How to search for your life partner online

There’s surely someone special waiting for you out there, in some part of the world. You need to find him/her. But how?

Matrimonial websites have emerged as the answer to this quest. Best thing about such websites is, one can decide about the life partner himself/ herself and search without having to pester brokers or bother parents. It’s completely about the option to select what one wants – social status, income, likes, dislikes, caste, religion, geographical location, special cases, second marriages – you name it, you have it.

Matrimonial websites have been of much help, especially to the working professionals in Bangalore who are aspiring to get married. Says Meena, a media professional, who found her partner through a matrimonial website: “I did not want to leave my career or shift the city. I wanted to be in Bangalore, so was searching for someone keeping it as a criteria. Finally found someone who fitted the bill.”

Nutan Kari, a retired teacher, says matrimonial websites are cheaper in comparison to intermediaries. Her daughter, who got her life partner through a matrimonial website,  is happily married for eight years now and has a beautiful girl child.

Ramaiah, a marriage broker residing in Malleshwaram, says that his business has gone down, with educated people unwilling to approach brokers. “These websites have killed our business,” he exclaims.

Not a rosy path always

This does not mean all is hunky dory with matrimonial websites. With the assorted matrimony websites, it’s knotty to find the good ones. One needs to get feedback from the actual users to get right perspective about certain website. Choosing a life partner entails a lot of difficulties, so never rush into making decisions, which might cost you your life.

Ashwini Kanitkar, an interior designer and an eligible bachelor, found profiles with wrong numbers listed on one such website. There will be inactive members who haven’t visited their profiles for a long time. Some people simply forget to delete or inactivate the profiles after they get engaged or married.

How to get started

Here is how you can start searching for your life partner online.

  1. Choose a matrimonial website, according to your preference. There are matrimonials of various communities and languages, which help you narrow your partner search.
  2. Check the FAQ section and understand how the website works. Check the privacy information, safety and security of the data you provide. Some websites have various privacy options for photos, phone numbers and email addresses.
  3. Register yourself if everything suits you.
  4. Profiles with photos attract more people and receive better responses. So if you are seriously looking to get hooked, upload a photo. After all, looks matter the most, sometimes, for some! Privacy settings are available in some websites.
  5. Be truthful in the information you provide. Wrong information in income, social status, profession, hobbies etc. can lead to the enquiries you are not looking for.
  6. Most important part is contact. Set the privacy settings – who can view your number- according to your preference.
  7. Get a seal of authenticity for your photo if provided by the website, and get your contact number verified, by completing the procedures the website prescribes. Now you are ready to face the world!
  8. Set the partner preference – height, profession, income, caste/community, city etc. You can also choose to get email alerts with matching profiles.
  9. Browse the available profiles and express interest. And wait for the response!

Paid memberships

There are different types of membership options to choose from. Free membership usually lets you see other profiles and ‘express interest.’ It does not let you see the contact number unless you exclusively get it from the other user. If the other user is a paid member, he/she can send you the contact number.

If you need to customise your message and include your contact number, you need to become a paid member. There are even options of highlighting your profile, for a premium. Paid members are even allowed to initiate chat with other members who are online. For an additional fee, you can get Indian style horoscope matching services and match analysis based on the birth stars or sun signs of the prospective bride and groom.

Most of the matrimonial sites want to promote paid membership, as that is a source of revenue for them. “The matrimonial website customer care pesters customers to upgrade their free membership to a paid one,” says Prasanna Deshpande, a Medical Representative. He used to get calls repeatedly from the customer care service offering him various membership packages with attractive discounts.

Some websites also have data on the resources helpful during actual marriage ceremony. You get the ready list of whole marriage industry in your city – decorators to cake shops to florists to bridal makeup artists to audio rentals to everything required for a marriage. There are also insightful write ups that help one prepare emotionally for the marriage, by means of articles on love and relationships and dealing with breakups.

Marriages are made in heaven, but how to find that right match in reality has been the question. File Pic.

Many websites to choose from

Here’s a comprehensive list of websites for those who’re eager to find their special someone:

Jeevansathi.com
This website lets you search for profiles without registering. There’s an option to search with profile ID or advanced search. You can also narrow down you search based on occupation, NRI status, or special cases like handicapped or divorcee. They have attractive privacy features, which filter fake profiles and unverified phone numbers. Live help is also provided.

Membership packages have various discount schemes, free membership, unlimited premium membership and memberships of 3-month, 6-month etc with option to view limited number of contacts. The services range from Rs.3,000 to 9,000.

Shaadi.com
This caters to all sections of Indian society. The website is ISO-Certified site. The conservative Indians can relate to the Astrology search option to narrow down the profiles. You can search for profiles without registration. There are 20 criteria for setting up partner preferences. There’s a mobile app to stay connected while on the move.
Membership packages have free and premium membership options, with free members having an option of Bold Listing which means your profile will be highlighted.

Users complain of fake profiles, profiles of people who don’t want to marry and settle down and those who use it as dating website.

Bharat Matrimony:
This does not let you search for profiles without registering. It helps you find a partner based on caste, community or language, from its group of community matrimonial websites.

Membership packages range from Rs. 3,000-20,000. The best thing about this website is, once you upload your profile and mention your language/ community, it will automatically appear in the community websites of the group, like Kannada Matrimony, Telugu Matrimony, Madhwa Matrimony or others.

