A matching problem

This year’s Google April Fool’s joke is Google Romance, a service that will help you find your romantic match. It’s sort of cute, although I think some of their past jokes have been better.

The site does bring up something I have been meaning to blog about so I’ll take this opportunity. It concerns the paradox of matching services such as dating Web sites or job search sites. I haven’t thought about this issue too much, but enough to blog about it. (What’s the threshold for blogability, by the way?:)

Services such as dating and job search sites promise the user to find a perfect match, whether in the realm of romance or the labor market. But deep down, is it really in the interest of these sites to work well? After all, if they do a good job then the seekers are no longer relevant customers and the sites lose their subscribers.

One way to deal with this is to offer additional services that go beyond the matching process. For example, the match-making site eHarmony now has a service for married couples. It is an interesting idea. It seems like a reasonable way to expand their user (subscription!) base so they are not dependent on keeping matchless those whom they promise to connect. Moreover, I can see that they may have quite a loyal user base in those whom they helped find their matches. Job sites can also offer services that go beyond the initial match. Nonetheless, I think there is an interesting tension in all this.

On a not completely unrelated note: Happy Birthday to GMail! Fortunately, that was not an April Fool’s two years ago. I came across the Google Romance notice on Google’s homepage, because I saw the GMail birthday icon and wanted to see if they had it in bigger on the Google homepage (a page I never visit otherwise, because why would I in the age of search toolbars). The birthday image is not reproduced there, but I did see the Romance link. (Yes, I’m obsessed with knowing how people end up on various sites and I’m projecting here by assuming that anyone else cares.)

One Response to “A matching problem”

  1. Biliana Says:

    Hehe… that’s funny. That is exactly how I came across the Google Romance notice too. 🙂