Thoughts on Match.com Fake Profile Lawsuit

By now most of you have heard about Match.com being sued for not removing inactive members in a timely manner (among other things like displaying fake profiles).

Looks like someone interviewed a bunch of ex-Match employees and contractors and figured out they had a case against Match. Lawyers performed “exhaustive analysis of thousands of fake, inactive and fraudulent profiles.”

Newsflash to lawyers: Of course there are thousands of fake and inactive profiles on Match. And Chemistry and eHarmony and Plentyofish and every other website out there. Just like there are thousands of scammer auctions on eBay, every single day.

Of all the dating sites out there, Match probably does the best job at removing fake profiles. Why? Match has built up a top-notch customer service team and the technology and infrastructure to support anti-fraud efforts. I would estimate that they have more anti-fraud stuff in place than almost any other dating site.

Ignorant/bitter singles and lawyers with dollar signs in their eyes, thats the extent of this lawsuit. Unless of course we’re missing something, one never knows.

Fake profiles are quite a different story than inactive members. I’ve written about dating sites leaving inactive profiles up too long for years. Lots of dating sites hide profiles after 6 months or so, depends on the site. Others leave them up forever.

A while back a top-10 dating site owner told me that their site’s code was 80% anti-fraud and the rest was the dating code. Thats a lot of security measures in place. And they are still not very effective.

Match is being singled out here because they are the Market leader and named in the lawsuit. this lawsuit could be brought against eHarmony, OKCupid, Plentyoffish, HowAboutWe or any of the other sites in the news lately. Lawyers won’t sue a free dating site, at least not the ones I’ve talked to. Pockets aren’t deep enough to justify the amount of work required to win the big money.

And what about Fling.com or AdultFriendFinder? Those are the fertile training grounds for spammers and scammers and chock-full of fake and inactive profiles.

People are generally ignorant about how scammers work on the Internet, and that fuels these kinds of allegations.  If a scammer/spammer is flooding Match with 10,000 fake profiles a day, those profiles are going to be live on the site for a certain period of time before members flag them. I don’t care how much technology or best practices are in place. There is some lag time before profiles are removed and it varies widely between sites.

Match certainly has upstream technology that looks at IP addresses, blacklists and other criteria for identifying potentially harmful accounts. To learn more about this, check out companies like iovation (disclaimer: I’m an official partner).

A dating site will use software that identifies reoccurring patterns like a specific IP address creating 1,000 profiles, so they block that IP address. Or they will see 25,000 profiles created with the exact same phrase in the profiles and block or delete them all.

But catching all fake profiles before they are released onto the site? Never gonna happen. This is similar to why your anti-virus software will never catch every instance of a bot net, trojan or virus. Scammers adjust their “attack vectors” to continuously outwit anti-fraud systems and the anti-virus vendors send out new updates continuously. why not sue them as well?

Years ago there was the Twizzler incident, where people found that thousands of Match profiles all contained a standard phrase about how much the person loved the candy Twizzlers. Obviously the works of spammers, the profiles were removed.

This goes on all day every day. Machines catch the majority of the scammers and Match members flag the rest. Crowdsourcing and technology is the only way to really get a site as spam-free as possible.

Problem is, some sites see the total number of profiles as paramount and are not willing to prune their membership database accordingly. Thats bad for business and the industry as a whole. The online dating industry is not exactly gung-ho about the phrase “rising tides raise all ships.” (Apologies to JFK for the paraphrasing).

Its easy for people to join lawsuits like this when the performance of the site is so closely tied to their personal well being. You are kind of weird, don’t communicate clearly, have a pervy vibe, a crap inauthentic profile and photos that look nothing like you and you only message 24 year old women. 50 of them a day, with the same weak come-on. You suck at online dating and now you blame the dating site. Shocker.

You are 45, divorced twice, have four kids and live in a trailer park. Guess what, spammers love you because you are vulnerable. They know they aren’t going to get anywhere with the hot Marketing VP at Fidelity making $150,000 that lives around the corner from me. She is not vulnerable. She is smart, she knows that a certain amount of scammers/spammers exist in every corner of the Internet. But like spam, its a numbers game, so they flood sites as best they can and the weakest of the herd fall for the scam.

Can Match do a lot better keeping their database clean of spammers and scammers?Absolutely, along with the rest of the dating industry and eBay and Craigslist and 100 other websites.

Here’s what Match need to do. It needs to stop this nonsense about having 20 million profiles. That is 100% bullsh*t, but the marketing machine has been spouting that number for years and it certainly can’t backpedal on the statistic now.

Its curious that this number hasn’t changed, especially with all of their international growth and acquisitions.

