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Online Daters Sue Matchmaking Web Sites for Fraud 548

Posted by Zonk
from the bad-email dept.
BBCWatcher writes "According to Reuters, Match.com and Yahoo! are the subjects of separate class-action lawsuits from 'frustrated online daters.' Yahoo! Personals is accused of advertising fictitious profiles in order to make the service look more popular. In the Match.com case, 30-something professional Matthew Evans contends that Match.com sent a female employee as 'date bait,' hoping he'd tell others about the attractive women they could meet. 'The relationship went nowhere, according to his suit,' which claims Match.com violated the RICO Act."
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Online Daters Sue Matchmaking Web Sites for Fraud

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  • Wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:30PM (#14076847)
    So now you can sue when a girl doesn't like you?
  • Ironic! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:31PM (#14076848)
    If the allegations are correct, at least somebody will get screwed.
    • Aspect are true (Score:3, Informative)

      by Weezul (52464)
      He might be wrong if the girl was just seeking attention. Dating sites are a venue of choice for women who just want attention, but arn't tech savvy or honest enough to be a cam whore. If you wanted to design a really effective online dating site, you'd simply make one where women had to initiate communication. It's got lots of advantages for the girls, as it locks guys into fewer choice.. and it helps ensure that the girls are serious for the guys. OTOH, Why bother making a better online dating site?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If they can afford to send employees out on dates they must be charging way too much.
  • by rookworm (822550) <horace7945@@@yahoo...ca> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:33PM (#14076864)
    Revenge of the Nerds
    • Re:We should call it (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:26PM (#14077775) Homepage
      I had a cough cough "friend" cough cough who tried two of these sites. We'll just call the Hatch and Rahoo. Anyhow, this "friend" would get emails back that said "hey, if you want to see me naked visit this other site LINK."
      I have, er, my friend has noticed that whenevr his subsciption was about to expire he would suddenly get a ton of "winks" or "flirts" that you have to subscibe to reply to. Could be a coincidence
      If you are using these sites, my "friend" would give this advice- when you see a 20 y/o female who is seeking men 18-45 they are usually a fake profile (Not from the provider necessarily, but these "women" usually reply back with a link to their paysite.)
      The worst offenders, not that I would know, are the companies that advertise on porn sites. They have nude pics come up of women in the "next town over" or your town (you get these if they know your ip and can tell where you are) and you just know that there aren't 50 nubile young 18-25 y/o women in these towns looking for no strings sex on the net.
      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @09:32PM (#14078900)
        The worst offenders, not that I would know, are the companies that advertise on porn sites. They have nude pics come up of women in the "next town over" or your town (you get these if they know your ip and can tell where you are) and you just know that there aren't 50 nubile young 18-25 y/o women in these towns looking for no strings sex on the net.

        "Adult Friend Finder" -- they must do an IP lookup to target the ads, so I, living in Hong Kong, see all these ads with the captions "Hot woman in Beijing/Shanghai/Urumqi wants to meet you". Strangely, all these Chinese women are skanky blondes (usually depicted naked with their legs spread).

  • Obviously Fraudulent (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I signed up for a Mate1 account, and suddenly I'm getting emails every day from 18 year olds in all the states of the union who want to chat with me (I'm 34). But you have to pay to even look at mail sent to you. Obviously fraudulent.
  • Plausible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daigu (111684) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:37PM (#14076883) Journal

    Match.com has millions of people on the service. In order for this to be a policy, what size work force would they need to create positive word of mouth? Further, would people say positive things if they dated someone for a time or two and then never heard from them again - or were strung along? Please. I'm not buying it. Sounds like someone pissed off that his fairy tale fantasy didn't come true.

    • Re:Plausible? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JPriest (547211)
      Sometimes you have to wonder why any decent attractive woman in her right mind would ever create a profile on one of those things. It is possible that some of the profiles are fake to convince people to actually sign up for the service. Sending employees out to date people would be expensive, but just creating fake profiles or sending email from one of the fake profiles just before someone is about to let their account expire would not be.
      • by tinrobot (314936) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:17PM (#14077108)
        I met my girlfriend on Match. She's very attractive, but more importantly, she's very smart and drop dead hilarious.

        I've met a lot of other attractive women on Match as well. I'm sure those women could just go to bars and find guys, but they chose Match instead. Perhaps because a lot of guys who hit on women in bars tend to be jerks (at least that's what I've been told.) The ones I've met use Match as a screening service to weed out the jerks.
        • by drsquare (530038) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:43PM (#14077222)
          Note: the above post is a shill.

