"Come as you are"


David Cassel of the invaluable 10 Zen Monkeys points to a strong market reaction to web dating service eHarmony's straights-only policy: has been attacking eHarmony's policy directly, in a new multi-million dollar ad campaign which shows people describing their experiences of rejection from eHarmony. It reports that over 1 million people have been rejected by, then touts their own slogan—"Come as you are."

eHarmony is currently facing a legal challenge to its policy, but Cassel writes, "Should eHarmony be forced to offer online match-making to gays and lesbians if they don't want to? It looks like the market is already sorting that out—with some fierce and funny attacks on eHarmony's position!" 

More here.

The commercials are at YouTube:

This follows the formation of, which specifically catered to groups left out of eHarmony's lovefest. Katherine Mangu-Ward discussed the implications here.

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  1. That is a great commercial.

  2. Yeah, I actually gave a try just on the basis of that commercial. I’ll let you know if it leads to any civil-union bells in the future.

  3. Coming up with a market based response is hard. You actually have to start a business and make it work.

    Suing people is much easier; all you have to do is hire a lawyer

  4. Suing people is much easier;

    Well, of course, it is, and it’s much easier money, too. Besides, it’s fun to force a certain point of view down people’s throats (so to speak.) It’s fascism only when the Fundies do it.

  5. Of course, if the market had sorted all this out, there would have never been a legal challenge in the first place.

  6. Dan’s brand of impenetrable stupidity just has to be a “Juanita”-style parody, right?

    Although I actually thought “Juanita” could be read as making a point, somewhere in there. The only sub rosa agenda I can see for “Dan” is to mock the statists by being the very model of a modern major statist.

  7. But, if the market is the solver of social issues, why did it take a legal challenge before anybody paid attention to eHarmony’s discrimiatory practices?

  8. Dan T. says: “But, if the market is the solver of social issues, why did it take a legal challenge before anybody paid attention to eHarmony’s discrimiatory practices?”

    Because eHarmony choosing to cater to a certain market segment isn’t discrimination. The market solved this by having other services cater to the market segment eHarmony chose not to. Is it discrimination if a progressive kosher vegan market chooses not to sell GMO ham prepared by Wal-Mart with the label “10% of our profits are donated to the Republican National Committee”, because that would drive away any progressive who prefers kosher vegan food?

  9. jh, any time you decide on one option over another you’re discriminating. But there are certain types of discrimination that our society has decided are unacceptable.

    The entire civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s was a result of the market’s inability to solve certain social problems.

  10. The entire civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s was a result of the market’s inability to solve certain social problems.

    Dan T.,

    No. I don’t want to minimize the complexity of what Dr King and others fought and died for, like you just did, but Jim Crow, sundown towns, and other legally enforced segregation and discrimination were not due to market pressures.

    Anyway, laws can’t end prejudice. You and I can.

  11. Dan T.,

    I will note that the discrimination you are referring to was in major part driven by government regulation (a violation of one the major principles of a liberal society). There is a reason why “Jim Crow Laws” are called, well, “Jim Crow Laws.” So the market in the sense that it is generally used here had little directly to do with that.

  12. Dan T.

    You know why we had Jim Crow Laws? Because racists hated the fact that some white people would do business with black people and wanted to stop them.

    There were always white people who felt that a dollar spent by a black man was just as good as a dollar spent by a white man, and that burned the racists up, especially when a white man hiring black caprenters could undercut his racist competitor.

    Jim Crow was designed to stop the integration that naturally occurs as a result of free trade. Please don’t confuse the evil inherent to democracy with the beneficence inherent to free markets.

  13. tarran,

    I will note that such discrimination would have happpened with or without the legal regime put in place in the post-“Redemption” South. Such discrimination is common cross-culturally for the post-emancipated.

  14. tarran,

    Now whether the government should be involved in remedying that is another matter entirely. It probably depends on the circumstances. Given the level of private violence and terrorism committed against blacks in the post-Civil War South I’d say that government intervention was appropriate. Particularly since slavery had robbed so many former slaves of years and years of their labor and the American government at all levels had been involved in propping up that system.

  15. Oh yes, racial discrimination continues to this day throughout the U.S. and will probably be around in my children’s lifetmies.

    However, not all people are racists, and the Jim Crow laws were an attempt by racists to prevent the non-racists from interacting with members of other races, particularly from doing business with them.

  16. tarran,

    However, not all people are racists…

    Well, more to the point, even if everyone is a racist, not all racists will refuse to sell to those they dislike.

  17. a question:

    did jim crow laws basically slam down on top of an existing integrated market (or at least large swathes of businesses willing to cross racial lines) or was it more of a fear of that? (i.e. first comes buying hot dogs, then oh no black/white babies etc etc)

  18. dhex – the market was not integrated, but it was starting to. It’s important to understand that in the South blacks and whites interact and intermingle far more than in the North.

    In fact, I have come across several instances of white racists from the north in the 1950’s complaining about how much they had to interact with black people in the south.

    People have a vision of the north as a tolerant place while the south was a land of horrific racism. The reality is far more complex, as demonstrated by the Irish and Italian riots that in Boston in the 80’s when the city housing authority announced that it was ending its de-facto policy of segregation.

  19. dhex,

    I would say that it is a mixture of both. Anyway, it wasn’t that white businesses couldn’t do business with blacks (or vice versa), it was that businesses had to do so in particular ways (via government mandate and social pressure).

  20. Can someone who had the time to RTFA explain to me exactly how these people were “rejected”? Was it just that the service found no appropriate matches, or did they get a letter stating that their business was unwanted?

    Last time this topic came up I went and did the whole quiz. I asked for a taller guy, educated, ok with smoking and drinking and not religious. Of ANY race, in ANY country.

    I got 7 possible matches. (Out of 12 million people?!)

    Have I been rejected by The Great EHarmony Match Machine? I can’t tell, damnit!

  21. Linguist,
    You did far better than I. I took their tests, etc., and asked for someone not religious. I’m straight, but they couldn’t couldn’t find a single match for me in a fifty mile radius. Hell, I thought it was because I am such a special and unique person – alas, probably not.

  22. addendum: 😉

  23. Smartass –

    had you been successful, you may have had the need for the URKOBOLD’s break up service, DisHarmony

    There is a sample question from the proprietary URKOBOLDIAN questionnaire there, as well.

  24. But there are certain types of discrimination that our society has decided are unacceptable.

    And discrimination against gays isn’t one of them, at least if you’re talking about US society as a whole. Considering that it’s still illegal for them to serve openly in the military, I would think that being rejected by e-harmony ranks pretty low on the scales of injustice.

  25. Dear Urkobold

    I’m interested in using your service. Does DisHarmony offer customized revenge packages to get back at your ex? I was thinking something along the line of smearing poop all over the walls of her apartment.

  26. hey that’s a pretty good commercial there, badly named

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