Disclaimer: There exist a majority of fine shadchanim who selflessly give of their time and go to the trouble of really getting to know each of the individuals that they set up. This piece is emphatically not addressed to these wonderful individuals!
There's another kind of shadchan for whom shadchanus is a business. This type generally uses the pants-and-skirt or shotgun approach. A common refrain that you'll hear from this class of shadchanim is, "It's just one date. What's the worst that can happen?" Either the people they set up have absolutely nothing going on in their lives and have nothing better to do, or the shadchanim realize that they have absolute control in the system as it is currently set up. I for one have many better things to do than go on a string of dates that anyone who knows me in the slightest could have predicted would go nowhere. That's why I rarely accept suggestions from anyone who doesn't know me personally. But, I am aware that for many people this system is their only option.
Because of the apparent desperation prevalent among singles, and the power that the shadchanim retain as the Doorkeepers Of Zivugim and Eternal Happiness, some of these shadchanim get away with setting up poorly matched date after poorly matched date. It's a numbers game to them, and eventually they'll no doubt stumble upon a match. The poor victims of this system, on the other hand, are wasting their time and money and are growing depressed and cynical. From a purely economical point of view, the shadchanim have no cost and only potential for profit by adopting this approach. That's why I think that if a shadchan openly charges shadchanus gelt (potential profit), a cost also needs to be introduced. It's time for shadchanim to put their money where their mouth is.
From here on out, if such a shadchan wishes to set me up, I will happily agree, as long as he or she covers the cost of the date and compensates me for the value of my time. If shadchanim wish to view this as a business, then I will do the same. There is no legitimate business that reaps reward without incurring a commensurate level of risk. As such, I will require an investment on their behalf to indicate confidence in their suggestion, and should they be successful they will have an excellent return on their investment in the form of shidduch gelt. To raise starting capital, shadchanim can form corporations, go public, and find investors. The good shadchanim will have great rates of return and will attract lots of investment, whereas the bad ones will be forced into bankruptcy. Capitalism 101 at work.
If shidduchim is going to be a business, then let's run it like a business. It's time to stop masquerading under the cover of chesed. It is time for us, the commodities, to recognize our worth and rise up and throw off the shackles of subservience to shadchanim.