Seeing Red At Sinai

It seems that everyone's favorite shidduch website Saw You At Sinai has been going through some changes as of late. On 1/16/2006 the SYAS support staff sent out the following in an e-mail:

    As of February 1st, all new Gold members can select two matchmakers, instead of the current three. This will allow matchmakers to have more time for each of their members allowing for improved relations and even better quality matches.
    We wanted to inform all our GOLD members in advance of this change. Should you decide at any point to cancel your GOLD membership, you would then only have TWO matchmakers upon upgrading to GOLD again. This change will take effect on February 1st.

There have also been some changes on the matchmaker's side as well. According to my sources, matchmakers can no longer decline a single who requests them if they have fewer than 20 "clients" - regardless if the single is appropriate for that matchmaker's network. There have also been issues with matchmaker's offering suggestions on profile changes such that some are told to lay off critiquing profiles.

I'm going to guess that whatever official changes have been made were done in response to common complaints. The need for quality matches is obviously essential. Members lack the autonomy to conduct their own searches and are instead dependant on the judgement of others who may not know them or don't take the time to read a profile carefully. Such suggestions can be very discouraging, especially to paying customers.

I've also heard some horror stories involving rude, pushy, or obnoxious matchmakers. Some matchmakers give very constructive advice about a profile. For example, blurry pictures ought to be replaced and profiles should be written using complete sentences. However, some matchmakers have been outright insulting, in one case telling someone that she's single because she wears glasses.

Sometimes matchmakers take rejection worse than the singles and have berated friends of mine for daring to use their own discretion. For privacy reasons I won't get into details here, but yes there have been stories even worse than my own experience.

The point is that there is definitely room for improvement. However, I am not entirely sure how the new policies will really help the singles find decent matches. Finding an appropriate match is a very nuanced endeavor, and I would think that from a significant quantity, the singles could choose their own quality. Also, there are quite a few profiles out there which could be improved and may help that person find for what s/he is looking by refining the content to attract the desired person.

From people with whom I have spoken, I've found that there is a great deal of frustration and cynicism about the site. One even made the argument that the site is more interested in keeping customers than getting them married. While this is an interesting charge against the overall business model of such a site, I'm not sure I'd go that far as to say the recent changes are intended to be subversive.

For the record, I haven't e-mailed the site or Marc Goldman about any of these changes but I am curious if there are any single's or especially matchmakers out there who can share their experiences with the site and its new policies.

Posted in Jewish Dating.

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