Betabeat emailed 208 men and women whose profiles are being sold on Sale Dating Profiles. Only five people responded, none of whom knew their profiles were for sale.Harry Lin, a 61-year-old in Switzerland, noticed that a profile he started at had somehow made its way to Mega Dating and the now-defunct
The tips got pretty specific in some cases: It’s 28 percent better for a male to refer to females as women rather than girls, and men who use “whom” get 31 percent more contacts from the opposite sex.
“I am a creative, witty, intelligent girl looking for someone to shower with all my love and affection! Angela was included in a 1,000-pack of allegedly single, supposedly American women, which Betabeat purchased for $35.
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.
Each new dating site needs faces for its catalog, and much of the dubious behavior is driven by the need for more profiles.
“I talk to dating startups a couple times a week,” Mr. “Everyone wants to talk about the cold database problem.” A close cousin to the profile seller is the “white label” dating service. White label databases are often used to pre-populate niche sites.
“They have my email, user name, birthday and *former* Jumpdates password! Buying and selling profiles is just one of many unsavory tactics in the online dating industry.
One site owner referred to these practices as “black hat dating.” “There is a lot of tricky stuff that people do out there that most people don’t know about,” said David Evans, who started the profile editing service Profile Doctor in 2002 and now writes the blog Online Dating Insider and consults for dating startups.
We even scoured the top 400 most popular Ok Cupid profiles—the hottest people on the site in ten US cities—to see what their profile pics could tell the rest of us about attracting a date.
We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of the data maestros at Match and Ok Cupid: Christian Rudder, cofounder and president of Ok Cupid, and Jim Talbott, director of consumer insights at
The industry has been dominated by a few giants for about a decade: e Harmony and Match.com, which each claim 20 million members.