Dating Site Is Reporting Fake Active-User Numbers - The
Match.com Empire is One Huge FRaud
highlighteda story that pulled back
the curtain on the shady world of media sites paying for
traffic - a practice that countless social-media influencers
and AdSense scammers have employed for years to help
monetize their respective platforms.
it turns out, IBT Media, the publisher of Newsweek and the
International Business Times, reportedly schemed to buy
fraudulent traffic in order to help secure a major ad
contract from a US government agency. A group
that investigates fraudulent web traffic initially published
the findings, which comport with a story from Buzzfeed news
about IBT India.
Thinknum, a FinTech company that analyzes web traffic, has
published a report on its blog alleging that SpeedDate.com,
one of the 45 web properties owned by Match.com, misleads
users by publishing fake engagement data on its homepage.
the company's analysts tried to verify the high level of
activity (after all, the site regular advertises more than
2,500 singles "online now" - a huge number in many parts of
the US) they discovered something disturbing in the
website's header files:A
random number generator (highlighted in purple in the
we looked deeper - why wasn’t SpeedDate.com registering on
our active users counts? Perhaps it’s because they don’t
use Facebook login like their other properties, making it
difficult for us to track activity? Perhaps it’s because
they’re under the radar?
perhaps it’s because they lie?
our engineers took a deeper look at SpeedDate.com to
figure out how we could track activity - after all, 3,297
Singles Online Now is a lot, and we should be tracking
this rising star of digital dating - we found something
curious in their header files.
perhaps even more galling is how the site is "monetized" -
instead of relying solely on advertising traffic, real human
users must pay for the service.
may think this isn’t a big deal, but in an environment
in which dating sites are exceedingly difficult to
navigate, difficult to use, and sketchy on details, a
company as big at Match shouldn’t be commiting a sin as
fundamental as making up its usage numbers.
SpeedDate.com is just a placeholder for something
bigger.Maybe it’s a relic
that Match is no longer feeding. That said, it still
entices hapless singles to sign up, give out personal
data, and get matched up with users that either don’t
exist, or haven’t been using the site in years.
- and to “verify your profile” you need to enter credit
card information and get billed $0.99. After all, there
are thousands of singles waiting to meet you, right?
be sure, the author of the Thinknum post said the company
isn't sure what's up with Speeddate.com these days, or if
they're even still active as a business. In 2008, they came
under fire for some Facebook login shenanigans that got them
banned from the social network. Regardless, their site is
active - and they're accepting signups.