30 People Who Have Worked For Dating Companies Reveal Their Most Insane And Darkest Secrets
“My favorite foods are pizza and avocado toast. I love going to the beach, and my favorite thing to do is have fun. If you can’t make me laugh, we can’t be together. Looking for a serious relationship. Please, don’t message me unless you are looking for the same…”
If you’ve ever ventured into the world of dating apps, you’ve probably viewed hundreds of profiles with captions along those lines. But even if you’ve been swiping for hours a week for years, no matter how well you think you know the cesspool that is a dating site, nobody understands what is going on better than the people behind the scenes. One Reddit made that very clear by posing the question, “Redditors that worked with a dating company (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc.), what’s the most insane user stat or behind-the-scenes fact you found out about?” People who have personally worked for various dating sites and apps, or have friends and loved ones who have worked for these sites, began spilling their juiciest secrets, and they did not hold back.
Down below, you'll find some of the most fascinating and disturbing stories for you to read and get an idea of what it would be like to get paid to spend your days on Tinder, as well as an interview with dating sociologists and co-hosts of the Dateable Podcast, Julie Krafchick and Yue Xu. Be sure to upvote the stories that shock and amuse you the most, and then let us know in the comments if you have any wild dating app tales. Then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda piece featuring employees spilling company secrets, check out this article next.
A couple met on the dating app I worked on.
Unfortunately, the man passed away and the lady returned to the app where they met for remembrance.
One day, a bug in the system made some profile likes to be sent again after months and she received one from her deceased boyfriend.
Her bug report was heartbreaking.
Once dating apps and websites infiltrated the world of those looking for love, they completely changed the dating landscape. No longer were we limited to only people living close by, people we met at work or through mutual friends, and suddenly, we could be as superficial as possible. See a photo you don’t like? Swipe left. Oh, he works for a big oil company? Swipe left. My ex boyfriend is a mutual friend of his on Facebook? Immediate left swipe. We can be as picky as we like with essentially no consequences. Everyone is being judgmental, so why shouldn’t you?
Dating apps are fascinating enough from the outside, but it’s even more interesting to hear about them from people on the inside. How the algorithms work, how photos get approved on the sites, whose profiles are promoted more than other people’s, etc. Most of us know very little about what’s happening behind the millions of polished profiles, so we’re fascinated in what these Reddit users were willing to share.
I have a friend who works for... I wanna say Tinder. Anyway, the company isn’t important; what is important is that her ENTIRE job is to remove inappropriate images. Her JOB is to look at d**k pics all day. Five days a week. That’s all. Just a weird f*****g job.
To gain some insight into the wild world of dating apps, we reached out to some experts on the topic: Julie Krafchick and Yue Xu, dating sociologists and co-hosts of the popular podcast Dateable. Julie and Yue have been using online dating sites from when they were more taboo and not mainstream (think Match.com in the early days) to when dating apps exploded when Tinder first came on the scene. From living in San Francisco, the tech capital of the world, they were both exposed to new apps in their early stages and using dating apps became the norm of how to date, even long before the pandemic. They’ve both met partners through dating apps, including Julie’s current significant other who she met on Hinge.
Since they have experience using them, we wanted to know what Julie and Yue's general opinions were of using dating apps. "They are a great way to meet people you wouldn’t normally encounter," Julie told Bored Panda. "Because you know everyone is single (or at least we hope that’s the case) it eliminates having to sift through people you meet out to even see if they are open to dating."
"They are highly efficient for people who do not have hours to devote to going to social events, and can be great for people who have either outgrown the bar scene or simply do not have fellow single friends to go out with," Yue added. "You essentially have a bar full of singles right in your pocket! In the past, we had to rely on our limited social circles and neighbors. Now we have a much wider net to cast to find the right match for us. During the pandemic, they also provided a way for us to continue to date. In today's world, it’s getting increasingly harder to meet people IRL (in real life). The workplace isn’t as viable of an option due to #metoo and remote work. Dating apps provide a great option to be exposed to more types of people to learn what constitutes a good match for you."
This is my favorite bit from my time working at PeopleMedia, which is part of Match several years back as a software engineer.