In recent years, Match acquired People Media and SinglesNet and didn’t attribute any of their members to this 20 millon profiles number. Now they are running dating on Yahoo and that didn’t even budge the total profiles number. Crazy.

Or, perhaps their churn rate is so absolutely unique that they always have 20 million profiles. Doubtful.

There is a whole discussion around defining active members vs. total # of members in the Match database. That is a much more interesting conversation to me than % of fake profiles on a site. Use the search box, we’ve talked about there here many times in the past.

ClassActionLawsuitsInTheNews has more information. Make sure to read the comments, especially the one by”Irked in Illinois”.

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Comments

  1. At this point, I’d love to find out if there are any updates on the suit.

  2. Match.com oh here is a really attractive pic of women probably 10000 of guys have tried to contact her, she hasn’t been on in 3 months.

    and that goes for every other scam on the site. It’s marketing it’s getting the dogs in to pay the money then try and fish with out success.

    I had so many damn women try and get me to pay for there online shows? the women are only there to advertise there web shows.

    Honestly most of the people and the place are a scam.

    • You know, you are right. There are so many fake profiles on match.com that I think owners of the website create them themselves in order to entertain and attract more members. On the other hand, I have noticed that many men on the site live in unrealistic world. I have seen ugly, unfit old guys who want no less than a 25-35 year old beauty, slender, toned, witty, educated, interesting,,, you name it. They have to look at themselves in the mirror before desiring all of this. No wonder, they are divorced, separated or never married, pathetic loosers.

      • Advertising has taken a turn for the worst. As a college graduate, I find it appalling that companies like the listed above (Match, Fling and the rest of them) are so “hell bent on making money” at everyones expense, that they employ spammers to send emails with “sexy photos” to get the receiver to check out a web based dating site.

        Not everyone in the world is a “scum bag”, and not everyone in the world that has been deceived by the practices that are now in place by these types of companies that have such little respect for potential customers that are real people, that these customers may be lonely or whatever, and have no regard or concern for any of these people still promote tens “lets scam” and take all that we can attitude before the silent majority stands up and says “we will not allow this type of business to continue. We will not dilly sit by and let it happen to others. These businesses need to clean up their act, be responsible or get the hell out of this country. I am not an advocate of government control as that always leads to laws that are written by idiots and are enforced by idiots and the end result is waste of hard earned tax payer dollars. Fraud is illegal / theft is illegal / misuse of secure information is illegal. We need to put a stop to they type of business activity once and for all.

      • I firmly believe that match.com pays or somehow works with employees to keep accounts live to talk to people only for so long before the exchange of a number or meeting up.

        I have talked to numerous girls all going great for a few days. Until its time to meet, then it is like I have never talked to them before. They are gone with the wind. Either these profiles are fake or they just think that I am creepy. LOL

      • No wonder they are “divorced, separated, or never married?”

        I guess genevieve would rather look at profiles of married guys. ;)

      • So true. I am a matchmaker and the guys all want younger, slender and toned, no matter how old or what they look like. Certainly a challenge for me. It is a curse on all men, they can’t get over their “visual nature.”

  3. Steven,

    Can I ask you a dumb question. Do you think that Match.com actually makes money from those scammers — i.e. the women that are trying to do these cam shows and get you to pay for them? The simple answer is no. The other answer is that not only doesn’t Match get paid, it’s probably against their terms of service. Have you thought about reporting those members?

    It’s funny… I was on Match and other sites on and off for almost 10 years before meeting my wife. I had first dates with over 400 women during that time period.

    Look, I’m not saying that I agree with their membership model of paid members being the only ones to send or receive emails. I’m also not saying that I agree with the way that other “freemium” sites hide who is or isn’t a paid member.

    But having met hundreds on Match, JDate, Lavalife and other sites, I can tell you there are real people on those sites. In addition to the 400 that I went out on dates with, I also interviewed over 1000 singles face to face about their issues with online dating.

    So, yes, the freemium sites need to clean up their acts A LOT, but I think you’re mistaking things that the sites themselves do wrong with things that people who sign up for the site do wrong.

    • Steven, you are probably lying about those 400 and that you were on the dating site for 10 years. Hard to believe. Does not make much sense. Are you a scammer perhaps?

      • Genevieve,
        One, get my name right please, it’s right above the post that you maligned. I was one of the first members of match.com in 1995. Match launched by giving away 60,000 free accounts for life. I received one of those accounts. Additionally, I was one of the early members on JDate, and also tried out about a dozen sites. I was serious about meeting people, and put effort into it.

        Most people think you create a blah profile on a site, and put up a crappy picture and you’re going to get hits. What they don’t know is that people can search for things like how long it’s been since your last login. Some sites also promote people with newer profiles. Years ago, just updating a photo on JDate put your profile to the top of the search results. Doing things like that and actually “working” the online dating site the way you would a job hunt is what got me the results I had. I’m not saying that I had a good percentage (i.e. emails sent to dates), but the point was, I never stopped trying.

