Hav­ing a match­maker is a very or­di­nary thing in today’s world

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

WE take it for granted that tech­nol­ogy has em­bed­ded it­self in the world of dat­ing and re­la­tion­ships. But how much is too much when it comes to dig­i­tal­is­ing the mat­ters of the heart?

While we rely on ser­vices in­clud­ing Tin­der, eHar­mony and RSVP to put us in touch with po­ten­tial matches, there is a new ser­vice ris­ing up that of­fers to write and pre­sent your on­line pro­file. One such busi­ness is Aus­tralia-based eDateMate whose tagline is: “It’s our job to get you no­ticed.”

But in the US, ser­vice providers have gone one step fur­ther, of­fer­ing to not only write your on­line pro­file, but also sort through and vet the re­sponses you get and nar­row down your po­ten­tial per­fect match. In most cases they are also car­ry­ing on the ini­tial con­ver­sa­tions with likely matches.

Re­la­tion­ships Aus­tralia CEO Elis­a­beth Shaw says, while it may be shock­ing to some that this ro­man­tic task is now be­ing out­sourced, it’s no dif­fer­ent to the cen­turies-old ser­vice of match­mak­ing and ar­ranged mar­riages.

“If you look at re­ally old-fash­ioned meth­ods, hav­ing a match­maker is a very or­di­nary thing,” Shaw says.

“This is just a dig­i­tal means for a con­cept that has been around for years. In the past it would have been a priest in the con­gre­ga­tion, an aunt or a vil­lage mem­ber. Ei­ther way, ar­ranged mar­riages and match­mak­ers are an age-old con­cept and they were screen­ing po­ten­tial matches.”

Like most things, Shaw says if overused the ser­vices can go too far. In the case of the US ser­vice, hav­ing a Tin­der “closer” veers into dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory be­cause the po­ten­tial matches don’t re­alise they are flirt­ing with an im­per­son­ator.

“The creepy part is that peo­ple don’t re­alise they’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing with an im­per­son­ator or be­ing screened and it may breach in­formed con­sent,” she says. “It is fraught with red flags.”

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