Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Dating Site Trust Issue Blues

I've been single for... Well, a little while now, and, out of curiosity, I recently decided to get back into the online dating scene. Two particular sites from the same family gave me some grave concerns about... Well, the whole group of sites. Specifically, these are Seek-A-Geek, and GeekyDating. Yeah, I know, stereotyping and all that, but it's not amazingly easy to find folks in a service industry and tourism heavy place (IE - Somewhere where you're not going to be able to hang out somewhere most people go without making a £3 cake/drink last for four hours)

In any case, what happened next was intriguing. In all the wrong ways. The profile got set up, was waiting for approval, and... I got a message from another user. Profile hadn't been approved yet, so there's little chance anyone could have seen my picture, or much of anything, for that matter. Okay, that's weird, but not outside the realms of possibility, right?

But then I found that only browsing was free. This is fairly common among dating sites, so I wasn't too worried about that. Although £7.50 a month isn't something I want to pay where there's a total of something like 129 people who actually bothered to upload a photo, and most of those didn't bother to write anything in their profile text.

No, what worried me was that I was, for some bizarre reason, chatted to by tech support. Hadn't clicked the button to chat with tech support, hadn't changed the page, just tried to read a message twice before I realised messaging wasn't really a thing without paying. First thing they say after "Hi" is "Do you want to upgrade?"

What comes next is my thought processes over the chat, and when I looked at my email after deleting my accounts on both sites.

"Er... No, I want to leave, because I don't feel comfortable that support magically appeared."
"Er... I definitely feel uncomfortable now, because you're trying to hard sell me this upgrade, even offering a discount. This is beginning to sound suss as hell. Check, please!"
"Okay, I've deleted my accounts and... wait... Tech support magically messaged me on the other site as well? Why is it I have a distinct feeling I know what they were going to say?"

So... Mega awkward. On the one hand, I don't think any bots were involved here. On the other, that was an oddly specific series of events, with a very odd timeline, and it seemed geared to get me signed up for a monthly fee as quick as humanly possible.

Which was, to put it bluntly, suss as hell.

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