Matrimony App – Recommendation the way forward

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Matrimony App is a matrimony matchmaking application on mobile available on various operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows, etc. The entire idea of a matrimony app is to give a more personalized experience to users. Usages like partner search are surely rendered best when done privately and what better than mobile devices to offer that.

Not until late 2010 companies saw the potential to offer matrimony matchmaking experience over mobile phones. Until then it was commonplace to assemble around the PC at home and browse profiles collectively. Leaders like Shaadi and Bharatmatrimony launched the app and WAP versions of their web product in 2011. It may sound surprising that it was Blackberry on which the first matrimony app was launched. Back then, Blackberry was the most ubiquitous mobile phone known for its super elegant messaging and tracking system. Shaadi launched Blackberry App in January, 2011 and later on other operating system like iOS, Android and Windows. Others also followed with matrimony apps on various operating systems.

Matrimony apps have evolved over the years. While erstwhile matrimony sites aped the web experience on to mobile, new generation ones like Marrily took a more user-centric approach. For instance, there is a lot more focus on profile verification. Marrily, for instance, allows users to sign up only after authenticating Facebook credentials. No “sign up using email” option is provided. This not only helps in adding only socially verified profiles to the network but also makes the sign-up process smoother and faster as the mobile app obtains relevant profile details from Facebook and doesn’t ask users what’s already obtained. The user provides only the remaining information and partner preferences to complete profile.

Once the profile is completed, matrimony app requests the matchmaking engine for profile recommendations. Matrimony apps differ in terms user interaction. Some allow users to view contact information of others and connect them offline. Here, there is no control on who can contact. While others take a more nuanced approach and connect users only on two-way opt in. On these apps, such as on Marrily, profiles are shown one by one to users who can either “Like” or “Reject”. Users also have this option to decide later and request for more information on the App. But only when users show interest in each other, they are connected on the App and a “Match” is created. Until such times, their contact details are not shared which eliminates the possibility of getting contacted by someone who user hasn’t shown interest in. Some dating apps have further experimented with user interaction by anonymizing name, or allowing women to chat anonymously and revealing details only when they are comfortable, etc.

Engines powering matrimony apps are of two kinds, search based and discovery based. In search based once users provide all preferences, the engine looks up the entire database and returns results that meet the preferences. Users then go through these results and reaches out to ones they like either by contacting over phone or email or by more subtle way such as expressing interest on the App. Typically, search based algorithms score high on results but low on relevancy. However, companies like eHarmony have developed engines that match more than hundred parameters (they use a hundred-point personality assessment questionnaire) but their learning has been that in the attempt to match on all parameters, the number of results get greatly compromised. In their case, grapevine is, engine throws on an average 0.3% results after matching all parameters.

On the other hand, discovery based recommender matrimony apps like Marrily use engines powered by machine learning algorithms to find out the most desirable profiles for users. They base their results on not one but a combination of algorithms for recommendation. As learning algorithms are an inexact science, they keep optimizing results by obtaining signals from users’ actions and actions of other similar users. Here, the entire focus is on personalizing recommendation while maximizing relevancy.

How matrimony apps will evolve over the next few years will be interesting to watch. Till now matrimony apps have focused on strictly matchmaking but hardly any attempt has been made to offer a wider gamut of services to users. Who knows there could be a market for bundled services like background verification, counselling, or grooming.

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