In this series we have been exploring the world of Dot Com dating services both from a personal experience point of view and that which is widely reported on multiple venues including social media, printed media, magazines and newspapers. Many problematic issues have come to the surface, including accusations of false advertising, misleading advertisements and practices, a great lack of response to member’s overtures and responses, a lack of response by the dot coms to subscriber complaints. Further issues are alleged including apparent censorship, deception by the organizations, and deception by the users/members. Is there any watch dog agency overseeing Dating Dot Coms? None that I am aware of! The whole dating dot com seems particularly unregulated. Google Dating Dot Com lawsuits and see what comes up on the screen. Prepare to read for hours.
Alleged False Advertising/Deception by the Dot Com
How many times has it happened that I am notified that an attractive lady with a moniker such as NANNAN69 has just favorited me and would like to talk with me. The posted time is 7:15 PM. At 7:16 PM I respond and immediately a screen flashes that, “NANNAN69 is no longer available but here are 8 more people just like NANNAN69. Give them a response!” Now, tell me how, in 60 seconds, NANNAN got swept off her feet, married off and managed to get the Dot Com to take her out of contention when the rest of us can’t seem to even get the Dot Com to respond to us. I’d really like the answer to that. Isn’t this bait and switch?
Oh, wait a minute. Here is a new message on my computer from loveemandleavem Dotcom, of whom I have never heard and certainly not contracted with. They’re notifying me that I have 69 new profile views plus 4 flirts and 6 new messages. “Click here to read the messages.” I do so. Immediately a screen pops up that has a silhouette on it but no explanation or directions to my messages. Scrolling down the screen I see a box with flirts, winks, messages. I click on messages and a screen pops up that says, “To read your messages you must upgrade now. For just $14.95/month for 6 months……….. Isn’t this deceptive advertising?
Oh, wait, again, another new message this time from marrymoneymindedpeoplemeet Dot com has appeared telling me that I have 52 new profile views plus 5 new flirts and 8 new messages. If I upgrade now I can read and reply to my messages, see the 4 people who have flirted with me, see the members who have “fave’d” me , view their videos, chat with hundreds of members on line, and always find out if we are an astrological match. It is only $6.49/mo. for 6 months. One click upgrade and, oh yes, this offer expires in 6 minute and 34 seconds. Isn’t this a deceptive come-on?
Oh wait, Lighter Dot com is notifying me that on 9/20/14 at 10:57 a lady named IONOSPHERE from Medina saw me on her daily matches and says she is interested. Medina is 78 miles away from me. What happened to my 25 mile limit? The lady looks and sounds interesting. What to do? Isn’t this trying to sell me something that I clearly asked not to see?
Oh wait, here is a message from AAAOLdoubles, of whom I have never heard and certainly not contracted with. It says, “Babe I guess you’re not getting any of my e-mails huh? I’ve been trying to e-mail u (sic) so many times but this dammed (sic) laptop……” Isn’t this…..a scam?
From what can be gathered Lighter Dot Com likely also owns many other dating services with many other names, but they use your same profile and word content for all of them and do transfer them around to their other Dot coms. On some of them they try to charge you to look at “someone responding to you!” Also there are other apparently not related firms that either steal your profile or possibly it is sold to them and they add it to their repertoire. You get daily e-mails from them under such names as Yourtimesover Dot Com, Senior Moments what was I saying?, Chemistryset Dot Com, Senior Good Lord Times, Italiandressingpeople meet, Petapeople meet and many other names. Actually, some of these are apparently free. The response rate is reported to be better with some of these. How much better, though, remains ambiguous. I will admit, though, that my response rate –people responding to my overtures– is significantly higher—in the 10% range—on Yourtimesover Dot Com. This is likely due to the narrow focus on the age group over 55.
False advertising by the member
Let’s face it, we all want to put our best side forward. Listing enticing information to enhance the probability of responses is basic salesmanship, but where does enhancement end and downright deception begin. Yes, you clean and polish the car when trying sell it, and list all the positives. But do you turn back the speedometer? Do you pour heavy weight oil in it to mask the leaking and burning? Do you forget to mention that the car has been in a significant accident? While it is difficult to initially ascertain whether the written information listed on a person’s profile is accurate one deceptive practice seems to come clear upon meeting. That would be submitting pictures of yourself that were taken 5 to 30 years earlier, thus showing you as much younger than you actually are. Who would actually do that, you say? I have encountered it. I drove 80 miles one way to find exactly this. Sometimes the posted picture is noted to have been taken in, say 2012, or last year or two years ago. This is, I suppose, not so much of an issue. Often though, when you actually go to meet the person you have a difficult time recognizing them from their posted picture because they are significantly older in person. Putting aside the traditional issue that we often don’t look quite like our photos there is a seemingly significant age variance. A couple years difference is probably not such a big deal, but a posted picture taken 25 years ago IS. That is major deception. What do you do when you actually meet a person you have conversed with on e-mail and, upon meeting, find out that that there are marked incongruencies? They are markedly older –i.e., the stated age is 59 but the person obviously is/looks middle 70s. Or that they have significant problems not mentioned or obvious in the photos. If nothing else this deception starts the relationship off on a wrong foot, and you immediately begin to wonder what else isn’t true.
How could censorship go on in this country in this day and age? “Why, that only goes on in China and Russia and……” If you follow the commentary on the social media you will find many complaints about comments being censored, words being changed particularly in regards to a member being critical of the dot com.
In my experience this has happened at least twice. Initially I thought it was a computer glitch but not the second time. In conversing with a lady on the dot com website about the shortcomings of the site and suggesting that we switch to our e-mail addresses I was mysteriously and immediately cut off from communicating and asked to re-register my name and password. I could then start over with my communication. This was not a random glitch.
This ongoing column is dedicated to those of us—post 60’ers– after “the sinking”. If you identify with it, please come into the lifeboat and take a seat. This is the ongoing saga of coping with the post 6o and single again dilemma. I am open to ideas, feedback, and information that maybe helpful to all of us. You can reach me at tel: 330-562-9801 or e-mail me at Skipstaxidermy@yahoo.com
Author’s note: The names of the various dot coms have been changed