          This happens every time Slashdot has a post on this topic, someone posts articulartly saying how much success they've had with the service, the timing is very convenient.
          • by MikeURL (890801) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:38PM (#14077526) Journal
            no no no man, it DOES happen. Some women do actually find using a dating website to make some sense (or maybe even a lot of sense). The problem is that a lot of the women on these sites are on there because everyone in their local circle knows they are total headcases. So it isn't all that hard to meet a headcase or two and decide all women looking online are whackjobs.

            Personally I do think that it works out something like this:

            You'll never see the top desirable women on these sites. They have way more opportunities than they know what to do with already.

            Below that tier you'll find quite a few older women who were passed up, for whatever reason, the first time around in the dating pool. So they decided to widen the net and include online, for the most part they are normal women.

            Below that there are the women who are really unable to find a date because they have proven to everyone in their local circles that they are insane.

            Added into this mix are really young women, teens, who have been online their whole life so this does not seem at all unusual. You may see all tiers in this age group posting profiles online.
          • by HardCase (14757) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:43PM (#14077557)
            I met my wife on Yahoo Personals. All I ever met on Match.com were totally whacked out women. Pretty, yes, but psychotic. I'm psychotic enough - I don't need the competition.

            -h-
          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday November 21, 2005 @06:38AM (#14080634)
            I met my girlfriend on Match.com as well, and we're getting married next month. I'm a longtime Slashdot user too, so check my history if you don't believe me.

            However, my adventures in online dating were not short, and not without lots of stories to tell. Even after dating my current gf for two years, I still manage to surprise her sometimes with stories of bad dates that I guess I hadn't told her before.

            I mainly used 3 services: Yahoo personals, Matchmaker.com, and Match.com. Yahoo was the absolute worst. It had a lot of people, but at least half of the women there were fake. After reading about these lawsuits, I'm really hoping that Yahoo gets screwed over because they were the most blatant, in that, even if they weren't the ones putting up all the fake ads, they certainly had to know about them, and didn't do nearly enough to curtail them.

            Matchmaker.com was actually pretty decent, and was good in that it had a really long questionnaire that, while it was a pain to fill out, was really good for learning about other people. Other dating sites just had a text box saying "write about yourself here:", which isn't very good if you're not the type who's good about writing about oneself. The problem with Matchmaker was that they just didn't have many women on it, so it was easy to exhaust the supply in short order.

            Match.com's main advantage was size: it had lots of people, and consequently a decent number of women. It also didn't have all the fake people Yahoo had (though the employees posing as customers I can't speak to, as I never encountered that to my knowledge). Otherwise, it was pretty mediocre as far as how the site was set up.

            Interestingly, I had been doing the online dating thing for about two years when I met my current g/f, and I was so sick of it that I was about to cancel my memberships and take a vacation from it. I had a lot of email exchanges and a lot of dates (and I usually don't date very much; women tell me I'm very attractive, but I'm just not very social, and I really hate bars and the other primary ways 20-something people seem to use to meet, plus I'm an engineer so of course there's no decent women in my workplace), but many women didn't look like their photos, many proved themselves to be freaks even before meeting in person, and many would just disappear after the first date.

            Of course, my experiences date from 2001-2003, so maybe things are a little different now, but it doesn't sound like it from what I'm reading here. My feeling is that online dating can be rather treacherous, but if you're not the type who can or wants to meet dates in bars or at work, there might not be many alternatives.
        • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:06PM (#14077362) Homepage Journal
          Or the more classic:

          "I have paid up for INSERT SITE HERE and have written to hundreds of thousands of girls and none of them get back to me. Funnily enough two days after my subscription expiring this really great looking girl was interested in meeting, but more importantly, she's very smart and has a good sense of humour . After some hesitation I think maybe this is the girl for me, so I sign up again. Unfortunately I must have waited too long, since her profile is no longer active."

          • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:30PM (#14077798) Homepage
            Arrgh- I get replies to my profile all the time. Maybe because I use a picture I scanned from an Abercrombie catalog, and I added 100K to my income.
            On a serious note, even the most unattractive person has a couple photos where the lighting is just right, their outfit flatters them and they look pretty good. So even with a real pic, yuo still may end up with a sea monkey.
    • Re:Plausible? (Score:5, Informative)

      by XorNand (517466) * on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:08PM (#14077061)
      Liquor companies regularly hire models to go into hot nightspots to consume their products as conspicuously as possible. Bating guys with fake dates isn't a whole lot different, they're both just forms of astroturfing.

      And not all people go on dates with the sole purpose of trying to locate their "soulmate". A lot of people, esp. young professionals who are very focused on their career, are simply looking for someone to have a good time with. e.g., the dates are about having fun, not interviewing perspective spouses.