        Oh, and I’ve actually met Mr. David Evans that runs the site. He knows my story… and I think I’ve even bored him with a few of the photos from my wedding … to a woman I met on a dating site. I’ve also counseled hundreds on their online dating through my twitter feed. So, I don’t know who the heck you are — but I’m no scammer.

      • The wording of the Ross Felix comments is identitcal from those who use to scam the internet.

    • jim selchert says:

      They do however make money from using fake profiles to get people to pay for their site…..that’s what needs to stop

  4. I’m tired just thinking about 400 dates. Like 40 First Dates times 10.

  5. Dave:

    You’re tired about thinking about it — what do you think it was like to pay for them :) The end of the story is, I did meet my incredible wife… and that’s truly made the rest worth it, and there’s no way I would have met her face to face.

    Now, that doesn’t mean the sites made it easy for me. In fact, I often say that I met her IN SPITE of the sites as opposed to because of them… but the end result remains the same.

  6. Right on Ross. Dating sites are categorically terrible at giving singles any sort of guidance past the bleach-blonde 50-something “I was sexy once” Dating Guru writing for their magazine. Cliche I know, but after reading lukewarm recycled Tips and Hints junk for so many years, its no wonder single people today are so lost when it comes to online dating. Same repackaged crap recycled year in and out, sigh.

    The advice sucks, the matching systems aren’t very good, basically everything is stacked against the people paying to meet someone online. And yet we pay, every month, because as someone told me many years ago, dating sites are simply selling hope.

    Interactive guidance is where its at. You do something good that earns you more exposure, higher search ranking, a shiny yellow star, etc. You screw up, you get demoted until you exhibit better behavior. This is way over the pay grade of most dating industry executives, who are tasked with reducing customer churn, acquisition costs and lifetime customer value.

    Should dating sites focus on improving matching systems or improve people? I’d rather see them help people first, which would make it a lot easier to match people.

    Ross, you are a stubborn son of a bitch and I applaude your Herculean dating efforts. Someday I want to meet your wife. I wonder what her dating story is compared to yours, I bet she was Match/JDate for a week and you were her first date ;-)

  7. “Do you think that Match.com actually makes money from those scammers — i.e. the women that are trying to do these cam shows and get you to pay for them? ”

    Of course they make money off it. Fake profiles encourage people to pay for a subscription so they can contact said fake profiles.

    Though I completely agree with the sentiment of the article; this is just lawyer parasites looking for the biggest teat to feed off of. There are dozens of dating sites that don’t have any real profiles at all; the ones pushed endlessly by spammers. The ones where you log in and it tells you there are 300 people in your area no matter where you’re at… but to see more you just have to pay! They’re downright criminal, the definition of fraud. But there is no money to bleed out of them…

    Match.com is one of the straightest and most legit out there. But, no one is immune to parasites. F’ck lawyers.

  8. This was the most truthful article I had ever read regarding Match.com and the lawsuite that was brought against them. I have no doubt that this lawsuite will be thrown out of court.

    The people that conjured up this crap obviously have nothing better to do with their time. Just another example of people not wanting to take responsibility for their own actions. I see profiles all day long of old guys thinking they have what it takes to pick up a young 20 something with daddy issues. News flash grandpa, you don’t have that much money, and your not that good looking!

    The women that allow themselves to get tricked into sending money to a person they never met. HELLO!!! don’t ya think thats blantly stupid and irresponsible of you! Yet they do it anyways, and then get pissed off at Match.com because they’re a complete moron. So not only are they still single, they’re poorer than when they started. I mean seriously people! I wouldn’t even loan my sister $5, let alone send thousands of dollars to someone i’ve never met!

    Bottom line is grow the F up, and take responsibility for your own actions. Realize that Match.com can’t help fat, ugly, and stupid. Stop thinking you’ve got what it takes to pick up someone that looks like Brad Pitt, or Halie Barry. Realize your limitations, and start shopping in the right section. And for God’s sake people use that thing between your ears as something more than an object to keep your head from caving in.

  9. This article is so biased! I have had Match.com make up fake profiles, have that person e-mail me so that I would subscribe and then they mysteriously delete their profile! I know they do it, no I can’t proof it, but I bet the x-employees could!

  10. Randal,

    That rant barely qualified as English. And what’s worse, is that your statement could be easily proven.

    If you, and the hundreds of other people like you, who seem to “know for a fact” that Match is doing this, got together, you’d have a case.

