eHarmony spam has risen recently
“Besides being ridiculously overpriced and extremely awkward for the impatient people like me … here’s another reason not to use eHarmony – their email marketing and email affiliate program is out of control.” –FixingYourThinking, dated 14 July 2009
Online dating is a lucrative segment in online advertising and because of the relentless commercials, eHarmony is a well-known brand. This means websites will promise you dramatic ‘exclusive’ discounts in eHarmony just to entice you to click on a specially-designed link or banner.
That also means that spammers are increasingly hitting inboxes with offers to try eHarmony.
In many ways, eHarmony deserves these spam complaints because the member registration process doesn’t confirm the registrant’s email address. If someone uses your email address to complete eHarmony’s questionnaire, eHarmony will send YOU offers, matches, newsletters, and dozens of emails. This problem has been around for eight years and eHarmony hasn’t gotten around to fixing it.
Is the email really from eHarmony?
“The problem is that they don’t confirm that a person who signs up on their site is actually the owner of the email address involved.” –Craig Newmark, dated 22 December 2005
Emails from the real eHarmony have the following characteristics:
- The first email ever has the subject line “Congratulations for taking the first step!”
- The sender is one of the following: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- They don’t show up as spam — thanks to the StrongMail technology eHarmony uses.
- They have three ways to be turned off (as stated directly in those emails):
- “Unsubscribe from newsletters and offers” — this stops the newsletter, the “exclusive 3-for-1 discount” and the RelyID, etc., offers
- “Turn off Matching” — this stops the “new match” emails
- “Close your account” — this stops all messages, including the communication requests, photo nudges and “Match Communication Received” emails.
These three of course imply that you sign in to the account (i.e., retrieve your password, if necessary) and navigate the site to find the “close my account” link.
If you can’t find the “Congratulations for taking the first step!” email in your inbox, then it’s definitely spam — it didn’t come from eHarmony.com.
(Optional) If you like, look up your password
The sure-fire way to see if you have records in eHarmony is to look up your password http://www.eharmony.com/singles/servlet/support/lostpassword. If you receive your password through the password lookup process, then yeah, eHarmony is sending you messages.
If the password lookup can’t find your email, it’s definitely spam.
A. It is from eHarmony
eHarmony loves to say that it has over 20 million members — now you’re one of them!
As I said earlier, the way to stop the emails from eHarmony is to navigate the site and close your account. I regret to tell you that eHarmony purposely doesn’t make this easy…, but we have the step-by-step instructions here.
The second way, if you like bureaucracy, is to ask eHarmony staff to do it. Right now the easiest way is a call to the company or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I cannot guarantee immediate results, though.
Note: If the message has a subject “eHarmony Match Requests Communication”, that means a person who is paying eHarmony good money has reviewed the profile that is associated with your email address on the site and has decided to start communication. Now isn’t this silly? Why would someone pay for eHarmony when the site doesn’t even confirm that the email address a person used to register a profile belongs to the person?! But I digress.
B. It isn’t from eHarmony
eHarmony can do something with your spam email, but you mustn’t bother.
eHarmony is happy to investigate this and shut down the spammer’s affiliate account. After all, with the income stream shut, the spammer will stop. So, perhaps, you ought to forward eHarmony a copy of the email, right?
No. This is a bad idea because spammers lace these emails with tracking URLs. If you or eHarmony clicks these URLs to investigate who is the affiliate behind them, the tracking URLs record that your email is a valid account (an eyeball) and will tell the spammer to send you more spam.
C. Can’t be bothered? BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK them
If you’ve read this far, you see that the situation is a big mess. If it’s from eHarmony, their newsletters and offers don’t stop for a long, long time. If it’s not from eHarmony, the emails don’t stop either! Please, as a last resort, just click the “Block” button on your email program. What a mess!