consider that this personalised system is optimised to separate the wheat from the chaff for you. Our tester opted to go for a longer paying membership plan in order to maximize the number of matches they would get over time, because they only had a few to start with. Since eHarmony is still fairly new in the UK, but is taking off rapidly, it is likely that membership/your matches will steadily rise even after a few months.
The slightly low number of matches in our test case, compared with a similar scientific matching service offered by Parship, for example, is our main reason for giving the service only a 3-heart rating. Hopefully we can increase this in the future as the service expands. We also felt their 3 and 6 month membership options were pricey compared with Parship.
Prices: For a full-blown scientifically-based matching service, prices are about standard for the one month option, but excessive for the longer ones. Compared with wider-appeal dating sites, where you do all the leg-work, it's a little pricey.
A 1-month membership plan costs £34.95, 3 months costs £74.85 (£24.95 a month), 6 months is available for a much better price of £89.70 (£14.95/month) and 12 months for £143.40 (£11.95/month)
The 1, 3 and 6 month option are paid as an upfront fee all in one go. The 12 month option can be paid in three installments (one a month for the first three months).
Renewal rates are lower than initial membership rates.