    Step 1: List the date that your membership expired.
    Step 2: List the date that you received the “fraudulent email”
    Step 3: List the date that you upgraded your membership
    Step 4: List the name of the user that emailed you and the content of the email with the date you attempted to contact the person.
    Step 5: List the result when you attempted to contact them (i.e. the profile no longer existed).

    This would be very easy to prove… but everyone has all of this supposed information and yet no one has bothered actually coming forth. This is a $450 million business. They don’t need to resort to these bush league tactics any more if they ever did.

    Want to complain about something? Complain about the ratio of paid to unpaid members on paid dating sites. That’s something VERY legitimate and is a plague within the industry.

    p.s. Dave, in response your prior comment — She was on the sites for less than 2 months total.

    • I agree with the complaint. My subscription has run out so my profile remains in unsubscribed status, which is ok with me because I thought one day I would try it again. The reason Match doesn’t mind promoting unsubscribed members is because they keep any interest, emails, etc…, that might be shown to my profile hidden so you cannot see if you are receiving an email from a spammer or a fake user. This makes you want to subscribe to see who might be interested. Once you subscribe, you realize you’ve received an email from a fake user asking for an email address. Zoosk allows you to see a picture and first email from a potential contact. Since spammers are typically removed within a few days, you can also determine if they are removed from the site. Typically, based on the boundaries Zoosk sets, you can determine whether you are being contacted by a fake or real user without re-subscribing. I’m not promoting Zoosk, I’m just pointing out the flaws at match that cost people money. This is the complaint with Match.com on this blog and my peeve with it… Match wants you to pay them but cannot guarantee an interest in your unsubscribed status is legitimate first. Email from Match, ‘Someone sent you an email’, pay us first, then will allow you to see if it’s from a fake user or not. Furthermore, don’t think they mind it or they would give you a money back guarantee or allow you to see this first. I would re-subscribe to Match if I knew someone interested was real or had a basic appearance of that. No site is perfect and all will have spammers/fakes/phishers. However, there are signs that will help users by allowing some of the boundaries allowed for unsubscribed profiles to be opened.

    • jim selchert says:

      It’s a $450 million dollar bussiness partially because of fraud….that’s the problem,don’t pretend this practice doesnt happen…..are you a web site employee?

  11. Looks like Match.com didn’t learn their lesson entirely. Tineye.com will let you search for copies of photos. I’ve found many profiles with photos that are in use elsewhere on the web and reported them. However, some are allowed to stay up despite numerous reports. Here’s a list https://sites.google.com/site/lartingyou/profiles-on-match-com-whose-photos-are-elsewhere

  12. From a match.com expert:

    I’ve used match.com off and on for 10 years. I’ve subscribed using my own profile, a fake female profile with pics, and a fake male profile with pics.

    I can tell you that match.com did nothing whatsoever to minimize my fake profiles. I’ve subscribed simultaneously under my own profile and the fake female profile–i.e. I used the same credit card so that i could send and receive emails of both profiles–and match.com did nothing to flush me out. They should know that my credit card was being used for separate profiles. They’re negligent at best, but I think they couldn’t care less. They just want money.

    As long as you’re shelling out $40.00 a month for memberships–it’s all good with match.com. And unfortunately it’s gonna take someone getting killed to shine the spotlight on match.com.

  13. If you want to know if you are dealing with a fraudulent profile there is a simple way. Create your own fraudulent profile and send interest to the suspect profile. If interest is returned you have confirmed the profile as a fraud. You will know your “winks” are legitimate if the only profile receiving winks back is your original. If both were winked back it is likely a fake trying to lure both into a subscription.

  14. At the end of the day they (MATCH) are a business (they want your money) It is false advertising to get you to sign up and it is wrong to not let you leave and dismantle your profile when you want. It looks like there is way more success and activity happening than there really is. It is not good business to MATCH you up and get you off of there. They will keep you hungry for more and the “next best thing”. the average person down the street is not so satifactory to the starving divorced individual who has such high hopes for the next go around. …and so you pay and continue to look because some great (fake) profiles are intreging and set a higher standard than you can really obtain.

  15. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY FAKE PROFILES!
    IT IS A BUSINESS & THEY WANT YOUR MONEY. THE MORE YOU STAY THE MORE MONEY THEY GET. WHAT IS REALLY DISTURBING IS YOU CAN BE HAVING DIALOGUE AND EMAILS WITH AN EMPLOYEE OR CONTRACTED PERSON HIDING BEHIND A PROFILE. Maybe not even the sex (male/female) you expect!SOME EX- EMPLOEES HAVE COME FORWARD. SOME ARE TOO FEARFUL. KINDA CREEPY REALLY.

  16. I think they have fake pofiles cause I have joined a couple times. and both times when my sub expired I always seem to get emailed by someone.. and winks but when my sub is active I don’t get as much response from women.

