"The whole point of online dating sites was to make matchmaking so easy anyone could do it themselves. Which makes the pitch for a new premium service from dating giant eHarmony seem odd at first: Pay us $5000 and you’ll get a personal counselor to help not only sift through matches, but quietly approach them on your behalf.
So why did they do it? After surveying 15,000 eHarmony members who earn more than $250,000 a year, it was clear there was huge demand for such a perk, says Grant Langston, eHarmony’s vice president of customer experience. The site has one other reason to fast-track the new counseling service: An unexpected marketing opportunity. Ben Stiller’s holiday movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” features an eHarmony counselor. eHarmony didn’t pay for the plug or provide such a service — until now. “The counselor is going to have a lot of power,” Langston says. “The service is also designed to minimize the rejection and anxiety that comes with online dating.”
eHarmony’s 29 different dimensions — the company’s famous and sometimes parodied algorithms created by founder Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist — cover personality and character rather than chemistry or physical attractiveness, Langston says. That’s where the counselor comes in. As with the fictional eHarmony counselor in Stiller’s movie, the real ones will talk to members by phone or Skype — or in person for those who live near eHarmony’s offices in Santa Monica, Calif.""China has something similar. See The Price of Marriage in China. Excerpt:
"FROM her stakeout near the entrance of an H & M store in Joy City, a Beijing shopping mall, Yang Jing seemed lost in thought, twirling a strand of her auburn-tinted hair, tapping her nails on an aquamarine iPhone 4S. But her eyes kept moving. They tracked the clusters of young women zigzagging from Zara to Calvin Klein Jeans. They lingered on a face, a gesture, and then moved on, darting across the atrium, searching.
“This is a good place to hunt,” she told me. “I always have good luck here.”
For Ms. Yang, Joy City is not so much a consumer mecca as an urban Serengeti that she prowls for potential wives for some of China’s richest bachelors. Ms. Yang, 28, is one of China’s premier love hunters, a new breed of matchmaker that has proliferated in the country’s economic boom. The company she works for, Diamond Love and Marriage, caters to China’s nouveaux riches: men, and occasionally women, willing to pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to outsource the search for their ideal spouse.
In Joy City, Ms. Yang gave instructions to her eight-scout team, one of six squads the company was deploying in three cities for one Shanghai millionaire. This client had provided a list of requirements for his future wife, including her age (22 to 26), skin color (“white as porcelain”) and sexual history (yes, a virgin).
“These millionaires are very picky, you know?” Ms. Yang said. “Nobody can ever be perfect enough.” Still, the potential reward for Ms. Yang is huge: The love hunter who finds the client’s eventual choice will receive a bonus of more than $30,000, around five times the average annual salary in this line of work."