JDate


JDate

JDate is an online dating service aimed at Jewish singles. The service is the progenitor of Spark Networks plc, which operates a number of demographically-focused online match-making websites. Joe Shapira and Alon Carmel co-founded the site, which debuted in 1997. Shapira is specifically credited with overseeing the design, software development, and implementation of the business model.

JDate offers two tiers of service: free and premium. The former allows prospects to post a profile and search for members, reply to instant messages, and send a fixed menu of messages known as “flirts.” The premium service includes a fuller range of communications options, including email, chat, and the service’s internal messaging system. A site redesign in late 2005 gave members the ability to note mutual interest with a click to each other's profile, triggering an alert, as well as support for webcams and the ability to keep a list of prospects. Profile items include some fields of particular interest to Jews: adherence to dietary law, frequency of attendance at synagogue, and form of Judaism (if any) practiced. The site's in-person activities have included the usual cruises and ski trips - but also organized trips to Israel.

Membership

JDate claims to have more than 750,000 active members worldwide, about half in the United States. Most members are in major metropolitan areas, with women slightly outnumbering men: 52%-48%. Searches can be conducted for members of the same or opposite sex. The site won a 2006 Webby award for social networking. [ [http://www.webbyawards.com/webbys/current.php 10th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners] retrieved March 22, 2007]

While JDate is oriented toward Jews, it has attracted others seeking Jewish mates. The reasons cited often have to do with perceived cultural traits, whether stereotypical or true: "nice" Jewish men who treat women well; take-charge, independent Jewish women who still hold onto tradition; wealth, intelligence, high social status, and connections in the political or entertainment fields. While many JDate members respond in kind, others view the phenomenon as an intrusion that defeats the purpose of the site. [cite news | first=Sarah E. | last=Richards | coauthors= | title=You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love JDate | date=2004-12-05 [subscription required] | publisher= | url =http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30615F83D550C768CDDAB0994DC404482 | work =New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2007-03-20 | language = ]

User Praise, Frustration and Complaints

Advocates of JDate note the ability to meet a wider circle of prospects, and the service maintains an archive of subscribers who have met and married [ [http://newscenter.jdate.com/newscenter/mazeltov.htm Jdate "Mazel Tov" listing] , retrieved September 14, 2006] . Detractors complain of false descriptions and outdated photos, ignored messages, disappointing person-to-person encounters, and negative results with customer support. A persistent complaint is that JDate has higher fees than other Spark Networks services. [ [http://www.edatereview.com/011003displayreviews.aspx Jdate reviews from the eDateReview website] ,retrieved September 11, 2006] Another complaint is that users have no way of knowing whether their sent emails will be read because only paying members are able to read sent emails. [ [http://www.complaints.com/directory/2004/july/19/16.htm "JDate / Internet Dating Site - refuses to cancel membership of members who do not log in every 90 days per their rules"] , retrieved February 8, 2008]

Although online reviews of JDate cite many of the advantages and frustrations common to many online dating sites, The Better Business Bureau of the Southland, Inc., found Spark Networks services (including JDate) had an unusually high rate of complaints, due in part to "deceptive sales practices, unauthorized credit card charges, and difficulty cancelling services" [ [http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Business/CompanyReportPage_Expository.aspx?CompanyID=13110492 The Better Business Bureau of the Southland, Inc. report on Sprak Neworks] , retrieved March 22, 2008] , etc. As of March 22, 2008, the ratings assigned by The Better Business Bureau of the Southland, Inc., to dating sites in the Los Angeles area included an "F" for Spark Networks services (including JDate) [ [http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Business/CompanyReportPage_Expository.aspx?CompanyID=13110492 The Better Business Bureau of the Southland, Inc. report on Sprak Neworks] , retrieved March 22, 2008] .

Cultural significance

JDate's stated mission is "to strengthen the Jewish community and ensure that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come," presumably by reducing the high percentage of Jews who marry gentiles. According to the Council of Jewish Federations' 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, since 1985, 52% of American Jews who married have done so outside the faith. This phenomenon has also been noted by Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz in his book "The Vanishing American Jew".

In the broader culture, JDate's brand has become synonymous with Jewish dating. The service has been referenced in some theatrical works, such as "Jewtopia". A few blogs now use the term "JDater" in their title. On the TV series "House", Gregory House asks boss Lisa Cuddy "JDate not working out?" when she hires a male assistant. In the Date Night episode of "Entourage", Turtle (who is not Jewish) says he used JDate to find his last minute date, although she is seen to be wearing a cross necklace (and is later revealed to be a girl from a fan letter sent to Vince). Television writer Rodney Rothman mentions his use of JDate in his book "Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement". The Internet video show Goodnight Burbank regularly uses JDate as the dating service of Kenny Schickler the business anchor. On American Dad Roger becomes engaged to a Jewish woman using Jdate. Jdate is also referenced in the South Park episode "The Snuke".

In 2004, JDate attracted negative publicity when it was discovered that some of its Internet banner advertisements featured fictitious profiles that used photographs purchased from a picture archive, some of which turned out to be of pornography models. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=468175&contrassID=1&subContrassID=7&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y "JDate banners feature pictures of porn models,"] Haaretz, August 23, 2004, retrieved September 11, 2006] JDate again drew negative attention in July, 2006 when e-mails and blogs started recounting a story of how JDate member Darren Sherman, a CEO and former SEC official, left a series of voicemail messages to a woman he met on JDate, demanding $50 (her portion of their meal cost) since she did not call him for a second date within 2 and a half weeks of their first date. He threatened legal action, called her employer, and even went so far as to call the restaurant they ate at and dispute his credit card charge. The story included the text of the e-mails plus audio recordings he had left on the woman's voice mail. JDate revoked Sherman's membership for his conduct. [ [http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2006/07/21/2006-07-21_eromancers_cashanova_complex.html "E-romancer's cash-anova complex"] , "New York Daily News", July 21, 2006, retrieved September 18, 2006]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.jdate.com JDate]
* [http://www.jdate.co.uk JDate in the UK]
* [http://www.jdate.co.il JDate in Hebrew (היכרויות בעברית)]
* [http://www.jdate.fr JDate in France]


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