      Also... Match.com is owned by Ticketbastard [ticketmaster.com]--I wouldn't put anything past them.
      • by BrynM (217883) *
        Match.com is owned by Ticketbastard [ticketmaster.com]--I wouldn't put anything past them.
        That's just asking for some bad surcharge jokes.
      • Re:Plausible? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Queer Boy (451309) *
        Abercrombie & Fitch managers are expected to go out to bars with staff (those who are of age) wearing Abercrombie & Fitch clothes after work. For the ones who are not of age, they are expected to go to the movies (which is where EVERYONE who is not 21 seems to be) wearing Abercrombie & Fitch clothing.

        I used to manage for A&F and this, along with how many "A" brand reps and managers you recruit, is how you get promoted within that company.

        It's totally believeable that a dating company wo

      • Re:Plausible? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JPriest (547211)
        I was in a club once near NYC.. I start talking to this hot latino chick and she asks me if I want to buy her a drink. OK, I can do that. So the bartender charges me $8 for her drink, and $28 for her tab.

        I didn't even have $36 extra dollars in my pocket and they didn't take plastic or have an ATM. Keep in mind that everything I drank all night was $3. The bar tender and the bouncer start getting in my face and sweating me to come up with the money. The people I came with (~15 people) came over to see what w

    • Re:Plausible? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dptalia (804960) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:14PM (#14077095) Homepage Journal
      Apparently this was an internal rumor for a while. Match.com and Ticketmaster.com are owned by the same company and it was "common knowledge" that ticketmaster people could pick up a little extra on the side doing extra curicular work for match.com.
      • by HungWeiLo (250320)
        it was "common knowledge" that ticketmaster people could pick up a little extra on the side doing extra curicular work for match.com.

        well, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for ticketmaster people to go on dates for money, I suppose...
      • Re:Plausible? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Capitalist1 (127579)
        I used to work for CitySearch, which was at one time the same company as Ticketmaster. I worked there for over three and a half years.

        The outbreaks of these articles were the first that I'd heard of this practice. It was not a rumor around the office, much less "common knowledge".

        In actual fact, the entire employee base of the umbrella corporation (InterActive Corp) was offered a free 6-month subscription to match.com as part of our inter-company perks. So, which company would likely have a higher represent
        • Re:Plausible? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dptalia (804960)
          I openly admit I haven't worked for any of those companies, but I have several friends who were programmers at ticketmaster. And they say it was well known that you could make extra money "dating" people on match.com.
  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:40PM (#14076890)
    Now, that's a stretch. The Feds have a hard enough time nailing mobsters on that. Even if that woman was employed by Match, it would just doubtless be a case of "our service is so wonderful even our employees use it." I can't imagine any female wasting an evening with some dweeb just to keep him from quitting their service. This whole lawsuit doesn't pass the giggle test.

    Maybe they should just offer the plaintiff an inflatable woman and tell him to go away.
    • If the allegations are true, do you really think she was doing it on her own time? Of course not! She was most likely getting paid. That could very well be why she was willing to do it.

      • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:56PM (#14076988)
        A lot of women frown on the negative connotations that go with that sort of thing, so unless they have hookers on the payrole I would find it very doubtful that a woman would agree to doing something like that, especially if they are getting paid as it puts them right down there if their general social group finds out.
        • by enjo13 (444114) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:59PM (#14077964) Homepage
          Oh yes.. because its so hard to find booth babes for the thousands of floor shows being held every week? Hooters seems to be having a hell of a time finding girls to work for them too.

          Fact is there are plenty of pretty women willing to make a living convincing men that they have a shot with them to sell a product.
        • by iq in binary (305246) <iq_in_binary@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:17PM (#14078373) Homepage
          I just got out of a relationship with a girl that was a part of the paid popular night life. Liquor promotions, Entertainment Sales, sensual massage, etc. etc..

          You'd be quite surprised what a woman relevates to whoring. I find that the general consensus among young women is that as long as they aren't getting paid for "Happy endings", they're working a legitimate job. Same goes for strippers, they don't feel as if they're whores, they think they're giving an audience what they want to see; nothing more. In this day and age, socially acceptable jobs and hobbies have come a long way. Used to be pen and paper games such as Dungeons&Dragons was the work of the devil, now it's for the most part widely accepted and even a curiosity for most people. Walking around downtown with tops off (bikini's replacing) used to be something only gangsters and mobsters do, now it's commonplace on hot days. Socially acceptable has come a long way and women are very keen to this.

          But on a more relative note, I myself use an online dating site and have found it to be quite worth my time. Have already met with several attractive and intelligent women, and am meeting with another tomorrow. Now here's something you'd never guess, alot of women are using sites such as Match.com to meet men for no strings attached sex. It varies between site to site, but women too these days are looking for NSA sex, and using the fact they're rarities to their advantage and boning only the most attractive guys they can find on the site. I've met a couple of these women and was surprised to see that they were actually quite attractive! Imagine the look on my face when they say "You ready to go fuck?"

