Matrimonial websites get specialised
As online matrimonial matches are arranged matches, it is uncommon for prospective grooms or brides to seek someone of another religion or social class…although there are increasing number of profiles which say ‘caste no bar.’ Talking preferences, why, there are sites like lifepartnerindia.com which let you shortlist a partner by the city of your choice in no time! And another called matrimonialsindia.com which lets you make a quick selection based on the occupation you prefer for your future mate. I guess in the absence of any knowledge about the temperament of the person whom one is marrying, it’s natural to ensure a common background at the very least.
What’s interesting is that some niche matrimonial websites have sprung up in the plethora of shaadidotcoms and bharatmatrionials.
A site that intrigues me most is idontwantdowry.com and well, the name says it all. It was launched last year and is doing fairly good business today. The owner claims that it is the educated professionals who form the majority of the clients, not the poor middle class who find it difficult to meet dowry demands.
I can believe this as these are the people who might risk going against tradition and might defy the older generation. The only hitch is that many people prefer to use nick-names on their public profile as they are afraid of upsetting the community! Which just shows how strong the social sanction is for giving/taking of dowry. Infact some men told Satya Naresh (owner of the site) that they were afraid of using their own name as it might affect their marriage prospects! People might think that something is wrong with them if they said they don’t want dowry! Men are so routinely sold in the marriage market in India that they and the society fail to see the ignominy of it!! This site’s 6000 profiles (approximate figures) may seem small compared to the profile listings on other matrimonial sites, but this is because for the first 6 months the site was struggling. It’s now over a year old and business is picking up.
Another interesting site is Desimatch.com, started by the Bharatmatrimony people. It is meant for the South East Asian . They have cleverly avoided mentioning the word ‘marraige’ and have instead positioned themselves as an online dating and friendship site, not a matrimonial site….a site where you can find a date…or a mate.
Matrimonialtoday.com is the only free site I came across and it’s unique feature is that it accepts only profiles which do not have any preferences based on country, caste or community. I am not sure how this site is doing though.
Another one of it’s kind site is secondshaadi.com (no connection with shaadi.com). It is indeed unique as it specialises in getting together those looking for a second marriage. The site is run by two management guys (Vivek Pahwa and Ankur Warikoo) who decided that there was big opportunity here…considering India’s climbing divorce rate. And apparently, about 60 percent of the profiles come from small towns! Guess it’s the guys and girls in small towns who have to suffer a claustrophobic society which frowns on dating and mixing of any kind. And these guys will not have parents looking out for them either…certainly not with the same gusto as they did earlier…and in any case choices become limited.
Another great idea is that of positivesaathi.com for HIV+ve people. It’s a new site and parts of it are still under the construction. Well, I hope they change their introductory page as its rather gloomy and that’s an understatement! Luckily it’s only the introductory page…once you press the ‘enter’ button, you get to a site that is clean and bright. A site like this is sorely needed as the social pressure to marry is so high in India that many +ve people marry anyway, hiding their health status from prospective partners. And on the other hand there are honest +ve people who may never find partners. Trust an Indian to think of such an idea…we are indeed the best matchmakers anyone can ever find. I wonder what we will think of next…!
There are also religion based sites like muslimmatrimonial.com, and they claim that it’s the world’s No. 1 Islamic matrimonial portal.
Mainstream matrimonial sites
Shaadi.com is the oldest matrimonial site going. A recent study by juxtconsult has revealed that Shaadi.com is the most user-friendly website from India. It’s ranking in all “India” categories is the 8th in the world in terms of number of visits. One of it’s unique features is that the site gives you your money back if you do not get a positive ‘contact’ within one month.
Bharatmatrimony.com, another popular matrimonial portal, is the only matrimony site that has grown in 2006-07 (study by juxtconsult). The site also claims to have the maximum number of educated ‘profiles’ and 39% of Bharat Matrimony users are from the metros. The site is mentioned in the for the number of documented marriages online.
There are more…sites like lifepartnerindia.com and matrimonialsindia.com and probably others I don’t know about. Basically these sites offer similar features and some have live help via chat. All have a few free features and some paid options. The bigger sites offer services in different Indian languages from Assamese to Bengali to Malyalam.
How safe are these sites?
Bharatmatrimony.com has some safety tips, some of which I am reproducing here. They are rules which apply to all online relationships:
- There is no guarantee that the profile is authentic so you need to do the checks yourself
- Involve your family
- Don’t reveal too much too soon
- Watch out for people who ask unwanted questions or are vague about their answers.
- Do not meet in private secluded places
- Do not meet alone at all until you know the person really well. If you’re meeting for the first time, try meeting in public places like coffee shop. Keep your friends or family informed before you set out
- Beware of people who ask for money
- Never discuss financial matters with someone you just met and hardly know
- Report abuse if you find a member’s conduct inappropriate
Bharatmatrimony offers the free feature of a “Matrimony Stamp” wherein your name, age, residence, education and occupation is checked. If you get this done you get priority listing in the search results. There is also something called VeriProfile, a paid service which you can avail of. It is offered by ONICRA (a credit rating organization). You can ask for other profiles to be verifed as well.
(Photos are screenshots of the sites by me.)