Thursday, December 30, 2004

CAGE MATCH: JDATERSANONYMOUS VS. JDATE

You all know I complain a lot about JDate. It almost seems that I wouldn't be a single woman if I didn't. But it's not peer pressure, or the desire to get along with my singleton peers, that drives my dissatisfaction. It's because of a basic fact about JDate. They're in it for the money, and don't care about customer service. In any other business scenario, this would spell disaster. But they've got the brand working for them. Even if the most frequent online incidence of the word "JDate" is inevitably followed by someone's account of how horrible their experience is, brandwise, they're the preeminent Jewish dating service, referenced on The West Wing, relentlessly in Jewtopia, and in any other number of pop culture contexts. Despite the dissatisfaction of many members, who keep quitting and rejoining because they think they have no choice, the number of "members online" seems to keep growing. Many have speculated about this, and I think the reason is clear. Even if you quit a thousand times over, your profile remains active. It is sent to people in "Your Matches" emails even if you quit JDate, met someone elsewhere, married and have a few kids. If you have not specifically requested the removal of your profile, as far as JDate is concerned, you're still available. Now, many of us have suspected that, despite their poorly named Customer Care Department, no one over there seems to care about us, the multitude of customers who enable JDate to exist. Feeling ignored is something we all experience. But now, my correspondence with them proves it. First, that initial letter I sent them (and their completely unacceptable response). Then, there was another letter, that I wrote as a member of the press who was thinking about giving them some publicity, that received an auto-response. Never, never send a member of the press an auto-response. (And I didn't even go to business school.) And now, there's this--my newest letter, followed by their response. I'm uncharacteristically terse because they limit me to 150 words (as if I could sum up what's wrong with them in 150 words, without using the word fackockta): 12/28/2004 From: Esther's Profile Name Reason: General question or suggestion There's no one option why I'm canceling: JDate is frustrating and ineffective. Your computer-generated customer service responses are inadequate. You delete words from people's profiles that changes the meaning and sound of their original essays. You should focus on customer service, on actually responding to people's queries. If this message gets an auto-response like all the other ones, I'm showing all my friends how you "value" your customers. Ok, can't say I didn't warn them. Here's their response to my concerns, and my comments in brackets. From: JD Comments Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 3:44 Subject: Re: General question or suggestion Dear Member, To change how often you receive "Your Matches" emails and other informational communications from us, go to Member Services and click "Off-site email alerts and settings." There, you will see a list of options to choose from. [Um, guys? I know how to do this. I'm NOT an idiot. That's not what I asked.] If you would like to stop the automatic renewal of your Premium Membership, go to "Cancel Your Premium Membership" in Member Services. This will stop any future billing yet allow you to enjoy all subscriber benefits through the remainder of your paid term. Your profile will also stay on the website for free for as long as you wish. * [I've already done this, Brainiacs. Then a screen popped up asking me why I'm quitting, and none of the reasons quite fit. That's why I'm contacting you. And by the way, I'm gone as of January 23.] If you want to remove your profile and stop getting email from us, just login and go to "Remove Your Profile" in Member Services. [Of course, you know I can't do that. If I'm Jewish and single, I have to stay out there. And part of being out there, unfortunately, is having a JDate profile. This sucks, man.] We hope that you have been enjoying the website and meeting some wonderful people. [Um, I'm gonna go with no, I haven't. What I have found out is that on the whole, Jewish men either come on too strong, or they're total wusses. Or maybe they're just not that into me. And while we're at it, I'd like to note my resentment of one of the "reasons for quitting" that you list: "I'm giving up on finding a soulmate." Why would you do that? It's like "Ok, leave if you want to, but know that if you give up, you'll be alone forever." You suck, JDate. There, I said it.] JDate.com Customer CareJDate.com -- the best place on the Internet to meet quality singles and find your perfect match [Umm, no--it obviously isn't.] Let's recap what I asked for, and how many of my complaints they addressed. And let's see which of my readers can discern the intricate mathematical pattern:
  • JDate is frustrating and ineffective. This is where they should have said, I'm sorry that you're finding our system frustrating, but here's who to call, or what to do...NOT ADDRESSED
  • Your computer-generated customer service responses are inadequate. NOT ADDRESSED
  • You delete words from people's profiles that changes the meaning and sound of their original essays. COMPLETELY NOT ADDRESSED
  • You should focus on customer service, on actually responding to people's queries. HMM. NOT ADDRESSED
  • If this message gets an auto-response like all the other ones, I'm showing all my friends how you "value" your customers. ADDRESSED, BUT BY ME, IN THIS POST.
I swear my blood pressure just jumped. Maybe I'll do some nice, calming work to even out my keel. If anyone has horrid tales, or better yet, good experiences about JDate's response to customers to relate, let me know. I'm hoping that their responses to me constitute a response anomaly. But somehow, realistically, I don't think it is... *On the previous "An Answer" post, an Anonymous reader wrote: I wrote Jdate and asked them to inform those women [who wrote to me] that I cannot retrieve their messages or respond, but it doesn't look like they will do so. In a sense, they are damaging my reputation and in a way hardly consistent with traditional Jewish values. Morever, since I can't log on, I can't even delete my profile so that it doesn't continue to happen in the future. If they lock me out because I no longer subscribe that's fine, but then they should also remove my profile, rather than keep my face and profile up and count me as one of their available-to-meet members.

7 comments:

Andrea said...

