In its first law enforcement action against an online dating service, the Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement that prohibits JDI Dating Ltd., an England-based company, from using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships and charging these members a recurring monthly fee without their consent.
The settlement also requires the defendants to pay 6,165 in redress.
“JDI Dating used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
“Adding insult to injury, users were charged automatically to renew their subscriptions – often without their consent.” According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JDI Dating and William Mark Thomas operate a worldwide dating service via 18 websites, including cupidswand.com, and
The messages were almost always from fake, computer-generated profiles – “Virtual Cupids” – created by the defendants, with photos and information designed to closely mimic the profiles of real people.
Emily Bartz, dating content manager for Next (which provides independent reviews and research of online services for consumers and small businesses), told me that online dating sites are becoming better at matching you to potential dates and online dating is increasingly being done on mobile phone dating apps."The biggest complaint people have about online dating is wasting time with people they have nothing in common with.He’s worked with websites like Plentyof and and has seen the industry through multiple eras, from the early days of online personals to companies scrambling for mobile relevance.Competition has grown along with the size of the industry.But then one cold night in November, I met a Match date in a bar in Greenwich Village.I had a date for the next Saturday night for seven years.