Vehemently heterosexual dating site eHarmony never intended to let gay couples use its profile matching algorithms to find love, but New Jersey’s attorney general made the decision for them: Either launch a gay-friendly site or face an anti-discrimination suit. And so the site, founded in 2000 by shrink Neil Clark Warren (yes, the guy in all the eHarmony ads) and proud sponsor of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s very gay unions, today launches its same-sex off-shoot: Compatible Partners.
If the new site’s name sounds sterile, well, you’re right. Slugged “Serious relationships for the gay and lesbian community,” Compatible Partners will never be confused with a Manhunt or adam4adam. And while the site’s name makes no mention of gays, the drop-down list where you select your own gender and the gender you’re hoping to meet sends the message home: Compatible Partners only allows men to look for other men, and women for women.
Since the criticism for being straight-only began, eHarmony rationalized its decision to exclude gays by insisting the technology behind the site — where applicants are asked dozens of questions and then matched based on a personality profile, which means some folks are told they are unmatchable — wasn’t geared for same-sex pairing.
Interesting eHarmony found a way to update its algorithms just in time for the agreed upon launch date of its gay dating site: today. And will they be promoting it? Says the LAT: “As part of the settlement [with New Jersey], Pasadena-based EHarmony must make a ‘good-faith commitment’ to promoting Compatible Partners. But the company seems as nervous as the groom at a rehearsal dinner, insisting that the only on-the-record interview be with Chief Executive Greg Waldorf. That interview was canceled when the company learned Warren had spoken with The Times.” So far, “good-faith commitment” does not include linking to Compatible Partners from eHarmony’s homepage.
(Note: It’s CompatiblePartners.net, not .com.)
On a whim I decided to go through their little questionnaire. Interesting results on the personality profile, but it turns out I am among the 20% of people who are unmatchable. That’s so tragic.
@Pragmatist: I agree completely.
@Alec: Since the site is new, I’m more inclined to assume the lack of matches is due to the lack of members. Still, I find it perversely pleasing to be considered “unmatchable.” I guess it proves just how unique I am. Or something.
Of course, maybe I should have tried it without distance restrictions. I kept it within 60 miles of my home because, honestly, if someone lives any farther away than that I’m probably not going to be meeting them anytime soon.
“Finally given that the dating adds on many many gays sites allow postings which scream No, Blacks, Asians, Fats, Femmes ect, that might be a place to start.”
Actually, I am always a little grateful to see those sorts of comments in folks’ profiles. It lets me know quickly and easily who isn’t worth a time investment. Maybe I should put a “no shallow people” line in my own profiles to keep them from messaging me.
As far as the site not being a win for the good guys…duh. They only did it because they had no other option. Everyone knows that.
“We all like what we like, I get that but there are many more graceful, tactful and less hurtful of market ones likes and dislikes.”
Well, I won’t disagree with you there. I just like to know what sort of person I’m checking out before I go to the trouble of attempting an interaction with them. If they are that tactless about their shallowness, their comments tell me everything I need to know about them ahead of time. Saves a lot of disappointment down the road.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking what you like, mind you. We all have our own personal tastes. I just think that some people put limitations on themselves (especially in the dating realm) that aren’t entirely necessary. Do those “no fats, no femmes, no blacks, etc.” comments bother me at a deeper level? Sure. Do they adversely affect me? Not really, unless you count making the dating experience less fun. If someone isn’t interested in me for whatever reason, even if it’s a shallow one, I prefer not to get tangled up with them in the first place. Bluntness is a useful tool in internet dating. That’s all I’m saying. I do appreciate your stance though, for what it’s worth.
“There are two couples shown on the front page of the gayHarmony site. Neither couple’s faces are shown (or much else for that matter).”
I had noticed that as well. Interesting observation, I think.
@jon jon: I really don’t think the site will do very well. These folks worked long and hard to earn their phobic rep, and I don’t think enough of us will get over that to actually drop our money into their “service.” There are plenty of better sites out there where we can spend our money, those of us who are so inclined. Don’t fret about it.
@DK: With you 100%.