    It also suck that if you get emailed you have to join to read it.. I could be emailing non subs and getting no response cause thay have not joined. I can understand having to pay to send an email but if someone emails me or I pay and email someone they should be able to email back. My sub just ended a couple days ago now I have a email and wink.. after send multiple emails during my sub period with no response..
    +
    Oh well I refuse to join to read those emails I paln on deleteing my profile and pics

  17. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again.

    If you guys are so convinced that Match is a scam, stop hiding on a bulletin board and hire an attorney. Match has millions of dollars. Instead of whining that you can’t find a date, you’ll be able to hire matchmakers to find them for you. At that point you’ll be able to hire http://pattistanger.net/.

    Here’s the biggest issue that I see. Users don’t bother promoting their own accounts. Well, I would imagine that dating sites might promote users who’s accounts just expired. Why? They know you’re willing to pay for the site, and they know you’re not a stale account. However, considering these sites are often 80% unpaid members and 20% paid members — the following issues could occur.
    1) Your unpaid account gets promoted — and someone with an unpaid account winks you. Well, you log back in, and pay to email her. Well, her account is an unpaid account so she can’t reply… so you think her account is fake.

    Is that a fake account? Nope. Is what just occurred ethical? That’s questionable. The real issue here remains not about fake accounts vs. real accounts, but the whole issue of paid sites that have both paid and unpaid members. I think that’s the dirtiest issue in the industry. Look at the financial statements from Match and Spark Networks, for example, and then compare the paid members to the advertisements and you can do the math.

    2) You joined a dating site and paid for the account. You never changed your profile, you rarely logged in and you rarely searched for dates, and emailed two woman. Now your membership is over and you’re getting emails. That’s because the site did more to promote your profile after you left than you bothered to while you were on the site.

    If you are going to join a dating site — you need to work it like you’d work Monster.com. You put up a killer profile, you change it if it isn’t working for you, you constantly search, log in daily, and contact everyone in whom you’re interested. Oh… and write a proper “cover letter” — not just “hey, you’re cute, let’s go out.” Otherwise, real, fake, scam, legit, you deserve the zero results you get.

    • Hey Ross Felix, I agree with you. While I can sympathize with those who have spent $ on a dating site becoming upset over this behavior. How can the lawsuit win? It clear that if Site operators are taking appropriate effort to remove fake profiles the Plaintiffs would need to PROVE, Match is deliberately targeting expired members with emails from “removed or suspended” accounts to win.
      I have personally spent several thousands on dating sites. Then I found my wife at a small site that was free. Ironic. I think this “perceived fake fear”, is why “Quasi Free, like POF” and Totally Free sites like hellomisthailand.com are popular. The latter site appears to have only family members on it! they all look similar. Maybe the patriarch of the family is tring to get the daughters married off! I can’t even figure out how that site makes ANY money, or pays the bills. The site does not even have ads! So you get what you pay for I guess. But I got lucky so I don’t care!

  18. terri love says:

    Match and other top sites were most disappointing — I signed up, paid and received more than 100 matches the first 2 days — then none; and only two answered my “smiles” or “ice breakers”, and, I saw those two matches modeling on sites that have nothing to do with dating — I am a good catch and my “killer profile” could not solicit one smile or nudge? — smelled fishy to me and I closed my accounts — another pet peeve is that (as a test) I googled senior singles and up popped the top two sites with pic of seniors, etc. to pull me in; also, I googled African American singles and up popped the same two sites with the same phony promises & African American pics — I received 2 or 3 “matching” matches but lots and lots of young white men — SHAMEFUL!!! my advice: go out, do your thing, and let your love find you.

  19. cindy w says:

    It is a needle in haystack. Possible to find someone but both have to be realistic.

    As a former beauty queen, advanced degree, financially secure, divorced but no children, non smoker) ,I was bombarded with emails!!! found a 56 Man That I thought was interesting and a full 10 years older than myself

    We exchanged private email address and Told him I was leaving Match.

    the next day I sent him private email he responded with “Who are you?” Seriously , you don’t get that much response outside of the site from a quality person that you can afford to blow off.

    I sent 1 reminder pic he was “Wow when can we meet” we spoke on the phone and planned a meeting and he never showed up. Again I was already out of this guys league.