          Personally, I promptly turned around and walked away, there's no way to know how many diseases they have if they had been on a romp with every attractive guy on the site. As I said, socially acceptable has changed in this day and age, and women are very keen to that fact.
    • Maybe they should just offer the plaintiff an inflatable woman and tell him to go away.

      In Southern California, most of the women are inflatable.

      At least parts of them are.

      • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:15PM (#14077101) Homepage
        Well that and well broiled.

        I'm socially inept. I'll admit that. But why do chicks hate it when I get a good gander at the chest when they're the ones wearing the skimpy cloth that barely covers them in the first place. I don't actually stare or follow but when sitting in a public place I make it my duty to check out the scene.

        Frankly, if you don't want to be treated as a meatbag wear something half-way dignified.

        Tom /SFL!
        • by jmt9581 (554192) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:38PM (#14078463) Homepage
          Don't send mixed messages. If you dress up in an outfit where half your ass is out of your skirt and your boobs are almost poping out of your tank top then expect for some guy to treat you like a whore. Now guys, that doesn't mean they are whores. But damn it's confusing.

          If I wore a police uniform and some guy came up asking me for help could I say "Hey! Just because I'm dressed as a policeman doesn't mean I am one." No man, that's just confusing. So next time you decided to dress up like a whore, just remember that you may not be a whore, but you're wearing a whore's uniform.

          (Paraphrased from a David Chappelle standup bit.)

  • *raises hand* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:40PM (#14076895) Homepage
    I've tried a one month subscription to match.com and Yahoo personals.

    Results weren't too bad, really. Met some friends.

    Anyway, on both accounts, when the time was about to expire, I got a message from someone that was way above average in terms of looks, with a great, detailed profile. Its a good thing I'm already used to dealing with cons like this (AIM/yahoo messenger spam to be precise) and I put in the 'why did you cancel?' field that I don't like to be scammed.
    • Myspace (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Paul Slocum (598127)
      My friends who are dating have tried Yahoo and some of the pay services, and they say Myspace [myspace.com] works much better. It's free, and it's cool that it's kinda centered around music. For me at least, finding someone with similar taste in music is at least a good starting point.

      I use Myspace to promote my band, and there are a ton of hot chicks that are on my band's friend list. But my girlfriend is the other member of my band, so it's kind of a catch 22. ;o)
      • Re:Myspace (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rubberbando (784342)
        Myspace sucks! For the first month or so since I signed up, my 'myspace' mailbox keeps getting spam from porn sites acting acting like they are actual women interested in me based on my profile info or my picture when I havent even entered any info about myself in my profile, let alone a picture.
    • Don't worry. http://www.okcupid.com/ [okcupid.com] have that covered. Free too.

       
  • by saskboy (600063) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:41PM (#14076898) Homepage Journal
    99% of the things you can pay for on the Internet are a scam if you don't get something tangible out of it that you can hold in your hands. And even then, there's things you can hold which are still a scam like drugs.

    Don't spend what you can't afford to lose.

    That being said though, I'm pissed off at Yahoo now, since I signed up for a month to try it out and was possibly scammed since someone had "messaged" me before I signed up, but never messaged after I contacted them back. Not even a note to blow me off, which I found strange, but figured she'd found someone else or my reply wasn't interesting. While I accepted that my shortlived subscription was just a Blind Date that was a bit expensive and failed, now I feel victimized too. There's no way to know if she was a Yahoo shill, or just some woman that didn't find me interesting. Either way it's not a happy outcome. There can't be too many happy online daters out there in cyberland today upon hearing this news.

    Fortunately I've since been tipped off to the existence of 100% free sites like http://www.craigslist.com/ [craigslist.com] and http://www.plentyoffish.com/ [plentyoffish.com] which don't require you to pay. Plenty of Fish makes their money from Google advertising instead of scamming people with fake people.
    • Free sites (Score:3, Interesting)

      There's also sites like OkCupid.com [okcupid.com], which is IMO the best in terms of fun features, and actual real profiles, unlike all other sites (no exceptions) where you have to pay, none of which I will name them here, since they don't deserve any advertising.

      Then there's meeting sites like MeetUp [meetup.com] where you can find groups of people with similar interests.

      General rule: don't waste your time and money on any paid sites, no matter how good the reviews (most likely written by the site staff) make them look.
      • Re:Free sites (Score:3, Interesting)

        by temojen (678985)
        OKCupid has serious shortcomings. They match only on personaliry profiles, and do not take into account more mundane considerations like smoking, or even what Country the person is from. I live within 100KM of an international boundary and am constyantly receiving emails about new signups across the border. I'd rather not have to get a passport to go on a blind date.