One day while deep in the depths of code related to our spam filters (I forget what I was in there for) I stumbled across a curious code statement. It was like
"if (userId == xxxxx) return;"
Which is a very curious thing to see. It basically said that if the user was a certain person, don't filter them as a spam profile.
Immediately I laughed and was like "uh... What in the actual &@$# is this?"
A few veterans explained that there was a guy who sent out messages at such high volume that he would constantly trigger the spam filters (which if you've ever been on a dating site is actually a kind of hard thing to do). And that he'd called up to complain multiple times, and they'd investigated his messaging and that not only was he messaging this many people, but that he wasn't even copy/pasting his messages. Dude just really liked to reach out to women. Nothing inappropriate, just a true volume shooter.
So eventually someone just broke down and added a back door for him specifically to the spam filter.
It blew my mind that a single user had their own piece of code specifically to make their profile work in our code. Think millions of users across multiple sites, and this guy specifically had a little piece of it all to his own. That an engineer had taken time to write, and QA to test, and Devops to deploy. That alone had to easily offset any amount of money he'd paid over the years. But there it was.
But it's not all peaches and cream on dating apps. "There are challenges that arise," Julie says. "Due to the data that they have, we tend to focus on more superficial qualities. For instance, there’s such a focus on height and occupation because that’s the data that dating apps have; they don't know if you’re a kind person or not, they don’t know if you’re going to be loyal or run when times get tough. It almost perpetuates our fixation with more superficial traits because we can’t filter on the things that really matter."
"Swipe culture has reduced everyone to a profile pic where oftentimes people don’t have read the written text and make instant decisions based on a photo," Julie explained. "Despite being mainstream for 10 years (Tinder came onto the scene in 2012) the dynamics of apps haven’t evolved much despite knowing these limitations. They’ve gamified humans and loss a sense of humanity. Also since these people are essentially “strangers from the internet”, people are more prone to bad dating behavior. You would never ghost the person your aunt set you up with. But a rando from Tinder? Why not?"
I was scouted by Match.com to be a model and basically put up a fake profile and go on dates when needed. Match.com’s tag line used to be something to the effect of, “if you dont find anyone in 6 months, you get 6 months free.” Well with s**t like what they approached me with, they made sure you never got those 6 free months. I told them no obviously, and a few months later, Match.com got sued because it was discovered they were hiring models to put up fake user profiles.
We also wanted to know if Julie and Yue think people act differently on these apps than they do in person. "Yes. They get more picky almost like they are on Amazon 'shopping' for a soulmate," Yue told Bored Panda. "They treat it like wire cutter needing to get 'the best' which leads to this relentless search for the perfect partner which is an illusion as no one is perfect. They expect instant results because every other app gives us what we want on-demand. We can order a car, dinner, or groceries at the touch of our fingertips so why couldn’t be also order our soulmate like this?"
"The problem is that we go into every date thinking we need to make the decision by the end of the night if we want to date this person or not," Yue explained. "We don’t get to know each other organically. It takes time. And we don’t give each other enough time. When we meet IRL more organically, we have less of an agenda because we didn’t meet under the 'dating context'."
"People can also be jerks on the internet (case in point Reddit and social media) and often will say or do things they wouldn’t IRL," Julie added. "This makes the environment prime for romance scams, [inappropriate] pics, DTF messages, and other inappropriate behavior."
My ex bf worked for the Yahoo Italy dating site back in the earlyish 2000s. His job was to pretend to be a woman, and message male customers just as their accounts were going to expire. This would encourage them to pay to renew their subscriptions. Once they renewed, he would ghost them.
He only lasted for a few months due to how unethical it was.
We also asked Julie and Yue if they had any tips for people trying to navigate online dating. "Filter not by the profile, but through the conversation," Julie says. "We recommend spending 30 seconds max reading the profile and go off your gut instinct if you are attracted enough. This isn’t settling but rather knowing the limitations of dating apps. A maybe is a yes. There’s only so much you can know from their profile, so if they look ‘good enough’, have a conversation to see if anything is there. Think about swiping as 'would I want to invite this person to my house party'. People put so much emphasis on deciding if they can envision a life with someone from their profile, but there’s no way you can tell from a couple of photos and a bio so let’s stop pretending we can."
