Love in the Time of Algorithms

Online Dating Coaches Help Hapless Singles Meet Their Mates

Consultant Laurie Davis, client Chanel Omari, and fellow dating coach John Keegan. (Photo: instagram.com/eflirtexpert)

Michelle’s path through the world of online dating has been littered with frauds, phonies and disappointments. Take the cop who claimed he was on disability leave. On their first date, he let slip that his “leave” was actually a suspension, the result of charges that he had beaten an ex-girlfriend.

Then there was the runway model who claimed to divide his time between New York, Miami and Houston—“It’s always a red flag when there are multiple cities,” Michelle said with an eye roll—but couldn’t produce a single nonprofessional photo of himself. He had plenty of close-ups of his abs, though! That imposter turned out to have lifted his images from a Bloomingdale’s catalog.

And don’t even get her started on the innumerable married men who tried to court her online.  Read More

Love in the Time of Algorithms

Match.com Wants You Attention Grubbers to Compete for a Marriage Proposal Planner

Could these two be America's Next Top Proposers? (Photo courtesy Match.com)

For people who spend a lot of time online, it feels like you can’t swing a dead lolcat without hitting a viral marriage proposal video these days. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, though. People have delighted in watching strangers’ marriage themed home movies since the earliest days of America’s Funniest Videos. But with the advent of YouTube, you can catch the latest gushy, overblown wedding stunt on demand, whenever you please.

The digital cupids at Match.com have taken notice, and they’re running a contest for couples who met on their website. This is prime wedding proposal season, you see, with 39 percent of questions being popped from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, according to a release from Match. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Match.com Throws a Fancy Cocktail Party, Model Student Karlie Kloss Enters Codecademy

Match.com party favors. (Photo: Cosmopolitan/Twitter)

Match-dot-cocktail. Match.com held its annual cocktail party at site relationship expert Whitney Casey‘s opulent SoHo apartment on Wednesday night. The bar was wide open, finger foods were aplenty, and we got to chatting with CEO Sam Yagan about online dating in all its permutations.

Also a co-founder of OkCupid, Mr. Yagan is one of the entrepreneurs responsible for online dating as we know it. Midway through the evening, he addressed the crowd. He noted that his companies had worked mainly on “stigma-busting for the last 10 years,” and would now be turning their attention to mobile. Since Match.com is Tinder’s lead investor, Mr. Yagan is clearly ahead of the game. Read More

Going Viral

This Video Proves You Shouldn’t Date Someone With ‘a Friend at Match.com’

The end is nigh. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Online dating is responsible for a lot of successful, long-term unions–but as this video shows, it can also expedite the implosion process if your relationship is getting wobbly.

In “A Relationship in Five Minutes,” Autumn Stein and Matthew C. Flynn act out your typical hetero match-up in a single, impressive, five-minute take. It starts with the two of them meeting for the first time, then going on their first date. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Dell Said to Near Announcement for $23 Billion Buyout

Mr. Dell (Photo: Wikipedia)

Dell’s board of directors were said to vote last night on a $23 billion deal to take the company private, with private equity firm Silver Lake Management, Microsoft and company founder Michael Dell among the key players. [AllThingsD]

Competition between on-demand taxi service startups continues to simmer. Later this month, New York City will launch its pilot program for e-hailing yellow cabs. Meanwhile, Uber competitor Hailo is launching a subsidiary in Tokyo. [TechCrunch]

Nearly half of single women research prospective dates on Facebook before they meet, according to Match.com. Also in the survey, promiscuous sexters! Thirty-two percent of singles have sent a sext, while 51 percent of singles have received a sext, which by our math means some of you are sending more than your fair share.   [Mashable]

A group of Florida investors is hosting something called the “pitch house” at the Startup Conference next week. Sounds like a pilot. [Nibletz]

Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley, Chamath Palihapitiya of Social + Capital Partnership and SurveyMonkey’s Dave Goldberg talked Venture Capital and IPOs.  [Bloomberg Television]

Twitter is hiring engineers to beef up security after a recent hacking attempt. [Wired]

Law and Order

Woman Sues Match.com for Matching Her with a Murder Suspect Who Assaulted Her

(Photo: Weblo)

A woman in Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against online dating service Match.com after a man she had gone on a date with through the service brutally attacked her in 2010. Mary Kay Beckman is seeking $10 million in damages after her match, Wade Ridley, hid in her garage and then stabbed her ten times before kicking her in the head. Ms. Beckman has had to have several corrective surgeries following the attack. Read More

Love for Sale

Is Your Dating Site Selling Your Profile? To Keep Membership High, Niche Sites Get Sly

dating profiles

Angela is a 34-year-old single woman from Alabama. She’s a Leo. According to her online dating profile, she is 5’8” with blue eyes and dark brown hair. “I am a creative, witty, intelligent girl looking for someone to shower with all my love and affection!” she declares, appending a smiley face.

Angela was included in a 1,000-pack of allegedly single, supposedly American women, which Betabeat purchased for $35. Her profile is one of a purported 14.9 million for sale on SaleDatingProfiles.com, where the inventory also includes 10,000 U.K. profiles for $200; 15,000 Russians for $240, and 70,000 Australians for $95. A pack of 2,500 lesbian profiles goes for $120, or 4.8 cents apiece; gay men are .003 cents each and are sold in a pack of 410,000. “High quality Gays adult dating profiles for sale with multiplay photos located in USA, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries,” the offer states. At the time of writing, SaleDatingProfiles was having a 75-percent-off spring sale.

Angela, who asked that her last name be withheld, has been dating online for years. But she never imagined her profile was for sale on the open market, or that it now appears on MeetGirlsGuys.com, which she never signed up for. “I have never even heard of that site!” she said, adding that she lives in Texas, not Alabama, and the photo is at least seven years old.

Online dating is a fast-growing industry, with current revenues estimated to run between $1.5 and $3 billion a year. But every new dating site faces the same problem: finding souls to mate. Recruiting new customers is expensive; industry experts put the customer acquisition price at $1 to $5 per person.

SaleDatingProfiles and its competitors BuyProfiles.com and DatingProfilesSale.com offer a shortcut. They sell bulk packages of profiles that seem to include a fair number of actual singles alongside somewhat more questionable Russian beauties, Nigerian bankers and half-empty profiles, which sometimes sell for less than a dime a dozen. Read More