        PlentyOfFish I've had good experiences with. I only ever recieved 1 spam message, and that person's account was removed PDQ. I've been on dat
  • by phorm (591458) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:42PM (#14076903) Journal
    I have complaints from female friends that online dating sites will often retain the profiles despite them having removed their accounts (to inflate the number of purported users, I'd assume). On the other hand, many of the sites I've used (lavalife being the biggest, also one of the above accused) have enabled me to meet many 'real' people.

    For all those seeking, I would offer advice. Don't look for love on the internet. Look for people of similar interest to hang around with, if things work out it might go further. If you go expecting something more however, you'll probably seem way too needy and throw off a negetive vibe.
    • "Don't look for love on the internet."

      You're right. However, if you use it as a way of getting dates with down to Earth people that aren't your typical bar flies, it's a great tool. I met one girl on Yahoo Personals back in early 99 and we had a four and a half year relationship. I met a girl in December of 2003 and we lasted over a year and a half. Those two girls were unlike any I have ever met and chances are, I wouldn't have met them in real life. The first was a Physics and Astronomy double major an

  • by external400kdiskette (930221) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:44PM (#14076913)
    Whilst if the company is found to be guilty they should be punished I really hope this guy doesn't get a big payout personally, there is something sickening about society when you can sue your way to multi-million $ retirement through class-action suits because something stupid happened to you in life. I mean in any other era of society it would be laughed off but now yesterdays jokes can make todays millionairs while other people have to work for a living. I Really think this idiot should've just reported the sites to whatever advertising regulatory agencies there are and got on with his life... but that couldn't give him a chance to retire now could it!
  • by RonUSMC (823230) <RonUSMC AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:45PM (#14076916)
    I belong to Match.com here in Los Angeles and I liken it to shooting fish in a barrel. If you have a decent tech job and do not have the inclination to hide heads in the freezer or stroke a rabbit's paw and call it "my precious" you will score.

    The amount of decent looking people out there that just want someone that is 'normal' is dumbfounding. The majority of men in LA either have an ego that you need to help through a door or demands that even Stalin would shy away from. You also get your small bit of crazies, but I really enjoy those because it actually gives me a reason to blog.
  • I'm suprised. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mutewinter (688449) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:48PM (#14076931)
    I'm suprised Yahoo and Match are doing this. Its no secret that a lot of other big "adult" dating sites do this -- which I would have expected to land in legal trouble well before this. Not to mention the thousands of dating sites out there filled with fake profiles, or hundreds of foreign bride sites populated by flat out con artists (if you think losing $10 a month is a big deal, try getting conned out of thousands.) I know all of this, and I've never even used an online dating service or site once.

    There is no doubt Yahoo and Match have the money, and thats were the lawsuits go. Great, another case of "here is your $15 settlement payment and one free month of service, while we collect our $5 million lawyer fee from the defendent."
    • Re:I'm suprised. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Carewolf (581105)
      I don't know what you are refering to, but the Russian brides spam is actually real and not a scam. There is an amazing amount of beautyfull single women in Russia looking for decent men and a life outside Russia.
  • by Xarius (691264) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:53PM (#14076968) Homepage
    I'm talking not about the contents of the article, but the point at which society stopped dealing with personal issues and problems and instead desperately started seeking someone to blame, and ultimately, to sue. Is there a definitive point in history where we went from dealing with something, to trying to extort 'comfort money' from those that we deem responsible?

    People who sue in cases like this are trying to quantify something that can't be quantified, usually 'emotional damage'. Last time I checked, I couldn't produce a dollar amount for what I'm currently feeling, but as soon as someone with a lot of money seems to be responsible for my emotional state, I can pull a figure from the ether and claim that's the precise economical value of my pain.

    I realise this isn't much to do with the article, but it's starting to get beyond a joke. As far as I know lawsuits were originally intended as a way to recoup actual, tangible losses. Not as the new get rich quick scam.

    Disclaimer: I am British, but our country is getting just as bad as that of our neighbours to the west.
    • by buss_error (142273) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:32PM (#14077175) Homepage Journal
      I'm talking not about the contents of the article, but the point at which society stopped dealing with personal issues and problems and instead desperately started seeking someone to blame, and ultimately, to sue.

      I don't see anything wrong here. Someone committed fraud, they get sued. The difference between fraud and robbery is that a robber uses force, a fraudster uses persuasion, promising something without intent to deliver. No one ever says that muggers shouldn't be put in jail, so I don't understand what it is about fraud that people think should go unpunished.

