It is called ‘white-labelling’ and happens when a product produced by one company, such as Global Personals, is rebranded by other companies — in this case dating websites.Also, in a bid to boost their revenue, the company was specifically employing staff whose sole job it was to set up and run fake profiles on the dating sites, to keep members interested. I was put on the back foot and so flummoxed I didn’t contact him again.’Nonetheless, as the months passed, she was sent three emails a day from unlikely suitors, who ranged in age from 22 to 73. ‘I can’t remember any being particularly crude, but maybe they were and I never saw them.’Jenny says she quickly suspected some of the identities were fake.‘Part of me suspected it was too good to be true, but I replied anyway.’ And, surprise surprise, she never heard back.‘I only met most of them once, for a drink,’ she says.‘One, a store manager, had joined a website called Old Flirt. They came from geographical and rock music dating sites. One didn’t even know I had a son, which was the whole point.Within weeks, Jenny got her first warning signal: She’d begun emailing a fellow single parent from her area and the pair had swapped phone numbers:‘I texted him and said “it’s Jenny from Just Single Parents” and he replied “what? ‘I know I got emails that weren’t from real people,’ she told Channel 4 News.‘You’d ask a man a question, such as how many children he had, and would get a reply tell you how happy they are they’ve met you.’She adds: ‘You don’t realise to start with that these companies they have “ice breaker” messages saying “I like your profile” or “you’ve got a lovely smile” that are sent to all the women in East Sussex between the ages of 35 and 55. After a while you realise a lot of the messages you get are sent to hundreds of people, not just you.’‘I remember one email I got that persuaded me to re-join was from a good-looking, wealthy single father who ran his own building business,’ says Jenny.Whether you live in the US or Russia, you can start browsing and flirting for free on this easy-to-use dating site.
Worryingly, the practice, while misleading, is perfectly legal.
After her marriage broke down, Jenny Beard knew finding love again wouldn’t be easy.
Not only was she 42 and the sole carer of her six-year-old son Will, but her demanding career as an accountant left her with precious little time to socialise.
Global Personals — whose headquarters are in Windsor, Berkshire — makes £40 m a year, employs 130 staff and is believed to take a 40 per cent cut of every membership subscription, with the remainder going to the spin-off company.‘Internet dating seemed the best way of meeting people,’ she says. It’s the last place you would expect to find me and a waste of time and money.
‘But I’m shocked by how many sites I’ve ended up on. Certainly, Jenny’s experience serves as a cautionary tale to those tempted by the increasingly popular world of online romance, said to be worth £2 billion globally.