NAD Recommends eHarmony Discontinue Claims Challenged by Match.com

New York, NY – Aug. 13,  2014 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that eHarmony, Inc., discontinue certain “#1″ advertising claims for the company’s dating website, eHarmony.com, including “#1 Most Marriages,” “#1 Most Enduring Marriages,” and “#1 Most Satisfying Marriages.”

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD reviewed claims made by eHarmony in broadcast, print and internet advertising, following a challenge by Match.com, LLC, owner of a competing dating website.

Claims at issue included:

. “#1 most marriages.”

. “#1 most satisfied marriages.”

. “#1 most enduring marriages.”

Key to this case was NAD’s analysis of the advertiser’s survey evidence. NAD noted in its decision that while the advertiser’s primary study was reliable, the study’s sound methodology did not “necessarily mean that its results were sufficient to substantiate the claims at issue. Rather, NAD looked to see what reasonable messages are conveyed by the challenged advertising claims and whether there was a “good fit” between those messages and the evidence submitted as substantiation.”

For example, 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.

NAD determined that eHarmony’s survey evidence did not serve as a reasonable basis for that message. NAD noted that the total number of survey respondents who met their spouse on eHarmony compared to Match was extremely close. NAD further noted that the survey results did not take into account the number of individuals who met their spouses on websites that were co-branded versions of Match.com. Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD recommended eHarmony discontinue the challenged claims.

NAD noted in its decision that the co-authors of the advertiser’s primary study included a former director of eHarmony Laboratories and a scientific advisor to eHarmony. eHarmony has said that it will not, in future advertising, describe that study as “independent,” action NAD found necessary and appropriate.

eHarmony, in its advertiser’s statement, said 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.”