Does Eharmony outsource matchmaking?

*******  Ian responds in the comments and says that the caption on the video is wrong and they don’t  work on eharmony’s matching algo and he updated his blog to reflect that fact.

Watch this video,  at about 5 minutes in they talk about how eharmony is using his company to generate matches…

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8hj2t_ian-clarke-sensearray_news

And the about me on his blog…

http://blog.locut.us/about-me/

“Ian’s current focus is the development of SenseArray (through his company Uprizer Labs). SenseArray is a powerful new type of collaborative filter which can make use of arbitrary metadata in making recommendations. SenseArray is already being used in a wide variety of industries, ranging from online dating (we can’t name the company but you’ve heard of it), to targeted advertising companies with revenues totaling in the hundreds of millions.”

I wonder which of the 29 dimensions of compatibility this falls under?

51 Responses to “Does Eharmony outsource matchmaking?”

  1. Fernando Ardenghi Says:

    I do not think/believe eHarmony outsources matchmaking.

    VisualDNA also claims eHarmony is one of its clients.
    http://www.visualdna.com/

    I do not believe that because:

    eHarmony is a 10 years old obsolete compatibility matching method based solely on personality similarity and not a collaborative filter per se.

    eHarmony is primary a Compatibility Matching Algorithm based on personality similarity with the Big5 normative personality test and Dyadic Adjustment Scale (invented by Dr. Graham B. Spanier in 1976) as its core, something anybody can calculate with a 1984 model Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum home computer.
    eHarmony could be using a collaborative filter in order to improve its Guided Communication Process. The Guided Communication Process (a mutual filtering step) is an appendix of its main matching algorithm. The Guided Communication Process is designed to narrow even more the field of persons you give a better chance of getting along with, and also it is useful for feedback purposes, in order to try to “improve” the matching algorithm.

    eHarmony is a HOAX, it is not “scientifically proven” because eHarmony Labs could not prove couples married by eHarmony have a more stable and satisfying marriage, and very low divorce rates than other couples married by other methods as the control group.

    eHarmony’s (as eDarling’s) matching method sends you matches as if it were a machine gun shooting flowers.

    eHarmony does not need to outsource nothing.

    Have you seen that Dr. Vaclav Petricek is part of the team at eHarmony Labs?

    http://www.eharmony.com/labs/category/research/

    “As a senior matching researcher Dr. Petricek is responsible for developing matching algorithms and predictive models at eHarmony. He brings expertise in collaborative filtering, neural networks, predictive analytics and other machine learning areas as well as expertise in distributed systems. From vast amounts of historical data he creates statistical models predicting which users are most likely to be interested in each other when introduced.”

    Petricek and Brozovsky had written the paper

    “Recommender System for Online Dating Service”
    http://www.occamslab.com/petricek/papers/dating/brozovsky07recommender.pdf

    “User-User and Item-Item collaborative filtering recommenders significantly outperform global algorithms that are currently used by dating sites [offering only Browsing / Searching Options, Powerful Searching Engine but not Compatibility Matching Algorithms].”
    “A blind experiment with real users [at a proprietary site named ColFi - exclusively designed for the experiment - where 111 users rated 150 photo-profiles, then two recommendation lists of top 10 profiles were generated] also confirmed that users prefer collaborative filtering based recommendations to global popularity recommendations [of 2 Czech online dating sites: ChceteMe (no longer exists now) and LibimSeTi].”
    “Recommendations can be further improved by hybrid algorithms. These algorithms are combining the collaborative filtering approach with content information. Another problem specific to dating is that A_likes_B does not imply B_likes_A. Therefore each user should be probably presented with recommendations of such users, who are also interested in him/her. There is a need for reciprocal matching algorithms.”
    “User interface may introduce bias in the sense that users instead of providing their personal preference try to guess the global preference. This reduces the usefulness of ratings provided.”

