Is On-line Dating a Gambling Addiction?

Posted: 12 Dec 2012 in Rants
Tags: , ,

I recently registered with an on-line dating service who shall (for now at least) remain anonymous.

I am writing this post now as a cautionary tale for others as I found the experience to have been an utter waste of time bordering an out-right con! Below is a copy (verbatim) of an email I recently sent their customer services department after discovering that their ‘free’ service was really only a lure to get you ‘in’, where upon you’ll find yourself completely unable to take any of the actions for which you signed up (namely finding and communicating with potential ‘dates’) without first paying for their ‘subscription’ service! Which begs the question of why have a free subscription in the first place? Anyway, see for yourselves…

Hi,

I recently joined your services as I thought you sounded like the most ‘genuine’ service (that I’m aware of) in this sector. I was forced to jumped through all of your questionnaire ‘hoops’ to get my profile created only to find out that once I’d got to a point where I could start to ‘use’ your services I couldn’t actually do anything! Nothing at all!!

I don’t mean to sound stupid as this is a genuine inquiry (I’m seriously surprised about this) but…
— Am I correct in understanding that there is currently no way for people to communicate without paying your subscription fees?

If so I’m now left sitting here ‘looking’ but unable to act like some paralyzed deaf-mute with ‘locked-in’ syndrome. With everything that your service offers locked away behind subscription fees, which as I am unable to work and consequently have no income, and therefor no-hope of paying your fees, all you have succeeded in doing is wasting both of our time and making me look stupid tw*t (which unsurprisingly I’m not happy about!).

Do you not think it might be more honest and worthwhile (for both of us) if you were clear about exactly what services were available without paying your ‘subscription’ fees?

REALLY this just raises the question of why have a ‘free’ portion to your services in the first place if it is to be so limited as to effectively be non-functional!
— Other than as a baited hook of course, in the hope of snaring people who will then just “give up and accept it” and give in to paying your fees.

Why can’t you just be straight with people upfront? Many people would still be willing to pay for the services you offer (and no doubt do) without this subversive ‘lure’ of yours trying to trick them.

Please forgive me, I appreciate that you want to make money and no doubt need to in order to provide your services but it does strike me as odd that you don’t have some form of free communication, even if it’s restricted and/or limited in some way. Otherwise your really just cashing in on people’s loneliness which is often a symptom of our modern chaotic and relentlessly busy lifestyles. I understand that every business is in the business of making money but there are still such things as morals and ‘scruples’!

It occurs to me that you are really in the business of gambling – yes? You readily take money from people who have what could be described as an ‘addiction’ and offer them no guarantees (not that you could of course) of achieving the hopes/goals which have driven them to use your services in the first place. I mean people are “taking a gamble” that your services might just help them to meet someone they can build a functional, intimate relationship with, but ultimately win or loose either way for them your pockets still get filled. Now maybe it’s just me but something about that strikes me as wrong somehow!

Maybe you could look to introducing a minimal but functional ‘free’ communication system.

Why would people then bother paying for ‘full’ membership / subscription rates you ask? Well I guess that’s up to you to figure out — incentivise people with features and functionality that they want and would be willing to pay for but that does not lower itself to cashing in on people’s “hopelessness”.

Yours sincerely,

Chris

Feel free to comment at will, let’s see what other horror stories we can drag up. Just be careful not to mention any names that may get you (or me) in to trouble!

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