SOUTH JERSEY MAGAZINE - Feb 11 - Internet dating is not only more common; it’s also becoming the norm—no different than, say, meeting a partner at a bar or party. Kate Bilenki, PlentyOfFish.com’s “director of love,” revealed that her free site gets 1.8M hits from the Garden State on a monthly basis. A 2007 study eHarmony found that 19.4% of respondents met their spouse through the Internet, a 5.3% increase from 2005. “It’s time and money saving,” Bilenki says. ”With online dating, you don’t spend $50 on drinks or dinner or a movie.” There is also the advantage of finding people outside of the usual circle of friends, said Whitney Casey, relationship expert for Match.com. The other big draw is the enhanced comfort level that occurs when you take the “blind” out of “blind date. “You can pre-screen people pretty well before you meet them,” Bilenki says. “If you want tall dark and handsome, you can punch that into the search criteria and, voilà—there it is.” There are niche dating sites that can point you in the right direction such as TrekPassions, RepublicanSingles, VeggieConnection, DateAGolfer, WealthyMen and more.. FULL ARTICLE @ SOUTH JERSEY MAGAZINE
ABC NEWS -- May 15 -- Stephen Dent was perceived, above all, to be a family man. But behind closed doors, the multimillionaire was a "sugar daddy" and "slave master". Dent was the "nameless victim" in at least three sexual blackmail plots, paying out more than $200,000 to keep his online sex life secret. Greenwich police arrested Dawn and Christopher Jessop, a young couple with three children, in a hotel where Dent was making the final $50,000 in a $100,000 pay-off, according to police reports. Dating sites like Wealthymen.com, Sugardaddy.com, Establishedmen.com and others can be fertile ground for con artists who take advantage of men with deep pockets, like Dent. EstablishedMen.com does not allow the "money for sex element" that typifies many of the other sites, according to CEO Simone Dadoun-Cohen, banning girls from asking for an "allowance."However, he told ABCNews.com that "with any relationship service there is an inherent risk of deception between users which we cannot 100% control." FULL ARTICLE @ ABC NEWS
Online Personals Watch Weekly News Summary, May 11th, 2009
Site launches, BharatMatrimony expansion into new markets and religions, Userplane demise, CrazyBlindDate to be integrated into OkCupid, prison dating, Wealthy Men on reality TV.
NEW YORK POST -- Apr 30 -- On the premiere episode of "Real Housewives of New Jersey", divorced housewife Danielle Staub is seen planning to meet a man with whom she's had anonymous phone sex. Danielle met her potential boyfriend on Wealthymen.com, where her hook-up goes by the name "Guccilove." Wealthymen.com is for single gals who are looking to find men who make "over $100K a year," according to the site. FULL ARTICLE @ NEW YORK POST
This post also appears on FrequentFlirters.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- Jan 2 -- FarmersOnly.com, an online dating service that plays matchmaker for farmers with the credo, "City folks just don't get it." FarmersOnly has more than 80,000 members and takes credit for hundreds of relationships and at least 40 marriages, said Jerry Miller, an advertising executive from Ohio who came up with the idea two years ago.
The full article was originally published at Chicago Tribune, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: I was quoted in NY Times today saying JDate is the best example of a super successful niche dating site. FarmersOnly.com is another favorite. It's an amusing example of just how far niche dating is reaching, along with DateMyPet.com. The 'sugar daddy' sites such as SugarDaddyForMe.com and MllionaireMate.com and WealthyMen.com are also amusing examples. (Full Disclosure: I was Senior Marketing Manager at FriendFinder in 2003. WealthyMen.com is a client of Courtland Brooks).
PRESS RELEASE -- Nov 16 -- UK based single events company, SpeedDater, is launching Purple Sky Clubetquot (see Purple Sky Club) to introduce young girls to highly successful entrepreneurs and millionaires. The first event will be on Dec 7th. Girls have to apply by email with three recent photos. 50 girls will be chosen and invited to attend the party at the secret penthouse location.
The full article was originally published at Bourso News, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: Here's the rankings for the sugar daddy online dating category...
TECH CRUNCH -- Sep 10 -- ModelsHotel is an invitation-only social network for professional models. High-end advertisers are targeting the selective site, which has granted access to only 1,000 trendsetters. The year-old site, which offers standard social networking features, is trying to raise $1.5 million in venture capital. FULL ARTICLE @ TECH CRUNCH
Mark Brooks: Nice idea, nada traffic. Another spin on 'rich guys and cute dolls' niche dating that seems to be all the rage right now. I.e. WealthyMen.com, MillionaireMate.com, Cashcats.com, MillionaireFriends.com, also aSmallWorld.com.
BEST SYNDICATION -- Aug 25 -- Wealthymingle is another dating site that caters to the rich and beautiful. The website, which upholds very strict privacy and trust policies, screens all profiles and photographs and never reveals the full site name in credit card statements. FULL ARTICLE @ BEST SYNDICATION
Mark Brooks: Another one! Sheesh, everyone is jumping on the sugar daddy bandwagon. WealthyMen.com is the category leader.
CTV.CA -- July 30 -- SeekingArrangement.com (100,000 users) offers to facilitate relationships between an older and wealthy individual who gives a young person expensive gifts or financial assistance in return for friendship, intimacy or sex. "Sugar daddies" pay $35 a month to access profiles of "sugar babies" on the site. The sugar babies can join for free if they complete a profile and submit a photo. Diamond members pay $1,000 to have their wealth verified.
The full article was originally published at CTV, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: Sounds like a form of prostitution really. WealthyMen.com is the category leader.
SEATTLE PI -- July 20 -- Perhaps you've heard of Sugardaddie.com or wealthymen.com? They are exactly what they sound like: online dating sites for rich, successful men to meet hot, young trophy women. For women, there is something you are going to have to give up. But I also believe if both parties are clear on the arrangement, it's okay for rich older men to marry pretty young things for sex and obedience who are in turn marrying them for their money.
