EHarmony founder doles out tough love Los Angeles Times Copyright 2013 Los Angeles Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Published 8:44 pm, Wednesday, January 2, 2013 In a move that caused his friends to call him crazy, the 78-year-old eHarmony founder came out of retirement in July to become chief executive, looking to resuscitate one of the most recognized online dating services, which was struggling amid increased competition. Crowded marketIt's an ambitious and far-reaching plan, but one that will differentiate the company in an increasingly crowded online dating market, in which big-name established sites such as eHarmony, Match and OkCupid are competing with smaller upstart websites and apps. EHarmony, which began as a site primarily for Christian singles, is now one of the most-recognized online dating brands in the $2 billion-a-year U.S. dating services industry. Market leader InterActiveCorp, which owns several dating sites including Match and OkCupid, holds a 23.7 percent share. By rolling out seven or eight new concepts in the next few years, eHarmony hopes to leverage its brand to new members and to the 44 million registered users it has had since starting 12 years ago. Deep data on usersHow eHarmony manages that wealth of member information - users fill out an extensive questionnaire when they join the site, answering questions about their daily habits, likes and dislikes, past experiences and goals - will be the key to whether the new ventures are successful, said Mark Brooks, an online dating industry consultant.