- Adult webcam spammers - bots that engage people in conversation to make them click on links to webcam sites.
- A bot that tries to direct people to mobile games and adult sites.
- Fake prostitution profiles.
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 16 - Local government holds social 'machikon' events to introduce people to each other. Machikon take place in cafes and restaurants and are small festivals: the streets are closed to traffic, and participants pay a fee of £15 to £35. In return they get unlimited food and drink. The idea is that people talk and form relationships. According to the Japan Machikon Producers Organisation local government affiliates have organised 59 machikon events since 2012.
by Aya Homei
See full article at The Guardian
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 7 - Ukraine's internet romance industry is booming, despite the unrest. Odessa is the biggest hub. There are legions of western men in town meeting with young women they have met online. Anastasia International is one of the companies organizing romance tours to Odessa. Men pay for every minute they chat online to a woman and ~$5K for a week in Odessa hoping to find a wife. Many of the men on the tour are patently unrealistic. The majority of them fall victim to a number of sophisticated scams. Anastasia International, while not directly colluding in the scams, runs a highly profitable business model (annual projected revenue of $140M) that allows them to flourish. The company insists that it weeds out scams whenever it finds them, and has banned some women from the site. It also says it will reimburse clients who fall victims to scams, and provides advice on how to avoid them.
THE GUARDIAN - Mar 23 - Dattch, the free UK-based lesbian dating app has just launched in the US. It faces competition from Brenda, which is like Grindr for lesbians. Based on the Pinterest model, where users upload pictures of things they like, Dattch allows users to create a kind of personality mood board, making profiles much more revealing. A new member has to verify her account by linking it up to her Facebook page.
by Eleanor Margolis
See full article at The Guardian
THE GUARDIAN - Feb 24 - Originally launched in the US in Aug 2012, Tinder has since spread around the world. In the last 60 days, Tinder has added ~1M new users in the UK alone, according to co-founder and CMO Justin Mateen. He’s emphatic that Tinder is not a “hookup” app, but a social discovery platform, facilitating an introduction between two people. “Our research shows that ~6% of our users think it’s a hookup app, and early on that number was probably much bigger, so we’ve been working hard,” he says. For now, Tinder is free, although the company will introduce in-app purchases at some point in the future to start making money.
Once you've carved your niche with a creative brand identity, keep it core to all your communications.
THE GUARDIAN - Jan 17 - Tinder is the heterosexual version of Grindr or the modern blend of Hot Or Not. ~450M profiles are rated every day and membership is growing by 15% each week. Tinder is addictive. The average user is on it 11 minutes per day. With Tinder, the pretext is to hook-up, but the real pleasure is derived from the Tindering process.
THE GUARDIAN - Dec 26 - Justaskmeout.com is London's dating site for busy singles who don't have time for online dating. If users like someone, they just ask them out with one click. The site also provide members with free singles' events, date ideas and gift vouchers.
THE GUARDIAN - Dec 1 - Grouper dating site attempts to get users off the site as quickly as possible. The site has staff dedicated to matchmaking, picking which trios will work best together, pick the places where those dates will happen and then negotiate with the venue. The site has grown to its current size largely through word of mouth.
THE GUARDIAN - Aug 22 - Emmanuel Limal, the 43-year-old actor from France, was tired of meeting women who weren't ready to start a family. He set up Babyklar.nu, Baby-ready dating site. It functions like a normal dating site but every potential dater is asked to be honest about their wish to start a family soon. The response to the site has been overwhelming, he said. "We had 50 sign-ups an hour when we launched in June and I'm fully expecting the first Babyklar.nu baby by next summer." More men have signed up than women (53% to 47%).
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - FEB 7 - Online dating is now one of the most common ways to start a relationship. Jean-Claude Kaufmann in his new book Love Online reflects on what has happened to romantic relationships since the millennium. The landscape of dating has changed completely, he argues. We used to have yentas or parents to help us get married; now we have to fend for ourselves. Love isn't an eternal given – it evolves with societies." Behavioural economist Dan Ariely is researching online dating because it affects to offer a solution for a market that wasn't working very well. Oxford evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar will soon publish a book called The Science of Love and Betrayal, in which he wonders whether science can helps us with our romantic relationships. And one of France's greatest living philosophers, Alain Badiou, is poised to publish In Praise of Love, in which he argues that online dating sites destroy our most cherished romantic ideal, namely love. Online dating is, Ariely argues, unremittingly miserable. It turns out people are much more like wine. When you taste the wine, you could describe it, but it's not a very useful description. But you know if you like it or don't. Kaufmann argues that in the new world online dating the overwhelming idea is to have short, sharp engagements that involve minimal commitment and maximal pleasure. After a while, Kaufmann has found, those who use online dating sites become disillusioned. Everywhere on dating sites, Kaufmann finds people upset by the unsatisfactorily chilly sex dates that they have brokered. He also comes across online addicts who can't move from digital flirting to real dates. The disappointing experience of online dating is partly explained because we want conflicting things from it: love and sex, freedom and commitment, guilt-free sex without emotional entanglements and a tender cuddle.