      I don't know why people think suits are a way to shift blame. Sure, there are lots of silly suits out there, suing a neighbor for a too loud lawnmower and things, but suing Yahoo and Match over astro-dating and date bait is, in my opinion, fair game. And if they are guilty, they should get a whopping big judgement against them.


    • It happened when having money became more important than everything else.

      The "boomers" are starting to lose control, and they are fearful of the future (remember, this is the generation that essentially inherited everything - as opposed to "The Greatest Generation").

      The boomers have built-up that which they feel comfortable with through not too much effort and they want (understandably) to hold on to it. And society and business has adapted to their wants: 30 years ago, were there 15 vice-presidents in
  • Ob. jokes. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by btarval (874919) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:54PM (#14076975)
    So, why is this news for nerds? *rimshot*

    Ok, Ok, that was an easy one. Here's another that I heard of recently.

    Luddate: Someone you are going out with who does not understand your obsession with technology.

  • by intmainvoid (109559) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:56PM (#14076985)
    If they really are paying women to go on "dates", then they might be looking at charges a bit more sensational than fraud!
  • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:02PM (#14077028)
    Some of those singles in the class action suit should exchange phone numbers.
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:04PM (#14077036)
    I met a great girl on Match, and it's the best relationship I've ever had. I had to go through a lot of "coffee dates" and meet a lot of non-compatible women to get there. I don't think Match puts up fake profiles, but a lot of users do falsify information on that site, but then again, those people would lie about themselves in the real world as well.

    I think where people go wrong is that they expect way too much. They just look at the photos and only email the women who put up the hot bikini shots... then supidly expect a reply. Every other guy on the system emails the girl with hot bikini shot, so your chances are pretty slim. Stick to women who are more your speed and you'll do just fine.

    If you go into it with lower expectations and take the time to actually read the profiles rather than look at the pictures, you can meet some very nice people. I know I have.
    • Heh. "Stick to the ugly women," "Lower your expectations" ... you must be great with the ladies yourself. You're so flattering and smooth. "Hey baby. All the bikini girls are taken, but I've lowered my expectations, so... how about a drink?"
  • Fraud? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malraid (592373) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:10PM (#14077071)
    If the girl was a Match employee, then that would be more like an escort service almost, wouldn't it? How much does an escort cost? How much did he pay at the dating site? This guy shouldn't complain, he got A GREAT BARGAIN !!!
    • Re:Fraud? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheHawke (237817)
      Mod parent up. RICO statutes actually DO apply agianst the so-called "escort" services. What Match.com and yahoo.com is doing, the regulations do swing agianst them in favor of the plaintiff.

      They really need to be more careful about that kind of stuff.
  • by xoundmind (932373) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:15PM (#14077097)
    idea for the /. crowd.

    Why don't you single folks set up you OWN site:

    dating.slashdot.org comes to mind. Imagine the fierce competition for any woman who dared post herself on it.

    I'm not kidding about this either.
  • by Wiseleo (15092) * on Sunday November 20, 2005 @03:41PM (#14077210) Homepage
    Hmm let's see.

    Started off with IRC on Undernet and a few flirts. Met my first love on Playsite whom we have never exchange pictures with over the course of two years, which made meeting her at the airport a little difficult (meet the flight, estimate whom she might be based on age group/ethnicity etc). Met a few girls on Yahoo!, SocialNet, and Match.

    Interestingly, those whom I've dated tended to match me on more than one site. For instance, one girl was at the top of my list across two e-mail newsletters. She later showed me her inbox where I was at #4 spot in both. That was a surreal experience, but we did have very fun times. Some of the girls I've met would be considered out of my league if I'd approached them offline. One flat out told me that I'd see her distinctly different from a block away and was right about that.

    I guess my profile was sufficiently different not to match your typical fake ads.

    With all this online dating experience, I find it ironic that eventually I found my wife offline. :-)
  • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:01PM (#14077315) Homepage
    Women date YOU!!
  • by lhaeh (463179) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:14PM (#14077395)
    I didn't end up doing it, but yes, its definitely something that goes on. They didn't tell me which site(s) it was for during the interview, but i suppose I could find out. Our job was to make up fake profiles of very horny people and post then. We were supposed to chat with people as well since the site also had that function. Being interviewed for a job like that was one of the weirdest things I have ever done. One of the questions was "If your profile says that your a red head with big tits, and some guy sends you a message saying that he wants to eat you out, what do you say in reply? There were many people working there doing the same job, it was like a call centrer.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @04:24PM (#14077445) Journal
    Actually, I find this lawsuit interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I'm surprised it's taken so long to hear about such a thing. And second, it's interesting to note which companies are involved.

