The matchmaking industry in India has evolved very well in the past two decades. In the traditional way, finding the right bride or groom for marriage was primarily conducted through the family network. But today’s generation has grown up along with the Internet in India. It is said that nearly 8,000 new profiles are created on the available matrimonial sites. Even citizens of other countries such as Sri Lanka, Middle East and Pakistan have started using online matrimonial services given the broad range of options that are available.
Standard features of matrimonial websites
Most matrimonial sites provide a set of features that almost everyone has come to expect these days. They are considered hygiene factors and are needed just to be present in the sector.
These include but are not limited to:
- Chat – some sites provide the ability to chat with anyone who is online and some allow chat only with the members who have connected with each other explicitly
- Automated phone number and email verification – this is where a phone call is triggered to the registrant’s number and an email with a link is sent immediately after registration is completed. This is an attempt to reduce the number of fake profiles, although this does not ensure the identity in any manner
- Upload multiple pictures into an album – these pictures are in addition to the profile picture that is visible to all. Some sites provide you the option to share the album only with a specific set of members that you are comfortable with
- Express interest – this is to let you show that you are interested in someone even though you are a free member and cannot really send a detailed message. The user then gets a notification that you have expressed interest. They can then express interest in return or they can connect with you if they are already a paid member
- Profile highlighting – this feature will ensure that your profile shows up in the top of the search results for the criteria you meet, or even to come up in a banner on all pages of other visitors
Unique & New Features
In addition to the standard features mentioned above, some of the new matrimonial sites have started providing unique and innovative features to attract more online consumers.
- Daily 10 Recommendations
Some sites offer this feature where 10 new matches based on your preference are provided every day so that you can sample the users that are present as members. This will also reduce the time spent wherein you can just spend 15 minutes every day and see through the recommendations.
- Refined Search Options
Some sites provide a very granular search option which goes beyond just physical characteristics and education / work details. For example, the search could be based on astrology or special cases. Further these searches can be saved.
- Offline Centers
Some services have started providing offline centers for those who are not tech-savvy. For example, offline centers would be very beneficial for parents and uncles and aunts who are not so comfortable with using the computer, especially for those living in smaller towns and cities.
- Free messages
As a value added service, a few sites provide the ability to send messages as a free user too, which is very rare. However, the trust factor is higher for the recipient of the message if it is coming from a paid member since that shows higher interest level.
- Soul mate Search
This is a modern day adaptation by older matrimony sites in order to become more relevant for the current generation Indians. Here the search parameters are based on common interests, hobbies and other personal information rather than just religion, community, city and physical appearances.
- Crowd sourced Matrimony Service
One site, namely www.HatkeShaadi.com provides a feature ‘Shaadify’ which is a crowd sourced matrimony service wherein the best profiles are sought out through friends and family. They can refer the relevant profiles to their loved ones and share that it is a potential match.
- Verification and activity score
This feature shows whether the user is active and interested. This is a proxy to show that this person is very keenly looking out and also has gone through the trouble of getting his/her verification done to show the seriousness of intent.