"Also we don’t have to spend hours crafting the perfect opening line: just say hello like you would in real life," Yue says. "You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and ask them ‘what superpower they would be bring to the apocalypse' so why would we ask someone something like this online? We think we need to be so witty, but all this leads to is inaction as it’s not natural. The more we can use dating apps to mimic offline and think of them as just the into, the better. The less we can play into dating app dynamics the better. Instead of focusing on 'the algorithm' to get the best matches, focus on just using dating apps to start interacting with new people. Filter your matches based on who you are having the best conversation with. Even post-pandemic, chat first on video or the phone. This will be the quickest way outside of meeting in person to see if there is potential. And if all goes well, meet in person as soon as possible. The goal of dating apps should be to get offline."
Lastly, Julie and Yue told Bored Panda, "We strongly believe that dating is NOT a numbers game. This is contrary to popular advice but for us it’s more about quality than quantity. Be intentional about what you’re looking for. It’s better to go on one amazing date where you can be emotionally open than 10 mediocre dates that spark no connection."
If you'd like to hear more about their dating experiences and gain some great dating advice, be sure to check out the Dateable Podcast right here.
Guys swipe right on 47% of profiles. Women only swipe right on 12%.
I knew some guys would swipe right more than women, wasn't prepared for how little women swipe right!
edit: Here's some more...
#Searching for serious or casual relationships for men vs women:
- 61% of men want something serious while 38% want something casual
- 87% of women want something serious while only 13% want something casual
It's worth noting on that last one that it's partially because of a difference in how men and women would describe themselves if they're not sure.
Women would rather say 'Something serious' if they're not sure to see how something goes but happy for it to turn casual if they're not feeling it. While men would prefer to say 'Something casual' and then happy for it to turn serious if they like them.
This is why we've given in and added a 'Not sure' option in our big update next week.
#Feedback on chats/users:
We're unique in that we only let you chat to three users at a time, so you have to end a chat to talk to someone new. When you end a chat you have to give (private feedback).
Here's some of the feedback people choose (you can pick more than one):
- 34% ghosted/didn't say anything
- 12% great chat
- 11% polite and respectful
- 11% not enough in common
- 8% no chemistry
- 8% hard to talk to
- 2% rude/inappropriate
#Why people ghost:
We call ourselves the anti-ghosting app because we notify you if someone replaces your chat with someone new (since you can only talk to three at a time). Doesn't stop rejection but at least you're not left wondering and waiting!
We did some research with users to find out why people ghost on dating apps (they could choose more than one answer):
- 43% Avoid the awkwardness of saying I wasn’t interested
- 37% They said/did something I didn’t like
- 36% Was too busy and then it was too late
- 32% Couldn’t be bothered to keep replying
- 28% I forgot to reply
- 25% Couldn't think of a reply
- 23% Too many other people to respond to
- 22% I've never ghosted anyone!
- 6% Other
Source: I'm the founder of a dating app
As with any big tech company, or really any company in general, dating apps and sites have secrets too. But it makes sense given how the industry of online dating has formed into a monstrosity over the years. According to Business of Apps, the dating app market made over $5.61 billion in 2021, and over 300 million people around the world are active users on dating apps and sites. Tinder was the most downloaded dating app in 2021, and it is currently the most popular dating app in the United States. In Europe, however, Badoo has taken the first place spot.
Among the top dating apps around the world are Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Badoo, Happn, Grindr, Tanan, and Plenty of Fish. Not surprisingly, online dating has become exponentially more popular in recent years, as we’ve all become addicted to our cell phones and gained increased access to the internet. In 2015, for example, global dating app revenue was only $1.38 billion. It has increased over four times since then, and it is likely to continue growing.
There are many reasons daters today might prefer apps and sites to starting with real life interactions or being set up by mutual friends. They can see who they will be going out with ahead of time, and they can look at a person’s social media accounts and get an idea of their interests, their job, and more. Daters also don’t have to waste their time going out with someone if they can see online that they have different political or religious views. It can be much easier to weed through incompatible people, and it is much more convenient to look online when many of us have busy work schedules and might not come across many strangers in everyday life.