    Like some other people here, I've "dabbled" in meeting women online ever since the "glory days" of the BBS in the 80's. Back in the BBS era, you just didn't find many women online, period. I ran my own fairly popular BBS though - and when the odd woman did call up and check it out, I found there was an extremely good chance she was going to be fairly compatible with me. I've never been into the dance club or bar scene, really. I always wanted a bit of a "geek girl" who would take it upon herself to learn a little about computers and technology - as opposed to the gals who claim an interest, but it's all based only on what previous boyfriends taught/told them. And she'd have to be above-average intelligence, with an interest in both reading and writing, and not shy away from the occasional good/heated debate. That would usually describe the type of female would would venture into the world of the BBS in the mid to late 80's. So I actually had a little bit of success way back then.

    When the net became popular, I got into IRC chat and had quite a few dates (and even more new friends) from that. Sites like Match.com appeared somewhere in the middle of all that, but I never paid any attention to them. I couldn't see the need, when it was possible to meet people for free just by having online chat conversations. But instant messengers really took their toll on IRC, making the "city-based channels" on big networks like EFNet or Undernet sort of a "thing of the past". No longer did you have 40 or 50 locals congregating in a channel named after where you lived, all trying to organize a "get-together" for the weekened. Instead, people just put their closest friends in a "buddy list" and chatted with them one-on-one, giving up on IRC.

    Considering my current situation (divorced and raising a 3 year old kid pretty much by myself) - traditional dating isn't much of an option for me these days. So I took another look at the idea of "online dating". It seems to me there are people raking in serious money on "dating sites" that are almost complete scams - such as anything "adult friend-finder" related. I would think THEY need to be sued long before Match.com. It seems they fill their sites with fake profiles and photos of women, just to reel in suckers who think the site is filled with women they'd really like to meet. Once they pay for their 6 month membersihp or whatever, they're stuck writing to people with non-existant email addresses, or who mysteriously keep ignoring them.

    I tried Yahoo personals real briedly, because I supposedly got a "free month" with them as part of my SBC Yahoo Internet package. But I cancelled after the first week, due to an utter lack of interesting women in my city on there. They proceeded to bill me for the month anyway. (Gee, thanks Yahoo!)

    I had a little bit of luck on Craigslist actually, where they let you post free personals. Only problem is, Craigslist seems to be unusually full of singles who act interested, correspond with people daily for a while, and then just vanish. (Both men and women complain about that on there quite a bit.) I think a lot of people just don't take it very seriously since it's free. They're just "fishing" for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect and if you're 80% of what they'd ideally like but not 100%, they "throw you back in the water" and try again.

    I think okcupid.com is pretty cool too. But I haven't yet met a woman from it. (There's one gal who emailed me a couple times just to talk politics, since we had that in common... but no interest in actually meeting.) I'm just impressed with how it does the "compatibility scores" and testing, and offers so much for free. It seems like it's *got* to work for somebody.

    The only service I actually paid anything for was Lavalife, and I'd say it was another waste of money.
  • by Cruciform (42896) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:17PM (#14077733) Homepage
    A few years back I met someone who worked at one of the largest dating sites, and they mentioned that a lot of employees create false profiles in order to fulfill the requirements of people they want to bone.

    Apparently some of them have a great deal of success.

    It could definitely be considered a perk of the job.
  • by teneighty (671401) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:28PM (#14077789)

    The online dating industry is notorious for planting fake profiles, but I would be genuinely surprised if Match.com is one of the offenders -- I have used match.com before, and the only fake profiles I have seen came from the users themselves.

    The worst and most incredibly blantant offender that I'm aware of is FriendFinder and its affiliate sites (run by Andew Conru). I can't believe they haven't been shutdown long ago. Some of the things that company does is breathtaking in its audacity - such as taking profiles of women that post looking for a normal date, and repurpose them into women "looking for bondage and sex with strangers". Someone is going to end up getting hurt because of this; I don't know about you, but I'm of the view they should be shutdown before this happens.

    The shady business practices of these guys is well documented - here's the first example [badbusinessbureau.com] that came up on Google.

  • by sdedeo (683762) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @06:39PM (#14078190) Homepage Journal
    I've done the online dating thing on Spring Street networks (those are the personals advertised through the Onion and the SF Chronicle; they also have a sort of "central" site, nerve.com.)

    People commenting here are right about a number of things. A large fraction of folks are "second time around" (I'm not.) There is a fraction of crazy people (none of whom I've met in person), and a fraction of insanely dull people (I mean, really, who would have thought you needed the internet to find the most boring person in the world.)

    If you are outside a major urban area, the majority of people are either older divorcées (40-50) or have some major problem that prevents them getting dates in the real world. In the cities -- especially places like New York or San Francisco, major magnets -- huge numbers of very cool twenty and thirty somethings are on them. You're post-college, you've moved to the big cheese to make it big in your urban professional job, and suddenly you know nobody and nobody knows you. You can either date colleagues (ugh), or you can go online. A lot of grad students do it as well.