Assisted Matrimony: This is a personalised matchmaking service. The relationship manager helps you find suitable profiles and manage the responses. The membership costs Rs.19,000 for 3 months across India, UK, USA, and UAE.

Matrimony Express
This is a blog by Bharat Matrimony for members who want to share their experiences. Members have to subscribe to the blog separately.

However, this website is a bit slow compared to others, and many times server is not available for live chat. Users complain of fake profiles not being deleted even after complaining.

Elite matrimony
Started by Bharat Matrimony, website caters to the upper class, aristocrats and celebrities; and for those looking for their life partner with the high social status and wealth. Membership for this website is acquired by invitation only. The website requests you to fill out details and the site coordinator will get back to you if you’re eligible according to the site standards. They provide personalised services with a high level of privacy.

Once you’re shortlisted to find your partner, you’ll be provided with two membership packages, which includes Rs 50,000 for three months or Rs 1 Lakh for six months.

Parivarthan.com
Being a global low cost matrimonial website for South Indian Brahmins, this includes services to facilitate marriages for special cases like disabled, divorced or widowed, hence the name ‘Parivarthan’ – The Change.

Membership package is of Rs.1,000 for six months. There is no free membership. The level of security for the information provided is low, as the website is technically poor. Once the profile is posted, there is no user-control over his/her profile. The members complain of getting calls from marriage aspirants, even after they are married, as the profiles are not deleted even when requested.

Vivahbandhan.com
This website adds traditional flavor to technology. Young website with not a very large membership base, provides free or paid matrimonial services for brides and grooms to find their life partner. Their free membership includes expressing interest, creating a ‘favorites’ list, astroview horoscope and autoview horoscope. The paid membership includes sending personalised unlimited messages, viewing contact details etc. Membership ranges from Rs. 1,500-5,000.

Vivahbandhan also provides secure privacy features. The verification panel at VivahBandhan consists of three members who concentrate on screening photos and their correspondence details like phone numbers. If the details are legit, the profile goes online.

Qiran.com
This website is a source of matrimonial profiles for Muslim singles. There are features like free registration, free upload of picture, Muslim chat, text messages, e-cards and even SMS to potential Muslim brides or grooms. The live chat and sending e-cards option is available to only premium members.

DivorceeMatrimony.com
This website helps in looking out for brides and grooms only from the divorcee community. Membership is free or paid. Paid membership costs around Rs. 3,000-20,000. Add-on services are also available along with Assisted Matrimony. This has community-wise sections too.

Offline stores to assist the hesitant

Offline stores are chosen for their expedience by anxious parents who look for instant results. The relationship managers look into the requirements according to set procedures. If the customer needs cross a certain threshold, these managers are unable to match them, mostly for the lack of training and instruction. Bangalore has many franchises operating matrimonial stores offline, on behalf of various websites.

The insecure parents seeking personalised guidance has been a trend at local outlets. Rahul Rai, Manager of Bharat Matrimony at Mahalakshmi Layout outlet, says the parents in and around area prefer approaching relationship managers at the offline office.

Parents come to the offices on behalf of their son/daughter to get personal guidance on these websites. They have queries, which can be answered personally, says Venkatesh, online Marketing Manager for VivahBandhan outlet at Koramangala, Bangalore. He spoke to us about parents who’re particular about their requirements for matchmaking.

Bibin Antony, Sales co-ordinator at Shaadi.com pointed out that the non-metro city clients feel convenience at offline stores. Based on the increase in customer base, Shaadi.com that has two outlets in Bangalore, also aims to start another in the coming few months.

According to him there is a 5-6% increase in the customer base per month. Their basic competitors are Jeevansathi and Bharat Matrimony. The other websites are also picking up while these websites are the big players.

Megha Mishra, Assistant Manager at Jeevansathi.com claims Jeevansathi is doing better in North India as compared to Shaadi and Bharat Matrimony who are doing well in South India. Probably this explains the absence of Jeevansathi stores in Bangalore. 

Vijaykumar A N, senior manager for Bangalore, Bharat Matrimony, says that the company has 13 outlets in Bangalore, out of which two are telecalling centres, the rest being the marketing outlets which assist in uploading the profiles online and collect the fee.

Tips for productive usage:

  1. Try out the website features for free before buying the paid package
  2. Look for privacy features and test their effectiveness
  3. Screen the profiles for irrelevant and/or inappropriate content.
  4. Scrutinize profile information by cross-checking with social media sites, websites or other knowledgeable sources. There might be con artistes out there who are looking for easy preys.
  5. Set up a separate email account for matrimonial correspondence; Reveal contact information only after thorough background check
  6. Do not reveal any financial information without knowing the person and testing the trustworthiness.
  7. Be wary of fake profiles – profiles intended to extract personal / financial information by posing as matrimonial aspirants
  8. Be wary of profiles of people who do not want to marry but use the website as a contact point to get in touch with people for dating.
  9. Set up meeting with the prospective partner in a public place
  10. Watch out for any inconsistencies or inappropriate physical behavior
  11. Report any untoward incident to the police as a cautionary measure.
  12. Report it to the website too, with the profile ID of the person so that the website can take appropriate action.
  13. Always keep in mind: When something is too good to be true, usually it is not!

It’s a real tricky business to find your special someone amid the hoard of profiles in which there are fake profiles, con artists or people looking for a fling. You might fall prey to any one of these or marry someone perfect. It’s intuition and caution, which will guide you through your way.

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