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Matchmaking sites: eHarmony vs. Chemistry.com

Matchmaking websites take a more scientific approach to dating. They require members to complete a detailed online questionnaire, and then they use an algorithm to match singles with compatible profiles. On most matchmaking sites, you can't do any searches for potential dates yourself.

Thanks to an extensive advertising campaign, eHarmony.com (Est. $60 per month) is one of the most well known matchmaking sites. EHarmony uses "29 dimensions," collected through 256 questions, to predict the potential success of a long-term relationship. The questions are grouped into core traits (like emotional temperament, social style and intellect) and vital attributes (like relationship skills, values and family background), and if the questionnaire identifies you as "emotionally unhealthy," you won't be offered membership.

With a lengthy questionnaire and higher subscription fees, this site has a higher potential for long-term relationships and fewer unsavory suitors, reviewers say. Once you are accepted into the eHarmony.com community, you can receive matches for free, but you must sign up for a subscription of a least a month to begin communication with any of your matches. Critics say eHarmony.com's high cost is a downside because members can't perform their own searches. Reviewers also caution that the site doesn't have options for same-sex relationships Match.com or Lavalife.com.

Chemistry.com ($40 per month) , an offshoot of Match.com, is a direct competitor of eHarmony.com, but a little cheaper. It virtually copies the eHarmony.com process with a detailed personality test and no searching allowed -- you wait for the service to send you possible matches. Chemistry.com's emphasis on compatibility is reflected in the way information on profiles is provided.

Users complain that the system tends to ignore other factors like demographics and interests. Although people at Chemistry.com are clearly more serious about relationships than those on a site like Match.com, the dating pool is more limited, especially when compared to competitor eHarmony.com.

PerfectMatch.com ($60 per month) is unusual in that it has an extensive compatibility test and does the matchmaking for you, but it also allows members to search profiles themselves, which greatly accelerates the matchmaking process. As with eHarmony.com (Est. $60 per month) , you can register and take the compatibility test for free. The system matches personality, lifestyle, values and preferences based on relationship expert Pepper Schwartz's 30 years of experience.

However, some reviewers complain that the true/false nature of the tests presents too black-and-white a picture of their personalities. You can perform your own searches by keywords or based on someone's profile. To correspond with people via email, online chat or instant messaging, you need to become a paid member.

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