…but depending on your perspective/goals, do not initiate/respond to new communication with matches during the free event…
[One can read the emphasized sentences for the executive summary...]
I believe that if you turning matching off, you will end up devaluing your subscription by losing out on matches in the long run because eHarmony is based on a fixed period of time (we pay to use the service for a time period and not by each match, like Rewarding Love or other services).
If you leave matching off:
During the free event, you are not receiving any new matches. No rapid back and forth responses to communicate to non-paying members. Your life is nice and easy as you only are dealing with paying members from before the weekend sending you communications (or ones that have lapsed in the interim and still want to try and communicate).
After the 4-10 days of relative peace and quiet, guess what the matching system is going to do? It will start right back right where it left off before the weekend. During the free weekend, eHarmony probably had lots of new members sign up. You would have been getting the maximum number of matches (7-10 per day, maybe more) during that time period to match you up with those members (I postulate that they have probably tuned the matching system to run more often and give you more matches during a free event than it may during “normal” operation). After the free event, the matching system is going to have to deal with matching you up with all of those new free weekend matches and work its way through them until your pool “dries out” again (maybe those of you in large metro areas won’t have this issue of your pool “drying out” but you still have to get through the new influx of matches from the free event to get back to “normal”). You will then end up with a bunch of non-responsive matches to contend with until you catch up and begin to get matched to the members (hopefully paying ones) that have join after the free event. In the end, you have effectively “lost” the next 4-10 days after the free event making up for it…
If you leave matching on:
You will get matched with all of these “freeloaders”. They will of course, try to communicate with you. If you don’t want to talk to them, just ignore all new requests to communicate during the free weekend. You might even mention this is in your “additional” essay question in protest of eHarmony’s antiquated practices of not showing photos during the free events in some/most markets (of course, you could run the risk of them not liking this and suspending your account, akin to trying to slip contact information in there). Perhaps, with a mention of only being interested in communicating with paying members in the only thing the free-loaders can see, they will save you some time and close you out.
When the free event is over, you will go ahead and respond to the first questions for all the new matches. Most of them won’t reply back since they will not subscribe. Give them a week/few days/whatever time interval. You close them out and you have only wasted the same amount of time on them that you would normally have. It is as if the free event never happened for you (aside from the storm of e-mails of new matches and communication requests). However, the net result is that you are not “catching up” on matches the day after the free event to get back to the status quo of being matched to the average one in whatever number that actually communicate with you.
Questions/comments/disagreement with my theory? :)