Experiment January 16, 2007 Experiment

I conducted this little experiment on an Indian matrimonial website…

Some background: I’m a macaca. And just like Jewish people have JDate, Indian people have claims 710,000+ success stories. Some of these are arranged marriages (your profile can be created by your parents, siblings, or friends). Of course, you can also put up your own ad to potentially meet a spouse.

It’s not a dating site like Match or Craigslist. When you register, they ask you for your gender. Your choices are “looking for groom” or “looking for bride”… (Sorry, gay people.)

From almost every conversation I’ve had about it with other Indian people, it’s pretty much the last ditch place you go when you need to marry yourself off. If you haven’t met anyone and your marriage is becoming a fading dream for your family, or if your family didn’t know another Indian family with a single son or daughter, you go to

The upside: If your ad is up there, you are likely to get many responses.

The downside: It’s

Anyway. The experiment:

I put up a posting a month ago just to see what would happen.

My profile name was FriendlyAtheist. (I’m blunt.) My picture was on the profile, as were my basic stats. My religion was listed as “No religion.” When it asked for a bio, I wrote about my hobbies/interests, job, etc. I did stick in a short paragraph in the middle saying I was an atheist who worked with “secular organizations.”

Everything was honest.

As for who I was searching for, I didn’t make many specific requests other than I was looking for someone in Illinois. And the woman’s age had to be 18-29. In all, 430 women fulfilled my (very broad) requirements.

The profile was up 19 days.

In that time, the profile was viewed only 32 times.

No one “expressed interest” in me, no one sent me messages, no one called me.


Yesterday, I put up a new profile. With a couple exceptions, everything was the exact same, including the picture.

What were the changes? My profile name was now FriendlyIndian (I know, I know. Very creative). My religion was now listed as Jain (and my sect was listed as Shewetamber), the religion in which I was raised. The statement about my atheism and working with secular organizations was deleted.

It hasn’t been 24 hours yet.

17 people have already viewed the page.

One girl has already “expressed interest.” (Woo!)

I’m not about to extrapolate anything from this (and I took down the profile). Clearly, there are too many variables that could’ve played a role in this. People flock to new profiles quickly, religion is very important in the Indian community, etc.

But you’re telling me that on a website that brown people flock to when trying to marry someone, the atheism was that much of a turn-off?


So there you go, mom and dad. This is why I probably won’t end up with an Indian girl.

[tags]Indian, Indian-American, matrimonial,, macaca, atheist, atheism, Jewish, JDate, arranged marriage, Match, Craigslist, gay, religion, Illinois, Jain, Jainism, Shewetamber, secular[/tags]

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  • seema gupta

    My friend using our advise found the man of her dreams on Shaadi .com. Alas today I feel like it should be This guy turned out to be a wierdo, and to make a long story short, they were seperated and she got a restraining order out against him. Today he rented a car and drove to her hometown , many hundred miles away, bought himself a gun, got himself buzzed into her apt, and shot her to death five times before pulling the trigger on himself. I will never ever advise anyone again for The oldfashioned Indian matchmakers way, where he knows all the families in his network in much safer.Pls share this story with anyone U know, to proceed with caution ,with the internet matches. Always get a private investigator to do a background check also, its worth it.

  • reji varghese

    Getting an athiest match in india is very difficult. As seema gupta told there are lots of troble hidden among internet matches.

  • sanjeev

    This is a ridiculous exchange of mails I had with the customer service of

    Theres a total disconnect between marketing, sales and customer service….read on….

    Hi Shiv

    Further to our earlier mails, Im sending this mail to you again. I have no choice but to do this as I see my money being wasted on a product which doesnt bring any value to a platinum customer.

    I really wonder what make you the best site that your company seems to be claiming.

    You expect me to renew my subscription with a 15% discount. Now read the rest of the story and then tell me if a paid member would ever decide to renew.

    i Did a very simple quick search of finding male members in UAE.

    I selected an age group of 27 to 35 and selected doesnt matter as an option for religion and mothertongue.

    There were 60 pages listed and my profile was on the 25th page. The results were sorted as by default.

    The same search when i sorted it by newest first then my profile was listed only on the 42nd page of the 60 pages.

    When I sorted it by age my profile was listed on the 60th page.

    And finally when I did it by height my profile was listed only on the 28th page.

    Of all these options Im sure most of the female members use the default and maybe the newest first options.

    If I had a choice I would never be listed on your site.

    You guys are best among all the worst sites.

    Based on this results it makes sense for me to let my membership expire.

    I will create a new profile and take a 3 month membership which will atleast help me be listed in the 1st few pages.

    And expire this every 3 months and then again create a new profile.

    Unless your management and product team really want to get up from their fat MBA arses and start listening to the concerns of a genuine customer.

    And the Customer service rep sends the reply which is mentioned below……

    Dear Sanjeev,

    Thank you for writing to Customer Relations.

    We would like to mention that premium membership has no co-relation with listing your profile on top of search results.

    We would like to inform you that the visitors narrow down their search based on 20 different criteria – religion, age, height, mother-tongue, education, occupation, and so on.

    So, when a profile meets all such search criteria, it is automatically listed high up in that particular search.
    Still, this is a passive approach. We recommend a more active formula for Success at

    Also, thousands of new members join everyday. So, beyond a point it is very difficult to be listed high. That is why we advise you not to depend on response from others. Instead, you should yourself aggressively search and express interest in all potential partners.

    In fact, as a Premium Member, you can even write a personalized message to every member you express interest in. Under our Platinum and Diamond Memberships, your profile is also highlighted in every search listing.

    Trust the above makes it clear that high listing is not as important as being an active member yourself.