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - Sep 28 - More than 200K people in Britain may have been conned by fraudsters posing as would-be romantic partners on dating sites, according a study by the universities of Leicester and Westminster, working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca). They found 2% of people surveyed personally knew someone who had experienced the crime. Victims tend to be middle-aged women. The faked romances can last for a long time – the longest the researchers heard of was five years.
Soca has compiled a list of tell-tale signs for people to look out for
- A distant location and/or a job in the military
- A fondness for Windows Messenger or similar applications
- A suspiciously attractive and/or rugged-looking photo
- A quick adoption of a pet name:
- A predisposition towards financial or other misfortunes
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - July 25 - The internet is changing the way society communicates, processes information and knowledge, and configures its relationship towards authority. Today, internet dating has become more or less accepted as a way of forming relationships.There has been little thought or comment on why matchmaking websites might be a bad thing per se. Online matchmaking is premised on the notion of making rational choices. Furthermore, the way dating websites calculate matches distorts the very core of interpersonal relations. Online seekers of partners and friends rely on computer calculations of a set of hard questions. There is little room (if any) for subtlety, deviance, or exploration.
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - June 20 - BeautifulPeople was meant to be a dating site exclusively for the use of "beautiful men and women", where members ruthlessly selected and excluded those who did not match their definitions of good looks. But last month when BeautifulPeople.com was attacked by a computer virus, some claim standards slipped and ~30K new members gained admittance. Now, in a move which has made those rejected "apoplectic" with rage, they have been unceremoniously booted off at a financial cost of ~$100,000 (£62,000) to the site's operators. The virus was quickly named Shrek. Shrek had affected the software that existing members use to rate prospective new entrants, allowing anyone to join.
by Rupert Neate
See full article at Guardian.co.uk
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - May 1 - "Online dating used to be something that people turned to when they were giving up on offline dating," says Sam Yagan, CEO and co-founder of OKCupid, a site that has the largest registered user-base of 18- to 34-year-olds in the US. "It is now a tool that people are turning to, to complement their offline dating." Research from the Oxford Internet Institute's "Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age" project corroborates Yagan's argument, reporting that 22.6% of current relationships in the UK began online. Yagan thinks relationships that come from online dating are more likely to stick: instead of settling for one person out of a pool of 200, he argues, you'll be assured that the one you've chosen out of two million is the best fit.
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - Feb 6 - Grindr, the mobile app that helps gay men track their nearest potential date, is launching a new service that will allow women to turn their mobiles into GPS-powered dating tools. Joel Simkhai, Grindr's founder, said he had received tens of thousands of requests from women asking for a straighter, female-friendly version of Grindr. Project X, which will be named in the next few weeks, will be very different to the gay version. "Proximity is less of a turn-on for women than it is for men," said Simkhai. "For gay men just the fact that there is someone 400ft away and gay is interesting." But the new app will incorporate specific features to appeal to women. "For a straight woman, a guy who is 400ft away from her? So what. It happens all the time. We have got to provide more," he said. "Grindr is very photo-centric. Women obviously want to see someone that they might find attractive, but they need to know more than that." FULL ARTICLE @ GUARDIAN.CO.UK
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - Nov 26 - VisitorsCafe is describing itself as "Chatroulette meets eHarmony". Morgan Hermand-Waiche, founder of VisitorsCafe, has concocted a sophisticated algorithm that matches people by demographic and interests. VisitorsCafe can be installed on any site.
Q: How do you make money?
A: We have a freemium revenue model where we can display targeted advertising and some tailored products requiring a subscription fee (ie, customised design, matching process integrated with the user base of the website, enhanced security features)."
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: VisitorsCafe connects people who don't know each other but who are like-minded, therefore creating meaningful interactions. The technology matches people based on both their demographics and their video chat behaviours (extravert, introvert, smiling or not)."
Q: What has been your biggest achievement so far?
A: Although we officially launched our public beta a couple of days ago, word of mouth brought us interest among site owners weeks ahead of the launch.
Q: What's your biggest challenge?
A: Mastering the art of video chat technology to make it easy to integrate for our users.
Q: Name your closest competitors
A: Chatroulette, Omegle, Woome, Camfrog
Q: Where do you want the company to be in five years?
A: I would ideally have succeeded into connecting numerous people within their online communities.
FULL ARTICLE @ GUARDIAN.CO.UK
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - Sep 22 - EasyDate acquires North American rival cupid.com in a deal worth £4.4m. EasyDate already operates cupid.com outside the US and will now take charge of its US and Canada operations – reversing a trend that has seen US sites such as eHarmony eye up the UK for acquisitions. FULL ARTICLE @ GUARDIAN.CO.UK
GUARDIAN.CO.UK - Aug 24 - eHarmony claims to be responsible for 542 weddings every day in America. eHarmony CEO Greg Waldorf hopes to repeat that trick in Britain, where eHarmony launched 18 months ago and aims to be market leader among paid matchmaking sites within the next two years. eHarmony says it has signed up a million registered users in 18 months. But the site faces a crowded market – according to Experian Hitwise, it ranks only 11th in traffic among UK dating sites, with 1.79% of visits. That compares to the free-of-charge market leader Plentyoffish, which accounted for 18% in July. FULL ARTICLE @ GUARDIAN.CO.UK