Along with all the upsides of online dating come plenty of cons as well. People tend to be much more superficial when they see a photo than they would be when confronted with someone in real life. A person who might be charming and hilarious in person might not be able to show that through an online profile. There is also the danger of creating an idea of someone in your head before you get to meet them in person. It can be disappointing when they are not what you expected, and there is always a risk of catfishing as well.
Never worked for one but had the misfortune of finding out a behind the scenes thing that really pissed me off and could have ended my relationship. If you've previously used Tinder please read this, it could save your a*s if you're in an abusive relationship.
I was on Tinder a few years ago and met my then-partner at the time on it. We hit it off and started dating officially. I'd heard that uninstalling the app wouldn't delete your account so I made sure to be overkill when wiping my profile - I deleted all my photos and bio, THEN made it private, THEN deleted my account, THEN uninstalled the app.
Seven months later my partner's friend came across my Tinder profile. According to him the photo was my public Facebook profile pic and there was nothing written for the bio. **I had never reactivated my profile!** I had zero knowledge of this! I tried to figure out what the f**k was happening and discovered Tinder had automatically grabbed my Facebook info and used it to recreate my account and make it public. Thank F**K my Facebook profile photo was a very lovey-dovey couples pic of the two of us so that was what Tinder used - my partner knew me well and that I detested cheaters so he trusted me fully. He also knew I wasn't stupid enough to use a couples photo of us as my only Tinder pic, and that I would never have an empty bio. I also never put my job info on my Facebook so thankfully Tinder had left that blank. So when my then-partner tipped me off about this f****d up thing Tinder had done I was proper horrified because it turned out all my work clients and friends and whoever else that had been on Tinder must have come across that profile and assumed I was some shameless cheater.
I wanted to make sure it wasn't a fake profile someone else was controlling so I redownloaded Tinder in front of my partner and logged in - to discover I was logging in to the exact almost-empty profile his friend had described.
It turns out Tinder does that to anyone who forgot to restrict third party app access on Facebook. At the time that was a very buried Facebook setting you needed to be on desktop to deactivate.
I went online and tried to post in a few places to warn people (I'm really big on online privacy) but I just got called a cheater who was trying to cover her tracks. No one believed me at all. I just got heaps of s**t for it even though my partner was 100% on my side and I just wanted to try and help.
I ended up deleting those posts because nobody believed me and I deeply regret that - can you imagine if someone in an abusive relationship had that happen to them?? I should have left the posts up so that could have googled and found it. My partner (we broke up years later but we remain friends) was a good man and he knew me inside out and that I would never cheat nor do it in such a ridiculous and counterproductive way. But if I'd been trapped in a relationship with someone controlling and abusive... No f*****g way would they have ever believed this story because let's be honest it sounds pretty far fetched. Tinder automatically creating an account and making it public without ever warning the user... No one would believe them. This all took place back in 2015 and at the time I found two other forum posts discussing other people's trouble with it happening to them so I'm not sure if it's been changed in the last five years or not but still....
RESTRICT THIRD PARTY ACCESS IN YOUR FACEBOOK SETTINGS, PEOPLE.
Edit: I'm really f*****g over the messages I've been getting from incels accusing me of lying or making up fake information about Tinder deactivating any profile that isn't active for a week. First, that's complete b******t because I've had times where I hadn't logged in for over a month but everything was still the same. Second, I have no reason to lie about something this old using such a crazy sounding tale. Third, there's plenty of other Redditors responding with their own stories of it happening to them. F**k off and stop being so nasty over someone who is just trying to help others and spread the word of yet ANOTHER app that is violating your privacy without many people knowing.
I used to moderate OK Cupid. The amount of unsolicited d**k pictures men would send women, not even accompanied by any words was horrifying. I mean, you'd expect it because online dating is a cesspit but the sheer amount would still surprise you.
I had to look at each reported picture and say " Yes, that's a penis".
