Jain Temple

Hot Spots

India Links
Call Home


Art & Culture
Book Shelf



About Us

Contact Us
About Us

Article by Mohan Babu


Title:  The business of online matchmaking

Online matchmaking might be a moneymaking business, but is faced with the greatest problem—managing customer expectations. MOHAN BABU says that this becomes harder because the ‘product’ that portals are dealing with is the hopes and expectations of people who are advertising

In the previous part of this column, we looked at the growth leading towards individuals considering online matrimony as a viable alternative in their search for the ‘perfect partner’. In this column we will follow that thread to examine the business model and competitive landscape.

The business model

The business model of online matrimonial sites is very straightforward: Create a large database where individuals post their details, including ideas on preferred partners. Individuals may also be able to search online through the database to find and screen suitable matches and then contact them. While searching is generally open to public and is free, portals generally require a subscription or membership if one wishes to contact a person listed in the database. The subscription fee ranges from $10 for a “basic” membership to hundreds of dollars depending on the services being provided. Most Indian portals surveyed charged anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. The subscription fee model is a huge revenue-spinner for portals if one were to consider the fact that most portals claim to have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Competitive landscape

If the online matrimonial business model were as straightforward as I have made it sound, thousands of entrepreneurs would be jumping in to rake in the big bucks, right? Well, the challenge most portals face is from the human angle—managing customer expectations. Though most of these websites have automated registration and payment processes, they try to build manual checks and balances. Says Muruga of Bharat Matrimony: “Ours is a technology driven company but we manually authorise the profiles to make sure the profiles are genuine.” Sure, you want to make sure that the Sridevi or Amir’s profile you are looking at does not have the actor’s picture next to it; that is, Amir is an architect based in Boston, not Amir Khan from Bollywood.

Managing customer expectations becomes harder because the “product” or “commodity” that portals are dealing with is the hopes and expectations of individuals. Also, individuals have a wider choice when it comes to online and offline advertising, and posting one’s details on the Internet is just one of the several medium available. The big players in this market—including and—have cornered a niche for themselves in the cyber world, ranking high in search engines. BharatMatrimony.Com also has an alliance with MSN.Com so all Indian Hotmail users see ads and text links of this website whenever they login to their Hotmail account. They also have huge advertising budgets, given that ads for matrimonial portals regularly appear in TV, radio and print. Alongside, the traditional avenues for matrimonial advertisements—newspaper classifieds, continue to eat into the overall market share. Interestingly, most newspapers also post their print adverts free in their online editions, further competing with pure-play online portals. Large portals also have sub-portals catering to different ethnic sub segments of the society; for instance, the BharatMatrimony is actually an umbrella of 14 matrimonial websites based on the major Indian languages.

Lower barriers to entry have lead to intense competition in this space, especially because of the number of players who have jumped the bandwagon.

There are still niches waiting to be explored. For instance there is a marked vacuum when it comes to sites catering to remarriages. With the changing demographics Indians, divorce and remarriage is on the rise. There is a void for portals and cyber-entrepreneurs to target this niche by providing a comfortable, safe atmosphere where those looking for a “second chance” can do so. Concedes Vandana Asija, public relations manager of “Shaadi.

com has several members who are divorced or looking to remarry. We do not explicitly target members who are divorced but do provide fields in our search engine to make it easier for members to find divorced singles if they are looking for them.” Interestingly, the management of has al-so already identified this as a niche and has built two niche portals:   and

The emerging tech-savvy generation is definitely considering online portals as a viable option to scan for suitable alliances. And whether they are made in heaven or not, marriages are definitely getting made online!





About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
  • Sponsored Advert

    Advert: Visitor's Travel Insurance

    Click for free online Quotes


    For FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America, visit the Ask-A-Desi section

    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


    GaramChai® 1999-2005