As I continue to research the online dating landscape and the 1000+ dating sites in the US, I’ve come to learn some tactics that a few dating sites engage in. These tactics are at best misleading, and at worst, fraudulent:
Fake Profiles. This is relatively common, particularly in newer sites. Since people hesitate to join a dating site with few members, these sites will buy profiles from other sites, or create them themselves. A new member joins thinking there are 10,000 members, and is surprised to see that no one contacts her or responds to her messages. Worse, she might keep paying, unaware that many members are phony.
Fake Messages. Similar to fake profiles, some sites have mechanisms where it appears attractive members are messaging you. These people are not real, or at least not real members on the site. They are used to entice new members.
Marketing Matching Algorithms as Proven Science. I’ve mentioned this before, and it is a major reason why I created TruConnection.com, but it bears repeating. Some might disagree with me, and believe these algorithms are really engineering relationships. I would argue they are merely instruments to help sites justify high member fees.
In fairness, many sites (and most well-known sites) are scrupulous and honest in their practices. These sites work to build consumer confidence in online dating. However, the sites that are simply trying to capitalize on a growing market, with little care or concern for their members’ experience, are doing the industry a great disservice.
TruConnection.com is less than two months old, and doesn’t have nearly the member count of the larger dating sites (yet). But no matter what, we will not engage in deceptive practices. We will respect our members’ intelligence, not mislead them.
The business of bringing single people together to form relationships is not one that should be handled callously.