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Shaadi.com vs BharatMatrimony.com

This is a long due blog – due to the winner among the two and more so to my friends who are still hunting for a soul mate and are considering/using matrimony website(s) as one of their Stairways to Heaven.
Shaadi.com (henceforth referred to as Shaadi) and BharatMatrimony.com (henceforth referred to as BM) are the two largest matrimony websites in India. I do not have first-hand knowledge about JeevanSaathi.com or other websites. Before I jump into the comparison, I would like to dwell into when one finds his/her way into matrimonial websites, the dangers/prejudices it holds and where and when it works.
Philosophy and reality of matrimony websites
Matrimonial websites are rarely the first option for partner seekers, but they are good, and over the years, they have been very successful in getting the right match, and in some cases, an acceptable compromise. In my case, it didn’t give the solution in the end, but I learned well about Shaadi and BM and have a reasonable idea which one would give a good success rate for which type of people.
So, let’s start with general sphere of influence of these matrimony websites. They are:
Effective for

  1. Agarwals, Jains, Maheshwaris and the likes – basically big castes with a good array of mates to choose from. Also effective for Brahmins who are flexible with Brahmin sub-castes.
  2. Where marriage must happen within the caste – do or die, billionaire or blind.
  3. Doctors and Chartered Accountants, who prefer partners from same profession.
  4. Professionals seeking a professional partner without bias for caste.
  5. Bohras/Muslims/Christians/Jews – a small array to choose from, so either you find it or you don’t, but at least you don’t waste your time.
  6. Beautiful girls – I am not being sexist about it, but they will get many proposals, no matter what, as most guys would sacrifice many other parameters to have a beautiful wife.

Not very effective for:
  1. Boys from Banswara – I mean guys small towns or cities. I found that a lot of families/girls have preconceived negative notions about not marrying into a family from a small place, even though the guy is working in a big city or outside India. The same notion isn’t reserved for girls from smaller cities, as they will be move into the bigger city family after the marriage.
  2. Seekers from small castes or sections, who are flexible to look out.
  3. Run-of-the-mill (read too many available) engineers and management professionals.
  4. Professionally successful women beyond the socially accepted marriageable age.

Needless to say – above isn’t a rulebook, but should have a good 80-20 or 70-30 applicability.
Psychology when using such websites
Psychologically, one looks for more superior partners on matrimony websites than what one would be looking for within one’s comfort zone of caste or city. This happens because:
As I said before, a matrimony website is hardly a first option. Generally, we search within the caste, then through near or far relatives or friends. Then we start looking out of the caste into other acceptable (usually ‘higher’) castes within our city/region. At some point, especially these days, parents also ask the son/daughter whether they like or love someone from a good caste (same level or higher). When all frontiers are lost, a half-hearted registration to these websites is made.
Now, my search criteria was as follows (and I think the MUSTs apply in general to a large set of people):
1. Good character/soft and good nature. (MUST)
2. Good family. (MUST)
3. Good education. (MUST)
4. Average-good looks. (MUST)
5. Preferably working, otherwise a housewife, but definitely not very career-oriented. (MUST)
6. Interested in spirituality. (WANT)
7. Very beautiful. (WANT)
8. From a very educated family with parent(s) having a reputable job/profession. (WANT)
9. From a place preferably closer to, or at least easily to reach from, Banswara. (WANT)
But when one looks at matrimony websites, the confidence that these criteria (especially 1, 2) are actually met is low, for there is a chance of misunderstanding, or even worse, cheating. And therefore, we look for and would accept far better partners from matrimony websites than we would within our own castes or region.
The proof of the pudding was seen in the proposals I sent and received on BM. I hardly liked the ones I received and I was rejected or not responded to by the ones I proposed.
The comparison, finally…
Now coming to the comparison, I will do it categorically:
1. The name: When it comes to the name, Shaadi is clearly a winner, for shaadi in Hindi means marriage. In mind, it sounds like the obvious choice. BM’s name has a bit of a hybrid touch. “What is in a name”, they say, but it is for nothing but the name that Shaadi is the biggest matrimony website!
2. Fee: Both websites allow you to look for partners with a free login. But to get contact info, one has to pay. Both are expensive, at least costing above 2k for 3 months (minimum registration period), but BM was slightly cheaper than Shaadi when I registered.
3. Login and ease of handling: BM is easier to use compared to Shaadi. The login to Shaadi is a bit cumbersome and it opens as a pop-up window where tabs cannot be managed, whereas BM works in normal window, where multiple tabs can be opened.
4. Search: The search function in both websites is effective – with enough options of age, height, religion/caste, region, salary etc. to choose from. However, looking at the search results, I always felt that BM offers you a better array of results than Shaadi – this might have something to do with appearances.
5. Appearances: Appearance-wise, BM is far superior to Shaadi. Apart from browsing and tabs-management, the profile and photos look far cleaner and better in BM.
6. Details: Shaadi is horrendously ineffective when it comes to partner details. It is rather strange, for Shaadi profiles are usually uploaded with support from their executives and after their review, whereas BM profiles are developed individually and only some things such as photos are screened before display. BM lets you give as much details about yourself as you like in an organized form (Personal Info, Occupational Info, Religious Beliefs, Hobbies etc.) and at the same time, it lets you share your expectations from life partner in an organized way. Shaadi, on the other hand, is less detailed and doesn’t have an option for describing your options except in the Comments section. In fact, Shaadi by default won’t reveal the person’s name and you are lucky if it is given in Comments section. BM doesn’t have such illogical issues.
7. Horoscope match: Provided you and the searched result have both put the required details of birth date/time and place, the website will auto-calculate the horoscope match and display it just below the profile ID.
8. Contact info and contact: Here again, BM is very effective. You can either dig the person’s phone no. or you can send a message without knowing their email ID. For your account type, you have a certain limit on messages or phone numbers, which is reasonable. In case of Shaadi, they are still living in the stone age. They will mail you the contact info rather than email it, and even then, they will mostly forget or take too much time to respond.
9. Expressing interest: BM offers a good range of choice here, including phone number, text messages and voice messages. If the user is online, you can also do a text chat. Shaadi on the other hand only gives you the contact info after long chasing.

10. Customer support: BM’s customer support is very good. They called me a day after I created my paid profile to inform my about my benefits. Shaadi on the other hand is seemingly full of ineffective conmen. Even after my repeated requests of sending the profiles on my email rather than my mailbox, they didn’t respond and it took 2 personal visits from my sister to resolve the issue.

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