    What is funny I still get carded and was already a decade younger. The dude is still dateless on Match

  20. esmeralda says:

    I HAVE BEEN ON 10 DIFFERENT DATING SITES AND MATCH.COM HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST ONE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON , I SENT OUT 15 MESSAGES TO DIFFERENT MEN AND DID NOT RECEIVE ONE NOT EVEN ONE ANSWERE BACK I WAS SO FURIOUS THAT I CALLED THE CONTACT NUMBER TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON ,THE LADY IN CHARGE TOLD ME SHE WOULD CHECK MY MESSAGUES TO SEE IF THEY EVEN GOTTEN THEM (SHE DID THIS FOR FREE,DID NOT CHARGE ME FOR THIS SERVICE) NOT ONE OF MY NESSAGES WERE EVEN OPENED AT ALL !! I WAS FURIOUS THEY WERE GHOST MEMBERS THAT WERENET EVEN THERE ANYMORE ,I ASKED THEM HOW MATCH.COM WITH ALL IT’S WONDERFULL ADVERTISEMENT DO THAT TO UNSUSPECTED MEMBERS THEY HAVE NO SHAME ,I WOULS SAY TO ANYONE THAT IS THINKING OF BECOMING A MEMBER ON MATCH.COM DON’T IT IS A GHOST -TOWN IN THERE

  21. James Klima says:

    I think there are various practices these website use to increase conversion; I think they use third party affiliate to increase signups and they use fake profiles and other tools provided by these companies to increase conversion.

  22. Eric Niceguy says:

    There’s a slight difference between _fake_ profiles and what I call _stale_ profiles. A stale profile is one that was created by someone legitimately interested in using the web site, but is no longer active. This could be someone who signed up for a 3-day free trial and canceled, or it could be someone who paid for 6 months but got into a serious relationship after 3 weeks.

    Where I think Match.com, eHarmony, etc. have been deceptive is that they allow these stale profiles to remain in their system. Currently, match.com and eHarmony allow you to see when a person last logged in. Match.com shows, for example, “Online now” (for someone actually browsing the site) to “active over 3 weeks” (for the longest inactivity case). Pretty much anyone who’s not active over 3 weeks is a stale profile, and thus there is no hope of that person replying.

    These sites didn’t always provide this “profile freshness” information, and that is where I think they’ve cleaned up things a bit (probably as a result of law suits?). They should REMOVE STALE PROFILES altogether, but then their database would look terribly empty (or, in the case of eHarmony, you’d get few matches…)

    Free communication weekends, free 3-day trials, etc. are great ways for these companies to “generate” stale profiles. Not FAKE, but almost.

    In 4+ years of using online dating sites, I met face-to-face more than 50 women in the city where I live. I have a blog about it here: http://virtualcupidity.blogspot.ca/ After a year or two of using the sites, it was pretty easy to spot women who’re noncommittal about actually meeting. I only got “stood up” one time in almost 5 years.

    That person could have been using a fake profile on Match.com (it was in 2007). At the time, I later found out that the text in her profile was a copy from another member’s profile, and I thus “reported a concern”. What I don’t get in all these claims is how fake profiles are useful. In large population cities, there are lots of people who go online to date. I could understand fake profiles in a rural area, where the population is sparse and therefore harder to find a date. I remember first trying to use match.com 15 years ago when I lived in a city of roughly 40k people. There were about 3 matches for the criteria I gave (in the immediate area). I would have had to drive 1 hour to a nearby city to meet anyone interesting…

    As for fake photos, there are lots (but I think this is just people being insecure). If you see someone with only one photo and it’s off the charts attractive, put the URL of the photo into images.google.com (there’s a photo icon on that page that lets you specify the URL). It’s a great tool to spot fake photos! Here’s one on match.com right now: http://www.match.com/Profile/Show?Handle=debbiebrwneyes (photo of Ha Ji Won)

  23. Match.com also has among the highest quantity of fraudulent female “bait profiles.” These bait profiles do not represent real daters, and they are placed by someone working directly for, or on behalf of, Match.com for the sole purpose of making the site appear to contain many more young, fit, and beautiful women than is actually the case. These female bait profiles are used to both attract new male subscribers and keep existing male subscribers from cancelling their membership. Bait profiles can be difficult to spot for the rookie online dater. They often feature amateur modeling photos to lure the viewer, but unlike real women, these fakes don’t discriminate based on a man’s age, height, ethnicity, income, marital status, health, etc. For example, the bait profile will feature a gorgeous, 5’10″, 125 lb. 25-year old woman who, according to her fake profile, is looking for a man who is between 20 and 70 years old, and between 3′ and 7′ tall.

  24. Eric Niceguy says:

    @Steve: I saw a large number of those profiles 3-4 years ago on match, but the all got closed within a day (or hours) of me reporting them. I think they were scammers, and match was lax at shutting them down. At one point, I was able to find dozens by searching for women under 5 ‘ tall. My theory is that the scammers had an automated script to create profiles, and it’s algorithm for picking random heights was flawed.

