Bonds With NetPlus, a subscription-based online dating service, appointed NetPlus Marketing Inc., Conshohocken, PA, as its first online advertising agency.

The agency will help eHarmony reach out to more prospects and test new markets. Online marketing previously was handled in-house.

“EHarmony built itself up pulling on its own bootstraps, so in the early days there wasn't quite the economy of scale to justify the overhead of an agency,” said Tig Tillinghast, a eHarmony consultant. “They got past that point when they started looking for some help in the fall, and now they're quite past that point.”

The dating service claims to be growing 10 percent monthly. But it needs to pay attention to two areas. On the creative side, it needs to build awareness and position itself against competition like, and

“Instead of trying to provide a lot of dates, the service puts users through a rather vigorous test with the objective of getting them fewer and much more compatible matches, the sort that could provide for long-term relationships,” Tillinghast said.

“It's a lot more expensive and provides a rather different value than that of other dating services,” he said.

On the media side, eHarmony needs to expand beyond advertising on niche sites. NetPlus will test media strategies and types of vehicles to attract new subscribers with the message and to use larger sites and more specialized lists.

NetPlus also is testing cost-per-thousand buys vs. pay for performance, demographic targeting, contextual placements, network buys and other placements. The campaign aims to test new audience response and compare the lowest cost per qualified lead with multiple variables.

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