DesiSpark.com has been launched as an online matrimonial portal, with no membership fee. This is a significant deviation from the business model of Shaadi.comBharatmatrimony and Jeevansathi, which offer different levels of access to their free and premium members. The website also offers online dating, which, from what we hear, incumbent matrimonial portals are also used for. Dating website Ignighter claims to have done rather well in the Indian market. Perhaps there is room for another. It is currently operational in India, Canada, UK and US.

The pitch which DesiSpark makes in its press release is that it is trying to end India’s Matrimony Monopoly, highlighting a key differentiator is that compared to the others, it is free. So, leaving aside the odd claim that three matrimonial businesses can be a monopoly, can a free service matrimonial disrupt existing paid businesses?

Our take on this is – it can’t. It is key for matrimonial services to be able to put a certain barrier to entry for contacting prospective partners, else they will be over-run with non-serious solicitations. In fact, there’s a market for a higher barrier to entry, which has seen the launch of Elite Matrimony. If you ask me, that should apply to dating sites as well.

Disclosure: Accentium Web, founded by my cousin Vivek Pahwa, owns SecondShaadi.com