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Its keynote speaker, Mark Brooks of Online Personals Watch, told participants that matchmakers offer “a chance to connect” and “a chance to authenticate” prospects in ways the Web sites can’t.
“People are getting a bit burnt out” by the lack of privacy and abundance of misinformation found on dating sites, said Lisa Clampitt, the executive director of the Matchmaking Institute, a school in Manhattan.
“You could be successful online, but it’s random,” Ms.
Clampitt said, describing situations in which daters send e-mail messages to 20 potential mates at a time or profess to be 5-foot-7 when 5-foot-2 is more like it.
FOR more than three years, Jennifer Silver, 33, a freelance marketing consultant in Manhattan, trolled online dating sites looking for love. Matchmakers have also helped themselves by adapting some of the same technologies that their online competitors use.
He also notes that “matchmaking overall has lost its social stigma for many people.” Some of the success of these headhunters for the heart can be attributed to a reaction to the well-publicized pitfalls of online dating.
When one potential date didn’t bear the slightest resemblance to his photo, she walked right past him, thinking he had stood her up. Matchmakers now number more than 1,600 in the United States, up from 1,300 in 2004.
Instead, their business is on an upswing, according to John La Rosa, the author of a report by the Marketdata Enterprises, a research firm.
Matchmakers prescreen potential matches, focusing on long-term compatibility rather than “short-term chemistry,” Ms. While online sites allow unlimited fantasizing, matchmakers encourage clients to take their heads out of the clouds.
“Sometimes we will get a guy who is a good-looking man, but no Brad Pitt, and he wants a thin model,” said Shoshanna Rikon, the owner of Shoshanna’s Matches, a Yenta-style matchmaking service in Manhattan that includes an in-person interview and a Web presence, and charges about ,500 for eight dates.
“We try to be more realistic with who we set him up with.” Another sign of the rise of the go-between: 80 matchmakers gathered on Friday in Weehawken, N.
J., for a two-day conference that the Matchmaking Institute, which organized it, bills as the first of its kind here.