It can also be hard to discern if another person is being completely honest when online dating. Outright catfishing a person is obviously wrong, and it can lead to some dangerous and scary situations. But it can be common for daters to avoid being completely transparent about their intentions as well. In fact, one Pew Research Center study found that 71% of online daters think “people lying about themselves to appear more desirable” is very common on these apps and sites. Those lies can be anything from, “Yeah, I’m a doctor” to “Yes, I want a serious relationship” to “No, I don’t have any kids”, but no matter how large the lies are, they are frustrating for daters who are trying to take the experience seriously. Half of online daters also say it’s very common for people to set up fake accounts to scam other people, and 48% say that it is common to be sent unsolicited sexually explicit messages and images. People can always be rude in person as well, but unfortunately, there are usually less consequences for bad behavior online.
I moderated a lesbian dating site for a short while and about 70% of the users were male fetishist, who would DM these women, thinking they would change their sexuality to do weird kink things with them. I don't kink shame, these things were legitimately really weird, a lot of those DMs were straight up creepy.
I don’t know if it’s changed but (with a classic not me but) my roommate used to work at one of the big dating apps and one of the issues they had was that their algorithm changed at one point to more emphatically enforce dating “pools” where people who got more right swipes would only see profiles of people who get more right swipes etc. With the idea being that it would put people in similar “tiers” to actually match.
One big issue they were having was ... well racial “preferences” or sexual racism being pretty amplified as a result. Black women and Asian men especially were being overwhelmingly shuffled down the algorithm because there are a lot of people who will basically automatically swipe left on them as soon as they see they’re a Black woman or an Asian man, even if they were hot as hell.
Also apparently, the issue was less severe among women seeking women but even more extreme (to an insane factor) among men seeking men.
We used to create fake accounts and chat with users. It was everything from someone having a premium account that wasn't getting responses to bored employees.
Although online dating has completely changed the game, many people don’t seem to view it as an inherently positive thing. In fact, 50% of daters say that online dating and dating apps have had neither a positive nor negative impact on dating and relationships. Slightly over a quarter of daters actually say that it has had a mostly negative effect. But the stigma that once came along with meeting a significant other online is starting to fade. 54% of daters say that relationships that start online can be just as successful as those that start in person. So if you’re marrying your partner who you first met on Bumble, don’t feel like you need to make up a fake story about how you bumped into each other at a coffee shop. You can be honest and tell your loved ones that you decided to meet at that coffee shop through a Bumble exchange.
Ok so I didn't work with a dating company per se... But I helped software engineers optimize their profiles.
Men get VERY FEW matches, regardless of how good their profile is.
Women get A LOT of matches, but most of those matches are useless.
Edit: this has gotten a lot of attention, so I wanted to share my basic advice.
1) Don't try to appeal mildly to EVERYONE. Appeal strongly to a small subset of people. Emphasize who you are.
2) Show don't tell -- what makes a person want to date you? Will you impress them with your volunteer work? Will you bring them fun places? Will you make them laugh?
3) Get good photos. If you have to, get a friend with a good camera to take photos of you multiple times over a day with several changes of clothes.
4) be brutally honest. Do you need to go to the dentist because your teeth are gray? Go. Do you need to get a haircut? Go somewhere that charges $50 a haircut and tell them to do what they want (if male). Do your clothes fit? Ask a fashionable friend. Remember: people are judging you on your appearance as much as you are judging them. They can't see you're kind of funny or interesting. They can see if you're well groomed and making an effort.
Any more advice and I charge $50 USD an hour ;)
I worked as a software engineer for a dating site in the mid-2000s. Literally every single female profile was fake, they were “generated” profiles using arbitrary data and paid-for lewd photos from various sources.
The sites we ran targeted guys paying for the site. Meanwhile if you signed up as a female, the site would be free — simply because the ratio guys to real-girls was so huge.
The fake female profiles would also message newly signed-up guys profiles almost straight away, giving the guys a confidence boost. They’d often message straight back, then after a few messages (which purposely got more “heated”, over a few different profiles), the guys’ account would get a notification saying to pay to send more messages.
If the guys’ profile didn’t pay, the site would continue to send messages from different fake profiles, all of which were behind a pay-wall in order to see more photos or reply at all.