    I'm not surprised the larger sites have had problems. It's hard to make money running a personals site. You have to attract women (and very few women pay anything to use them), and at the same time get the boys to cough up. Server costs, promotion, and maintenance add up very quickly. Springstreet was just sold to some other company which is actually incredibly sketchy, and they've had some issues (that seem to be clearing up, but it was bad for a month or so.)
  • by humankind (704050) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @09:22PM (#14078858) Journal
    I've dabbled with online dating since there was an "online". My first experience was on The Source when I started chatting with a customer service rep and we developed a rapport online. She eventually flew down to stay with me for a week, and later I went up and stayed with her in Virginia. We ended up being friends for many years.

    Since that time, I've tried most of the online services, in between dating women that I met out in public or through friends. I've had plenty of ups and downs. I even turned one experience into a published story on the "classified dating" scene when I set up an experiment, taking out five different classified ads, written in five different styles, and analyzed the results. It was quite amusing. I had a funny ad, a serious ad, a romantic ad, a sexy ad, etc., and I kept a diary and a spreadsheet of the women I met and my experiences. If you think men are "players", let me tell you I ran into plenty of women who "played" men. A common thing I discovered is how much women BS guys virtually. I was contacted by several women who responded to several of my ads at the same time, not knowing I was the same person, telling me, "your ad was the only one I responded to." Some women I met turned into really weird stalkers, while others were obviously looking for free meals and guys to pay for stuff and entertain them and had no intention of getting involved. Later when I started dabbling with match.com, yahoo.com, lavalife, matchmaker.com, salon personals, and others, I discovered that the same M.O. applies. I know some female friends who actively do the online stuff just to get a chance to go out to eat more often without paying.

    That's not to say I didn't have some positive experiences. I've met many great women through the online services, and many who are still great friends. I had a few serious relationships, but by far, the women I met online were generally much less emotionally stable than women in real life. This is probably due to the ease with which someone can pretend to be someone they're not online. But you find out soon enough. It's still very eye-opening to find out how totally psycho some of these women are. (I've heard similar stories from my female friends about men they've met too.)

    In the last 4-5 years I started to notice a pattern of diminishing returns from the online dating services. When sites like match.com initially were discovered by the mainstream, the quality of people online was much higher than it is now. I would not get involved in these services now, even just for fun because there's a lot more deception going on than there used to be. Yahoo is probably the worst in terms of bogus solicitations, but there are new breeds of sites that are inherently deceptive by their very design, such as eHarmony.com, which I think is probably one of the worst offenders, comparing their process to that of an impersonal "mate shopping spree" and structuring the process so there's no way you can get to know the other person (or even see what they look like!) without paying lots of money.

    After many years, I decided I would not participate in these mediums any more. Most of my friends also have lost faith. If there's one thing that the online sites teach you, it's that you're better off looking in real life. The only exception to this is if you're very antisocial -- in which case you'll find a plethora of equally antisocial people to mingle with, but you might not like the results. Usually we seek out people that compliment what we have to offer and a lot of the terminally insecure online personalities are looking for people to "save" them. Two needy people end up as a recipe for disaster. Take a cruise, go do something you like doing and look for people that are out there. Online is great for meeting new friends and stuff, but don't take it seriously, and don't believe what you read.
  • Not new :) (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aepervius (535155) on Monday November 21, 2005 @01:02AM (#14079603)
    I had a IT professor back in the end on 80's which had set up a minitel (*) chat room to "round the end of the month". The way he did it , was to hire some women, mostly 50+ "housewife", and then they chat under many personality. So sure he did have to pay them, and pay for his own connection, BUT since they chat with a lot of men and had "notice" about those, he did make some money. Not enough to be rich but enough for himself to live comfortably. He had to drop it later when traffic got low due to internet pick-up.

    (*) french telephon network with limited terminal capability
  • match worked for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by technopinion (469686) on Monday November 21, 2005 @08:03AM (#14080931)
    I found someone on match.com who I ended up marrying a year later. I did receive a few messages from various people looking for dates, although none that I had actually sent messages to (my wife signed up just so she could send me a message).

    One of the biggest problems people have on these sites is that their photos suck, and I mean really suck. For god's sake, use a good photo of yourself, not some party-picture candid shot with your ex's arm still in the picture around your waist.

    We got my sister-in-law to try lavalife, and jeez was she picky, just based on the tiny thumbnail photos. So guys, do yourself a favor and use a good picture. And just because a girl doesn't have a picture doesn't mean she's not hot - quite often the opposite. The hot girls get so many emails they often have to remove their pictures just to make it manageable.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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