After recently seeing ads from both eharmony.com and match.com claiming they are #1 in marriages, I decided to look into their claims. First, from match.com:
Research Study Overview & ObjectivesIn 2009 and 2010, Match.com engaged research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey to conduct three studies to provide insights into America’s dating behavior: a survey of recently married people (“Marriage Survey”), a survey of people who have used online dating (“Online Dating Survey”),and a survey of single people and people in new committed relationships (“General Survey”).Key Findings Marriage Survey• 17% of couples married in the last 3 years, or 1 in 6, met each other on an online dating site. (Table 1)• In the last year, more than twice as many marriages occurred between people who met on an online dating site than met in bars, at clubs and other social events combined. (Table 1)• Approximately twice as many recently married couples met on Match.com than the site that ranked second. (Table 2)
The data is from 2009-2010. And from eHarmony.com:
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – June 3, 2013 – New research data released today, “Marital Satisfaction and Breakups Differ Across Online and Offline Meeting Venues” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows eHarmony ranks first in creating more online marriages than any other online site.* The study also ranks eHarmony first in its measures of marital satisfaction.* Data also shows eHarmony has the lowest rates of divorce and separation than couples who met through all other online and offline meeting places.
eHarmony Ranked #1 for Number of Marriages Created by an Online Dating Site
The largest number of marriages surveyed who met via online dating met on eHarmony (25.04%)
eHarmony Ranked #1 for Marital Satisfaction by an Online Dating Site
The happiest couples meeting through any means met on eHarmony (mean = 5.86)…
*John T. Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo, Gian C. Gonzaga, Elizabeth L. Ogburn, and Tyler J. VanderWeele (2013) Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1222447110/-/DCSupplemental)
Just based on these brief descriptions from their own websites, here is which number I would trust more: eHarmony.com. Why?
1. More recent data. Data that is a few years old is eons old in Internet time. People on dating sites today likely want to know the marriage rates today.
2. More reliable place where the study is published as well as the more scientific method. It looks like match.com hired a firm to do a study for them while the eHarmony.com data comes from a respectable academic journal.
When two companies both claim to be number one, it is not necessarily the case that one is lying or that one has to be wrong. However, it does help to compare their data sources, see what their claims are based on, and then make a decision as to which number you are more likely to believe. .