SEATTLE PI -- July 18 -- Darwin Dating is one of several new online sites devoted exclusively to beautiful people or hotties. Darwin Dating promises "online dating minus the ugly people." With Darwin Dating you can't officially join the fray until you're voted in by all the other beautiful people, a process they call (predictably enough), natural selection. And you can't be over 35. Yes, they were pretty, but they were also pretty full of themselves. FULL ARTICLE @ SEATTLE PI
PRESS RELEASE -- July 4 -- MillionaireCupid.com announces free membership for referral business. Normally, $29.95 a month, the service is now free for users who invite several people to join and they register. MillionaireCupid.com bills itself as "one of the first and most popular dating sites for wealthy and pretty singles." If offering free memberships to millionaires works, who knows how effective it could be for other sites?
The full article was originally published at Business Portal 24, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: Girls, would you want to go on a date with a millionaire who chose the free-to-join millionaire dating site? Ah, I get it, they're saving their money for more dates. Also see WealthyMen.com and SugarDaddyforMe.com. For the truly unavailable, there's always AshleyMadison.com.
OPW INTERVIEW -- May 21, 2007 -- This is the third of five feature interviews on the topic of scamming. Abe Smilowitz is COO of WealthyMen.com, Fling.com and Webdate.com. - Mark Brooks
What kind of scamming do you encounter across Fling.com and WebDate.com and WealthyMen.com?
Like with every other dating site, it’s an issue that we’re always combating. The two types of scamming that occur are end user scamming and webmaster scamming.
The end user scamming is usually individuals that are coming in primarily from foreign countries pretending to be either attractive women, primarily, or attractive men. They chat and email back and forth with individuals and gain their trust. Then they ask for money or favors or any sort of particulars, but it’s primarily money that they’re looking for.
We obviously try to combat those fraudulent users by having several self reporting tools on the site where other users can report scammers with fake pictures, people that have solicited them for money or solicited them to go to other sites and that sort of thing. We feel that the best method is having the users self report because when you’re doing thousands of sign ups a day it becomes very difficult to manually scan every single sign up and follow what they’re doing.
Some of them are actually quite good. They use authentic photos and they write a full profile or copy someone else’s profile and it seems like a real person. We have users also that work for us that are surfing the site and use the site themselves and chat with other users and kind of get a feel for it and some of them have actually been duped by some of the scammers. They’re chatting and they think that it’s an attractive young woman and they’re talking back and forth for a week and then she comes out with, “Oh I need $200 for my mother’s operation.”
I don’t know if there’s a fool proof way to get rid of them 100%. I think the best way to do it obviously is to have people actively monitor the site, use the site, have the users self report and have a no tolerance policy where if someone’s doing that, a moderator will go and check out the profile, check out the series of emails or chats that they’ve sent back and forth and if it’s found that they are partaking in that kind of activity, they’re automatically disabled and we disable their IP address if possible.
Have you noticed that the number of incidents of scamming increasing or is it level or declining?
I know that it has actually decreased on our site because once we figured out that this kind of activity was going on we’ve actively been pursuing it and monitoring it. We do various types of IP monitoring. We banned several countries from using the site. That’s really the best way to try and get rid of these guys. That in conjunction with moderators and active users reporting back to our customer service and letting them know, “Hey this particular person is a scammer,” or, ”this profile is a bad profile,“ and we go in and police it.
How serious of a problem do you think it is for the industry as a whole?
I don’t think it’s a problem that’s going to destroy the industry but I think that it’s definitely a problem and I think it’s going to continue to be a problem. The only real way to prevent it 100%, I guess, would be to set up some kind of police state where you would have the government run some kind of check on you to make sure you are who you are.
I think that it’s going to be a problem and I think the industry needs to do the best that they can to combat it. It would be good to have obviously some kind of sharing of information because I’m sure there’s other sites and other executives at sites that have figured out different methods of combating it. I’m sure I’ve thought of things that other people haven’t.
The pooling of ideas is always a good thing and would help the industry as a whole but I think it’s always going to exist on the sites and the best you can do is try to educate the users about it.
Anyone that’s asking you for money, you should really obviously never give them money unless you’ve met the person, you know the person and you feel comfortable doing that. But someone you don’t even know, you never met and you’ve just been chatting with them online for a week or so, I don’t think it would be a good idea to send them cash. I think a lot of this really comes down to the users level of responsibility and common sense about what they’re doing. I understand that some of these users are lonely and at weak points where they’re looking for someone to talk to.
It’s a difficult problem and I think the users need to be more aware of it and need to be a little more standoffish and never divulge financial information or give any money to anyone on a community site.
What can the industry do as a whole? Have you tried reaching out to other sites to share the IP addresses of scammers, for example?
No, I personally haven’t but I think that would be a good idea. I think it would need to come from an independent source. I don’t know that it would necessarily make sense for me as a site owner to go ahead and contact some of my competitors and go through that. I think that it would probably be more credible if it came from a third party independent source.
Do you know of any providers of such a service?
No, I don’t know of anyone that actually does that.
How high on the priority list should it be for the industry to try and eradicate scammers?
I think that it’s something that should be high on the priority list to heighten the credibility of our sites. You want to obviously give your users the best experience possible and you want the site to work for them. I mean, what are they going to your site for? They’re going there to meet another person and have either some kind of friendship or romantic relationship with another individual that meets the criteria of what they’re looking for. Your end goal is to achieve that for users. Obviously, when someone is tricked and cheated at their most vulnerable time, that’s not a good experience for users, and that’s not the type of reputation site owners want to have amongst users. So I think it’s a very important issue.