    • @ Eric: There are different types of fake profiles. The scammers you’re talking about place their profiles and once you reply to them, they send you a cut and paste reply referring you to another site. However, the fake profiles I’m talking about are not interactive–they never communicate in any fashion!! They appear in bunches, virtually identical to one another except for the photos used, and they also appear as “new” profiles so they are at the top of the search results. The only logical explanation for the existence of such profiles is to make the site appear to have more hot women than is the case. Who benefits from such a ploy? Only Match.com.

  25. Eric Niceguy says:

    I met in person some very attractive women on match. I also find lots of profiles of average-looking women who have active profiles. In almost 5 years of using match, I never came to the conclusion that the inactive attractive profiles were bait profiles created to lure signups. However, I would suspect match has numbers on profile hits, and perhaps chooses not to purge stale profiles that generate hits. The result is the same: attractive profiles that never reply. On the other hand, some ppl are active and attractive and DO reply.

  26. Ive been on match for a while and thought i would be aggressive so i picked 100 women i considered within what i liked or found attractive. Now i read where some lady was mad about how guys pick hotties but what are we suppose to pic elephants and lepers?? We all pick what we are attracted to, so sorry if your offended its not about that its about finding your mate. Attraction plays a big part in that but i will agree it has to be within reason. So out of my list of 100 more than half were what i would consider so so or diamonds in the rough. So while there were some hotties there were more plain janes and common looking women. I received 1 reply and 1 not interested. Good or bad you would think with those odds i would have received more. At least 25 are now mysteriously no longer members and i contacted another 50 with the same result. I have found more fake profiles then people willing to just talk and im a very good looking man (not to toot my own horn). Its sad but all the pics i say that made me join the site are no longer members. On top of that i get an update with member they select for me that arent even in my search criteria. Why would you send me profiles of women that arent interested in meeting White guys???? I’m White, you would think that was important!! Then i get profiles of women from 18 to 27 when my search criteria clearly says 27 to 38 and in those profiles they are looking for men well younger than me. I’m 38 and i dont date older but still receive profiles of women in their 50′s. Its just sad and once my membership is up im done with match.

    • Sometimes men don’t realize that a woman is out of their league in looks. Maybe that happened to you. Dude, your probably not that good looking as you say you are. No offense. But I don’t think all those women that didn’t respond were all fake profiles. Too many.

      And you want younger women to go out with you? But you’re not open to women older than you? Maybe you’re a jack ***? My mom is 9 years older than dad and they’re still together after all these years.

      • Well still active on the site and what i have caught on to is that they allow temporary accounts for free and it seems people sign up for free use it to view profiles for a day or two then never go back and the free membership runs out but the account isn’t removed thus creating “fake profiles” As a paying member they should not waste my time by allowing free accounts by broke a$$ people to contact a serious paying account holder. As for the out of your league comment the only people out of your league are the headcases. With that mentality I could only guess you are alone. And manners!! Name calling shows your maturity level so really nice. Try listening, learning and conversing like a civilized person and stop with the league thing its so junior high.

  27. I have sent out over 50 emails in the last 3 weeks and have yet to receive a email back. Every time someone winks at me with in a day the profile is unavailable. I say fraud!

  28. Your article is good, but you’re missing one glaring omission. Nobody can register on match.com without a credit card. So, the people who are registering the fake profiles are most likely using stolen credit cards. Which means match.com puts revenue ahead of member security.

    And being a member of plenty of fish and okcupid (owned by match.com) I can tell you that I get significantly more fake profiles/scammers approaching me on match.

    • I should quantity – at least two a day on match.com. And people instant message me who do not have member profiles. I have plenty of screenshots to support these. How that happens? You tell me. Match.com has refused my request to see their member security policy, if they even have one.

  29. I’ve been on Match for about a year now and have been annoyed with the fakes. I always try to do my part and report them. I own an IT business that focuses a lot on computer crime and I think I’m getting much better at spotting the fake profiles. Like one person commented, you can usually tell when they have no preferences on age or “no preference” in the “Her Date” column. For me, that’s been a great indicator. Also, if you pay attention to the terrible broken English or the way they spell certain words such as humor being spelled humour, that’s another indicator. I’m not saying this is a perfect method for weeding out the fakes but it may help some. Oh yeah, another indicator is if they say seeking men 25-70 within 5,000 miles! That’s almost always a dead giveaway. I don’t think most quality women would care about a 50 year age difference or want their potential match to live several thousand miles away. This is just my opinion!
    These indicators may be obvious to most but maybe it will help a few guys out there! At least when I report these profiles to Match, they are usually removed within 24-48 hours.
    Most importantly…just use common sense!