    eHarmony could be more interested now in delivering the correct ads to its members.
    The Worldwide 2009 annual revenue for eHarmony was estimated in USD 250 millions
    [and checking traffic from its 4 different sites, I estimate 20% from Canada, 50% from U.S.A., 25% from U.K. and 5% from Australia]

    If you consider 10% of that revenue by ads, it is only USD 225 millions by subscriptions
    At a USD 40 (Monthly Average Revenue per Subscriber: MARS)

    USD 225 millions / USD 480 (Annual Average Revenue per Subscriber) == 468,750 paid Subscribers

    Perhaps eHarmony has only
    93,750 paid members from Canada
    234,376 paid members from U.S.A.
    117,187 paid members from U.K.
    23,437 paid members from Australia

    The 2010 annual revenue for PlentyOfFish is expected to be USD30 millions, more or less the same amount eHarmony will earn by ……… ads.

    http://www.eharmony.com/advertising/singles

    Regards,

    Fernando Ardenghi.
    Buenos Aires.
    Argentina.
    ardenghifer@gmail.com

  2. Pemo Theodore Says:

    You can’t predict human matching through ‘past data’ – thank goodness humans are a little bit more complex, individual & human! This guy grew up in County Meath, Ireland where I have lived. Even the locals think there’s something wrong with the place check out Tommy Tiernan’s video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImUOf2_QZ_o (he comes from there & can’t stand it). Is this the best men can do when it comes to compatibility matching???? WTF

  3. Sex dating, beautiful girls, dating online – Online Dating Industry News For April 9, 2010 Says:

    [...] at Plenty Of Fish asks the question Does Eharmony outsource matchmaking? and points us to Ian Clarke’s blog. Ian, for those of you who don’t know, is the [...]

  4. Ian Clarke Says:

    Hi, I’m Ian Clarke and I need to clear something up.

    I did not claim in the video that eHarmony is or has in the past used SenseArray as part of their matching process, nor is this accurate.

    I did say we had some some work with them and this is accurate.

    The subtitle “Ian Clarke builds the software engine that helps match up people on eharmony.com” is not what I said in the video, and it is not accurate.

    I’m sorry that people got the wrong idea based on what I said in the video. In reality, we are primarily focussed on the targeted advertising and lead prioritization markets now, and no-longer have a focus on online dating.

  5. Ian Clarke Says:

    Just to follow-up, I’ve amended the description on my blog to reflect the fact that online dating is no-longer a focus for us.

    In general though, I think those who are claiming that past data can’t be useful in predicting who might like who are wrong. In principal, much as collaborative filters have been demonstrated very effective at predicting what movies people like (eg. with Netflix), I see no reason why the same approach cannot be useful in online dating. There are patterns in people’s dating preferences, and machine learning algorithms should be able to find these patterns and utilize them.

  6. Fernando Says:

    “I think those who are claiming that past data can’t be useful in predicting who might like who are wrong. In principal, much as collaborative filters have been demonstrated very effective at predicting what movies people like (eg. with Netflix), I see no reason why the same approach cannot be useful in online dating.”
    for fun/entertainment/flirting purposes, for instant gratification, but not for serious dating.

    Because:

    - there is a range convergence phenomenon

    - collaborative filters do not take into account a new discovery uncovered by Eastwick and Finkel 2008; also Kurzban and Weeden, 2007; Todd, Penke, Fasolo, and Lenton, 2007 who found that people often report partner preferences that are not compatible with their choices in real life.

    and

    - Latest Research in Theories of Romantic Relationships Development outlines: compatibility is all about a high level on personality similarity between prospective mates for long term mating with commitment.

  7. Pemo Theodore Says:

    Well he certainly grabbed everyone’s attention….

  8. Ian Clarke Says:

    Pemo, I could do without this kind of attention :-)

  9. nz dating sites Says:

    Good attention indeed – no such thing as bad press :)

  10. Dating – Singles and Matrimony Dating Issues by Francis K. Githinji Says:

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  11. Tony Karrer Says:

    eHarmony doesn’t outsource their matching – end of story.

