Chemistry.com’s eHarmony Ads Get Mixed Reviews

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Slate’s ad rater, Seth Stevenson calls “bullpoo” on eHarmony.

The Christian-influenced, anti-gay marriage-oriented dating site explains they refuse gays for two reasons: one, gays can’t marry and, two, their “partner-matching algorithms” aren’t queer calibrated.

These half-assed explanations sure do incense Stevenson

I call complete bullpoo on both these rationales. Healthy long-haul relationships look the same all over the world, and all over the demographic map. If Warren needs to see more data before he accepts that, he should go out and gather it. There’s no shortage of happy gay couples to study. And the financial incentive is obviously there–so what’s stopping him?

With regard to the marriage issue: Dating sites don’t perform wedding ceremonies. The product on offer here is love. If a couple subsequently wants some sort of state-sanctioned union, or not, that’s the couple’s business.

Virtual nemesis Chemistry.com uses lawsuit-stricken eHarmony’s unharmonious qualifications as the basis of their contentious “rejected by eHarmony” ad campaign, which includes a gay man wondering if his cock sucking classifies him as an unsuitable.

While Stevenson gives Chemistry.com’s queer commercials an “A”, the straight-oriented ads get only a C. He explains:

What about the other ads in Chemistry.com’s current campaign–the ones targeted at straight guys and gals? Apparently, lots of people answer eHarmony’s long list of personality questions only to reach a screen that says, “Unable to match you at this time,” with no further explanation. According to USA Today, eHarmony rejects 16 percent of applicants because they’re “poor marriage prospects.” The pitch to these folks isn’t that eHarmony has ruled them out categorically, as it has with gays. The pitch is that Chemistry.com will welcome their business, even if they didn’t make the grade at eHarmony.

These hetero-targeted ads show pleasant-looking people wondering why eHarmony negged them. They seem to doubt their own self-worth. “I am a good person, right?” anguishes a woman in one ad who’s gotten the eHarmony stiff-arm. “Can’t a girl get some love?” pleads a woman in another spot.

This strategy might woo people who have actually attempted to sign up for eHarmony and been rejected. But those who are entirely new to the online dating scene might be put off. If I were single and choosing which dating site to try, I don’t think an open-floodgates admissions policy would be a key selling point. I’d demand a little screening and selectivity. The ad campaign conveys just the opposite.

That suits the gays just fine – we’ll date anything.