That's exactly it!

Re. "You delete words from people's profiles that changes the meaning and sound of their original essays." and "If JDate censors determine that the word in question is part of an email address." (from one of the other blog entries): I had this happen even when the words were completely innocuous. It got worse over time.

This blog entry sums up most of the reasons that I got pissed off at jdate and quit permanently. I think I also mentioned in my comments to you once that I found the email announcing their new fee structure offensive and this is what lead me to my write "customer service" to begin with. It basically said, "We want to make sure you're serious about finding that special someone." I was offended for two reasons.
1. So people on a budget (i.e. students, unemployed, those of us who work low-paying jobs) are SOL because we'd rather pay the phone bill this month and eat than pay jdate for ineffective service. Oh wait, all Jews are rich. If I really wanted to get argumentative with them I could accuse them of perpetuating that stereotype with their assumption that everyone can afford jdate.

2. If everyone's goal on jdate is to find their besheret than why offer options for the kind of relationship that the user is looking for? The options are "soul mate" or "soul mate". None of this "just friends" crap.

My second email to them had a message similar to "If this message gets an auto-response like all the other ones, I'm showing all my friends how you "value" your customers."
Fuck 'em.

BarryDubya said...

"What I have found out is that on the whole, Jewish men either come on too strong, or they're total wusses. Or maybe they're just not that into me."

Or we're just as confused and frustrated at having go through this nonsense as you are. After a few bad or unsucessful dates, the ego does take a bruising and you sometimes lose confidence, especially when she doesn't seem 'that into you'. The problem is, you don't really get to know someone after an hour or two, you just have a faint impression based on how both of your are acting/feeling at that particular moment in time. Unfortunately, it's all the time you have on these things. My Dad always jokes that when he met my Mother, he didn't really like her. All kidding aside, it just goes to show you that given a chance for two people to REALLY get to know each other, anything is possible. Unfortunately, no one is on jdate or match to meet a new best buddy, so that sort of thing just ain't gonna happen.

So based on your point of view, certain types of behavior can seem wussy-like or that the guy's just not into you. But it may be something else entirely.
But I'm right with ya regarding the disdain in which jdate treats their customer base. Just because they can.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Andrea, it's good to know I'm not the only one out there who's more than irked by this.

And Barry, you did see the words "on the whole," right? I hate generalizing, generally speaking.

Andrea said...

I didn't even notice the part of the post the Barry addressed ("Jewish men either come on too strong, or they're total wusses.") until he did so.

I've said the same thing for years and it's the reason I'm always hesitant to date Jewish guys even though I prefer to marry one (interesting predicament, huh?). I don't want to generalize either and I recently met some cool ones at a party (and didn't exchange numbers because I'm an idiot and was just happy that I was holding my own at a party where I know no one). However, Jewish guys tend to either reek of desperation or they're wussy mamas boys or both. I think that one of the reasons for this is this notion that you have to be married by a certain age. My non-Jewish male friends aren't like this at all.

Where I live there seems to be a tendency in the Jewish community to go away to school, move back home with one's parents and move out when you've found a significant other. This is how our parents did it. Odd that a lot of people in our generation still do. I know a Jewish guy who moved out of his parents' home when he got engaged and moved back when they broke up. My sister had similar experiences more than once (without the actual engagements), much to my parents' irritation.

I refuse to date guys who live with their parents. I'm 28 and independent.

Daphna said...

The whole issue of the cost is a big deal for me--I live in Israel and earn a fraction of what I earned in the States. That is because the standard of living here is radically different than the US and in fact, MOST Isaelis, including the single ones, earn less than their US counterparts. Unfortunately, no one has told the powers that be on Jdate about this and so their method of coming up with appropriate rates for the Israeli market is to multiply the US rate by 4.5 and then round it off. Or something like that. I actually wrote Jdate about this issue and I got a lovely email back from them. I am so sure that you will enjoy it that I am going to forward it to you!

My recommendation for anyone Israeli and moderately religious to hard core Bible Thumper--Dosidate.

Anonymous said...

j-date really piss me off. I have used this 3 times and always cancel my account after 1 month. You and/or jdate ask why? I will answer "what the fuck’s it to you; I want to".

Jdate charges me. I call jdate to cancel and this time he says I’m not using the service the way they want to. Fuck him.

He tells me that the charge for the new month will stick. He gives me his name and “email address” of his mananger.

The reason I am so pissed is not because of the extra $34, it was how absolutely fucking rude this guy was on the phone to me telling me:

a) I had been warned before
b) I am not using the service the way I am supposed to
c) Equated jdate to a cellphone plan where if you use it for 1 second you get charged for 1 minute.
d) tried to give me a "deal" by letting me use the non-premium site for the month. (To those who don't know, this is free for anyone anyway).

Anonymous said...

i agree with al the above but i also think there is a chance you can meet your beshert . i came close once and i wasnt ready so i broke off an engagement going to happen. i think that can happen anwhere and jdate makes dating go faster. more to meet quicker. However what i dont like is the men(and this is there fault) who all of a sudden get so undeservingly flattered as they get women by the dozens to write so they for once in their life sometimes feel like a "rock star or stud" and treat nice ladies poorly who are unsuspecting as they ARE NOT rockstars . i know i have dated them too. its hilarious to me to see these mostly quiet/slightly nerdy men think they have some kind of reicarnation into a stud. but i laugh and take it with a grain of salt
C