  12. Jonathan Says:

    All I can say is eHarmony considers me unmatchable. I consider that a compliment.

  13. Kim Kovaks Says:

    Sorry I do not have the academic chops of some of the people replying to this, but IMHO it seems to me that if you applied some of the filters above, about the only thing you would likely accomplish would be to guarantee that people who formerly had abusive partners would be guaranteed to be matched up with new abusive partners.

    Hardly an outcome that any dating site would be proud to boast about.

    People are a bit more complex than mathematical formulas, and the consequences of recommending the wrong video to someone is a lot less than recommending a stalker as being your ‘life mate’.

    Someone gullible enough to believe the advertising hype of the ‘compatibility match’ algorithms of various dating sites may just end up in a hospital or worse.

  14. kaboga Says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as making the situation as severe as “ending up in the hospital” but I do completely agree. I’ve used all the dating websites before in the past, and I have yet to find any of the “match algorithms” to be anything close real. I’m sorry Markus…highly respect ya man…but yours too. :)

    In fact often times, I found myself a better match with those on eharmony and all sites that were not supposed to fit me at all. Go figure right?

  15. Jonathan Says:

    Markus,

    Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. When things have settled down in your personal life I’d like to get in touch with you and introduce you to a colleague of mine. when you have a moment let me know and I’ll get into further details.

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  17. Fish Killer Says:

    Hey Marcus what are you doing about the serial killer on your fish site that has been killing women. How is it that its not all over the place yet. Your system sucks and it can not stay free forever. You will be forced to charge a fee to stop these maniacs from killing again. I recommend a paid service. Marcus is only init for the money the ads provide for him. I have met marcus in person years back and he really needs to do something before he finds himself in a bad place.

  18. Maria Says:

    I think thats a disgraceful comment, Markus has provided a great free service their is always an element of people who abuse any free service, users cannot expect to have a free service and then complain after use about how the site engine works.
    Markus is a legend in the dating business, we have a site with a couple 1000s of members and even that volume can be difficult to deal with visa vi spammers etc, as for cumputer generated matches we have a basic function on our site which just matches people on area likes etc, i think thats more then enough. Half the fun of online dating is purusing through profiles of people who may not be your ideal match in algo terms, but its the unknown which excites, not a prepackaged match.
    My two cents.
    Maria

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  22. kevin Says:

    This is somewhat related regarding eharmony and the huge scam they have going on about the free communication weekend…I hope it enlightens a few…

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  25. Leo Says:

    speaking of eHarmony… anyone see this add inside POF? http://image.bayimg.com/candmaach.jpg
    a tad ironic, thats all ;)

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  28. unir26e.com Says:

    It amazes me that eHarmony has the following they have. But, then again I can understand.It sucks to be alone. We are all looking for each other and don’t know what to do when we do meet someone. Single habits have to change and most folks do not change.

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  30. Kady Says:

    I tried eharmony for a few months and would prefer to be able to browse through all profiles instead of the ones they have selected for me. I am in Canada and did not like the fact that if I chose a certain mile radius it would pull half my matches from the US. It doesn’t let you select in a specific radius direction which I would have gone East instead of South West into the United States. Also I found eharmony sends you match potentials of people that are no longer active users. I had over 200 people in my local area and nearing the end of my membership I contacted everyone of them and at least 95% didn’t get back to me at all. My profile sits there and I am sure they are sending it still to people just signing up.

    I would like to say something else about having an online dating profile on POF. I believe if you are having nightmare experiences then it is something that you yourself are doing that is attracting that. People don’t put much effort into writing their dating profile and it shows. Its up to the individual to read between the lines people are saying and figure out what they are really telling you about themselves. But that really isn’t very easy for people to do. I help people figure others out before they get burnt from choosing the wrong person.

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    icting who an average user will end up with. Obviously it won’t work for everyone, but what predictive statistical model does?

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  49. Couple Seeking Woman Says:

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  50. ruhikizi Says:

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