    If you need any further assistance, kindly contact us on `Live Help’.
    You can click on the following link to chat online with our Customer Relations Team:

    You can also contact us on +91 98335 74223 (Standard charges apply).
    We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Happy searching and contacting!

    Arti Customer Relations
    People Interactive

    And for the above reply I had to send this response…

    I dont want to have any interaction with you because it shows you have no clue what you are talking….but on second thoughts let me give you a reply.

    If all free members, inactive members can show up in a search with paid members then why pay?

    Your search algorithm should have that ability to priortize and sort profiles based on paid and active, paid and inactive, free and active, free and inactive.

    And as for being proactive and aggressively sending interest then you should do a report on my member activity. Other then my activity I keep My profile and messenger online almost 20 hours of the day so that it shows up in who is online search. And sorry to say there also your site sucks.

    All this will make you realize that you have sent a wrong reply and you should have waited for shiv to respond.

    Its getting too much and I plan to put this complaint to all the blogs on most of the popular sites.

    Let people know that while shaadi is the best marketing company their product and customer service sucks.

  • Mr. Schwinn

    Slightly off topic…
    I think the presentation of atheism could have been done better than an “in your face” attitude I often see from atheists. This is all a matter of phrasing the question the right way.

    For example couldn’t you get away with saying you were a “literalist” Jain?

    To the best of my knowledge from college studies I understood there are atheistic religions (who don’t believe in a god/creator figure) and Jainism is one of those. Looking up Jainism in wikipedia (and not sure how much it can be trusted), while it is a cultural thing, it celebrates “role models” rather than gods and does not believe the role model heroes/teachers currently exist somewhere in some other plane of existence but rather are only to be emulated. “Jains do not believe in an omnipotent supreme being, creator or manager (kart?), but rather in an eternal universe governed by natural laws.” from Wikipedia.

  • Mr. Schwinn

    Looks like that last “(kart?)” part did not copy and paste too well…

  • Mriana

    That’s sad. 🙁 Well, if it’s any consolation, Hemant, and I know I’ve said this before, but if I wasn’t too old for you, I’d date. 😉 But alas… I’m sadly old enough to be your mother. I’m sure your mother is very proud of though and I know why- as a mother too at least. 😆

  • Tammy Gill

    Thank god someone else had the bad experience I had.
    I am so upset about how they treated me I can’t even talk about it at the moment.
    I know exactly how you feel !

    Tammy Gill

  • A.S.

    Well, I hit upon this blog post when I searched for feedback re: Yes, yes, I relented….to appease the mom. Why not give it a go? (she asked) Well, I guess, hmm, why not. I am still at the ‘free membership’ stage, as a poor student, $ needs to be thought about long and hard.

    And, as an Indian female, and an atheist at that (which my mom still hopes is a phase)…I am disheartened (elated? serendipituous sabotage via listing atheist?) at your review of

    When filling out the profile, the initial thing that bugged me was, complexion choice (there was no ‘prefer not to say’/’no answer’ CHOICE!! and I am morally opposed to such Fair & Lovely rhetorics). And, then, the bullcrap with astrology and what time I was born (who knows such things, and why care? but, I couldn’t figure out how NOT to fill the field and still get the profile accepted, so I ball-park guessed from random past convos with the mom – she was apparently there). As you mentioned, I also noticed the bride=looking for groom and vice versa (the rainbow isn’t certainly bright in their corner). And, the fact that there’s no option to hide exact birthdate (pre-emptive strike against fundie astrology freaks, but, alas). And, finally, the contact info. Why do they need a phone number? Stalkerish!

    In conclusion: I am not very impressed, and may hold out on the $$ towards a paid membership. At least you can say yours was an experiment. Maybe I should do the same.

  • Bash

    I agree, it is difficult for an atheist to find an atheist partner in India.

    It is not so difficult for me as I belong to the Neo-Buddhist community in Maharashtra. Many people in this community are atheists or understand atheism or practice Buddhism in way that is close to atheism.

    Alas, some people have forgotten their roots in order to closely integrate with their Hindu neighbours, or simply do not think much to care about it.

  • Darn, had I a. not been married b. visited, it would have been the right match for me…. and the age fits too!

  • Sukanaya

    I fully agree with Sanjeev, I have same experience with so I decide to find
    something new. I did google search and spoke to my few friends who were looking for some time and decided to register on , these guys were very helpful and know what they are doing and helped me in finding the match in just 4 months which I was not able to do at in 9 months.

  • IC

    It gave me a kick reading your experiment; I thought honesty would be appreciated considering every second profile I have checked states how bleedingly honest of a person they seek.

    I’d have expressed interest in the FriedlyAtheist profile had I seen it ;).

  • Aayushi

    Quite sad!! I express interest! 🙂

    I am doing a similar experiment, only its caste. they dont give you data if its religion you know. As soon as I get the data, muhahahahah!! Anyway, will write about my results soon. SHould be in a week.

  • septemberbelle

    hi, i came across ur blog during a research search and feel like i have to let u know that as a single indian (Jain) woman.. its not ur athesism that bothers me so much as the fact that u use it to define urself…
    u have issues and hence ppl gave ur profile a miss the first time around..
    apologies for being blunt..

  • Mriana

    I doubt in real life Hemant uses atheism to define himself, septemberbelle. The whole thing started out on E-Bay and he wrote a book about it. In the process the website was started. His website and all is one thing, but I’m sure his personal life is a whole other issue. I highly recommend his book to you, septemberbelle.

  • Shruti

    Oh boy. I am an Indian woman. And an atheist. And not too long ago, I had out of curiousity, created a rather detailed (blunt) profile on Not one man came near me with a flag pole.

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