Dating sites battle over which is best at love

eHarmony.com and Match.com are duking it out over which of the online dating sites is better at the business of love.

Specifically, Match.com takes issue with its rival's marketing claims of leading the way when it comes to producing the "most marriages," "most satisfied marriages" and "most enduring marriages." And now the National Advertising Division (NAD), an independent body that looks into advertising claims as part of the industry's self-regulation, has concluded that Match.com has a point.

The group, which is operated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, found that surveys provided by eHarmony fail to support its contentions.

"NAD was concerned that at least one reasonable -- and in fact likely -- message conveyed by eHarmony's '#1 most marriages' claim was that a higher total number of married couples met on eHarmony's website than met on any other dating website," the group said in a statement. "NAD determined that eHarmony's survey evidence did not serve as a reasonable basis for that message."

The ad regulator found that the number of people who said they met their spouse on either Match.com or eHarmony.com was quite close. eHarmony's claims also don't take into account the relationships by couples who met on other affiliated sites that are part of Match.com.

"NAD concluded that, although the number of marriages that should have been attributed to Match could not be pinpointed, the actual difference between the number of individuals within the sample who met their spouse on eHarmony versus Match.com was even smaller than reported by eHarmony's survey, or possibly favored Match," the group concluded.

The study used to support eHarmony's claims was conducted by two people who used to work for the company. In response, eHarmony said that it won't characterize that study as "independent" in future ads.

eHarmony was not in harmony with the ad division's findings, noting the company "respectfully disagrees with much of NAD's analysis of our specific advertising claims. However, because eHarmony values the NAD process and appreciates the NAD's efforts, we will take NAD's recommendations into consideration in our future advertising."

  • Mitch Lipka On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Mitch Lipka is an award-winning consumer columnist. He was in charge of consumer news for AOL's personal finance site and was a senior editor at Consumer Reports. He was also a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among other publications.

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