Economy fears brushed aside for loaded daters

It’s not only the monotony of Christmas spent with the family that’s driving singles to the dating sites, as their volumes reach record figures, week on week.

A fear of being alone as the recession strikes is driving singles with more money than sense to high-end dating sites in the metropolis that is New York.

Being able to seek out and afford that latest little number from Gucci appears to be no qualification for being able (or willing) to find love for those who can afford to sign up to the growing number of dating sites willing to relieve you of $1,000 per month or more for the privilege of searching their database for your suitable match.

In a recent interview with Crains New York, one such proprietor has reported that they have doubled their client base in the last two years and how, during that time, the number of exclusive dating sites of this nature has trebled.

Based in Manhattan (where else), Lisa Clampett’s ‘VIP Life’ is a high-profile dating agency which serves the male population only in their quest for the perfect partner.

In order to preserve that personal touch that is demanded by a $12,000/per annum membership fee, she restricts the client base to a maximum of 30 persons at any given time. Okay, it probably doesn’t pan out this way but, that’s one man per day in an average month, each paying $1,000/month for that one day’s service…
…money for old rope, you may think, if you’re a seasoned dating site user.

But this is where the similarities between your mainstream dating site and this level of service end.

According to the report in Crains, for that monthly dating membership fee, dating sites and agencies of this nature do not only match you based on an algorithm they’ve created against a set of pre-defined search terms, oh no.

These niche sites serve businessmen who have not come by the money to afford this service by clocking on 9-5 but rather have thrown themselves into their respective industries and dating has sort of passed them by.

As such, the relationship experts who work for these sort of dating sites can be expected to teach their clients across a whole range of aspects relating to courting a new beau.

This can mean that the dating site professional chooses the date for the member, picks the setting and the time, grooms the gentleman in the art of wooing, picks out suitable attire to attend the liaison and may even have to educate on keeping a conversation going at the dinner table and provide instruction (theoretical, one assumes) on the elements of what may come to pass in the bedroom if the date is an absolute success.

Needless to say, usual rules of first dates do not apply when there’s this much cash and this level of vetting of clientele involved, a marked difference from some of the more suspect advances one receives on free dating sites.

I wonder if they’d give me a discount for a one-month membership if I gave them a glowing review…?

A kick up your masquerade balls

There are better ways of instigating an online dating relationship than sending your correspondent a private message which goes along the lines of ‘I like the look of you, but I’m not sure whether you’re a scammer, a stalker or a pervert so I’m gonna get you’re background checked before I give you the time of day.’

However, that is the very real prospect facing dating site members the world over, if you’re not joining an exclusive dating site where members are individually interviewed as part of the service fee. Quite usually, with free dating sites, the revenue comes purely from sponsorship and advertising, so there is very little capital remaining to vet members at all; this is one of the down sides of using this sector of the market over the generally more secure paid dating site niche.

For some years, internet fraud has been recognised by the authorities for what it is: serious, organised crime. As online dating site numbers grow, so do the fraudsters, trained to expert level to engender trust in gullible singles before duping them into sending cash, predominantly to Africa where the majority of these gangsters are based. Some of the volumes are staggering and it is only by working with the dating site community that investigative authorities can hope to put an end to this practise, which has blighted the industry for too long.

verification apps offering more dating site protection than ever

There are state-specific applications available in the US to help combat this issue; providing you are dating an American citizen, some sites are now supporting the program which allows you to double check a potential partner’s credentials against US government records.

In the UK, things are gathering pace even faster. Already we have Trusted Faces – a membership which not only confirms your identity against a snap taken at an official UK post office but also allows you to include other forms of your internet presence and contact details, such as your Twitter user name and e-mail address, respectively. It is very much your online passport.

New, exclusive matchmaking site PDA are very excited about the advent of a ‘Clare’s Law’. This will protect women against an even greater fear – the threat of physical abuse. It is hoped that, once this legislation passes the regulatory standards necessary, it will provide a window into any dating prospect’s criminal past. If there is a history of any sort, it will be there for all to see, so that dating site profiles cannot provide a mask for something altogether more unsavoury, beyond.

It is in everyone’s interest to make the world of online dating a safe and fun place to (hopefully) meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right without fear of any sort; it looks like we’re getting there, albeit one step at a time.