Why you should never pay for online dating 101

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I have said it many times but never really wrote about it in detail…Why you should NEVER pay for online dating

Check out BBC’s Adrian Goldberg’s show recently and the news item

Customers of one of Britain’s largest online dating companies have voiced concerns that they may have been lured into paying subscriptions by potential dates who did not exist. Men who signed up to a number of sites owned by Cupid plc complained to the BBC’s 5 live Investigates programme that flirty messages they received as free members rapidly tailed off when they became paid-up subscribers. Cupid plc said it did create staff profiles, but only for “the express purpose of monitoring the site for quality assurance and moderation purposes”.

It categorically denied the company sent communications in order to tempt free members to pay subscriptions.

The messages are generic in nature, only appear when your not a subscriber or membership runs out and don’t reply when your signed up and a member? Not only that, many people have experienced this on many dating sites including cupid.com or in my case speedater.com. I say one thing not putting myself in a difficult position… Ockam’s razor.

From online dating insider

But let’s get one thing straight, many dating sites have engaged in sketchy practices when it comes to growing their user databases. This is an industry-wide issue. Cupid LLC is just the latest to find themselves in the media’s crosshairs. Similar allegations have been made against Yahoo Personals, the Match fake profile lawsuit, Spark Networks and other sites over the years.

I’ve heard lots of stories over the years of how dating sites will do some pretty ridiculous things to achieve enough customer density to get people to stick around long enough to (re)monetize. Some choose to buy fake profiles during the launch process. I think most would agree that this is a terrible idea. Other use automated messaging of different sorts (email, IM, chat). This has been going on for a decade. The truth of the matter is that like any industry, there are always bad actors that will do anything to grow their businesses.

Its worth pointing out Cupid.com is Cupid.LLC which has nothing to do with OkCupid.com, which published many reasons why you should never pay for online dating a while back then removed it.

No matter if its fake profiles sending emails, fake users, fake whatever. The nature of the sending and receiving messages when a subscriber or not, works to keep you on the site and extract money…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.