  30. its all bullshit!! I was browsing match.com with a bs temp account just to see what they have to offer, and i spotted one of the finest looking females I went to high school with. I knew something wasn’t right, so I private messaged her on facebook to ask if she indeed made the account. She was horrified and shocked to realize some employees at match had created an account in her name and hijacked a dozen photos from her facebook account she had set to public. They (the crooks at match.com) just want to give you the impression that super attractive people are registered there, giving you false hopes only to register and send your e-mails into the bottomless abyss.

  31. Being Single and involved in the dating industry I have found it very interesting that whenever one of my subscriptions with Match or their subsidaries expires all of a sudden I am deluged with “notifications” of men interested in me. Normally, during subscription there are a few a week that may contact me but 15-20 every other day after subscription expires???? That is more than a little deceptive don’t you think?
    I have met some quality people on the site (ones I have done background checks on- that is my business) but the scammers are there too.They are easy to spot if you read enough profiles. Anyone who insists on only emailing or chatting and not want to talk live like on Skype or meet in person should be suspect as demonstrated on Nev Schulman’s MTV show “Catfish”. I think Nev is doing a great service investigating relationships for people. Caution should also be used with someone bombarding you with emails and phone calls, insisting on meeting too soon in the online dating process or picking you up for intitial dates. They are usually the predators.

  32. Sandy, are saying that Match sends out fake notifications? That is a different situation than scammers. People talk about these notifications but never have screenshots to back them up. Please take some and feel free to use the contact form to get in touch with me and share them. We do know that Match seems to increase your visibility near the end of your subscription. I see nothing wrong with that practice, they want you to stick around. But are these noticies auto-generated? Thats the question.

  33. So I am a member of match.com for 2 days now. I am receiving IM after IM, and they are all asking the same questions, pretty much in the same order. When I reply, they all have similar responses. Examples are: Them: “Hello, how are you?” Me: “I am well, thanks for asking. How are you?” Them: “I am fine. So what brings you to match?” And it goes on and on in just about every IM I get. It really is like they have chat bots instead of real women.

  34. onlined8er says:

    I’ve been using Match and most of the other ‘big’ sites for several years. I’ve seen many fake profiles come an go in that time but Match by far has the most ‘scam’ profiles pop up. Even more than the free sites like POF. It’s obvious that they’re not aggressively trying to stop them. How is it that on a free site like POF I rarely see fake or scam profiles but on a pay site like Match I run into them daily? I’m not only confident that stopping them isn’t a priority for Match but that they themselves are involved in the creation and maintainence of ‘fake’ profiles. There are several in my area that are ‘too good to be true’ that have been active for as long as I’ve been a member. They’ll even occasionally make some form of generic contact via ‘wink’ or ‘favorite’ but attempts at communication always go un-answered. Another thing these fake profiles have in common is the occasional change of information such as the city they live in. The pictures or actual text content of the profiles never change….they’ve been the same for years.

    But at the end of the day it’s a matter of common sense. If something seems to good to be true it probably is. Don’t be an idiot. If you’re not happy with a service…..tell them why and stop using it. Simple as that.

    • LIES POF HAS TENS OF THOUSANDS FAKE PROFILES. I HAVE CONTACT OVER 4 TO 5 HUNDRED WOMEN TO HAVE REPLYS FROM ABOUT 50 WOMEN. THOSE 50 35 OF THEM WERE SCAMMERS. THE REST WERE CRAZY OR SUPERFICIAL.

  35. Thank you for your article, it encouraged me to create a page to report online dating scams. I think i should have done that since a long time ago.

    http://zdatingcoach.com/report-an-online-dating-scam/

  36. I think match.com is a ripoff. The fake profiles are there and send you fake winks, likes, and anything to give you a sense of interaction. I have seen the same picture on many profiles. I don’t care if women are not interested in me but I don’t want to be scammed for my money. Why does the author of this article say all kind things about match.com like a cheerleader? Match.com has state of the art this and that crap. What an apologest! I stopped reading the article after that pandering crap. Match.com is a ripoff.

    • Robert, send me proof that you see the same photos in multiple profiles, otherwise it didn’t happen. Match does a great job with customer service. can’t argue that. In terms of fake profiles, people keep complaining, but I NEVER SEE ANY PROOF. People tend to vent here due to disappointment, often has little to do with the site in question.

      If you read other posts, you know I hold Match’s feed to the fire often, same goes for any other dating site, a client or not. Apologist, yeah right.

  37. So I was on match.com and found my friend’s boyfriend on the dating site. I told her and she accused him of cheating but he claims not having made the account and was never on the website. He looked into it and found dating sites (like match.com) create fake profiles and use fb or other social media to target people and create a fake dating profile of them. Is that true?

    • As I say over and over again to everyone, share proof or it didn’t happen. I don’t understand why people don’t take a screenshot. In 10 years, nobody has shown me that Match creates profiles. I’ve seen lots of proof on other sites though.

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