The refund policy was super short, so if & by the time the guys’ profile realised he was just chatting to AI profiles, he’d request a refund, but often denied due to refund policy being short that he “agreed to” at sign-up.
By the time a given “site” was commonly known as being a scam, we’d spin up another site, different name, logo & design and repeat the process. This went on for months/years with 100’s of sites under various names.
TL;DR it was toxic as hell, hated it. Glad I quit.
I worked for Successful Singles in 2001. It was a dating agency. We cold called customers to get them to spend $3000 to be “professionally matched”. We would get some $$ if they showed up; we got more if they spent $ on the service. They claimed to have a "highly technological matching computer". This was actually two high school girls in a room with two filing cabinets, one labeled male, one female. All leads came from a fake profile on match that said “send me your phone number so we can talk”.
I personally shut the place down after I was fired unlawfully. Called Fox 25 news undercover and Mike Bodet came out with a camera in a purse. Place closed two days after the report.
One positive thing about how common dating apps are now is that there is something out there for everyone. Sure, there might not be millions of users on each app, but they’re growing! Over the years, Tinder has commonly been associated with hook-ups and casual dating, but it’s not your only option today. There’s Bumble, which puts control into the palms of women, and Hinge, which allows users to curate their profiles more easily and claims it’s “designed to be deleted” when you meet your match. There is also Her, which is specifically for lesbian, bisexual and queer women, and Coffee Meets Bagel, which sends users curated matches each day at noon. There are even more specific niche dating apps like Veggly, for vegans and vegetarians, and Nuit, which is based on astrological compatibility. No matter what you’re looking for, if you can’t find it in person, there is probably an app for it.
I worked for a dating app for a few years in a role that was pretty high up where I was privy to almost all of the inner workings of the app. I won't say which one, but I think my experience probably is applicable to other apps as well.
1. We had a murder on our platform. The top of the company got interviewed as witnesses. TBH there wasn't really anything we did our could have done about it, but it is crazy to think about.
2. One of our members got scammed out of six figures, and there was nothing we could do about it either. She was older, and lonely, and the person used an attractive picture and kind words to play off of that. If you let them, people will find any way to scam and abuse those who are lonely. Some of our systems for detecting and removing scammers and spammers were far more advanced than our systems for actually creating matches. Also we found older women were actually the most likely to be scammed. You can make your own conclusions from that.
3. To that point, the algorithms are less sophisticated than you think. They mostly consist of educated guesses, and then trial and error to see what creates the most engagement. This engagement could be anything from returning to the app, to sending messages. The main goal of the algorithm is always to get you to pay, never to actually ensure you meet somebody in real life, as much as we tried to lie to ourselves that it was.
4. No dating professionals or psychological professionals were ever consulted when we were building our software, software that basically plays cupid and changes the courses of peoples live. I kept thinking it would be a good idea to have experts and scientists tell us what determines attraction and sets up a relationship for success, but nobody was ever interested in hearing that. Instead we made our own choices about how to build this thing.
5. I met hundreds of our users in person, and they were all pretty great people. Many of them were willing to come in and talk because they were struggling with actually finding people and matches on our app. It was sad that our software was failing them, some of the best, most lovely people, really struggled to find a partner.
6. Almost every dating app has a significantly larger percentage of men than women.
7. We toyed with doing a test of "blind dating" where you couldn't see a users profile picture until after a match, but that failed really quickly. People truly are superficial.
8. Contrary to many users on this thread, we were a large dating app and we didn't actually create any fake accounts. We were certainly proud of that. That being said, there are some that do it, and it's relatively obvious when they do. The profile is usually a very attractive person, somebody who.... probably has no need for dating apps, and it's usually shown very early in the queue, and the photos tend to be of "instagram influencer" level quality. That's the biggest giveaway.
I can likely answer questions too provided they are general enough.
I wasn’t an employee but I was contracted by Match to run beer tasting events for them back when I did stand up and worked in craft beer. They split the groups for each event into age groups: 20-30, 30-40, 50+
The 20-30 group tended to be pretty chill for the most part, aside from there always being one super awkward dude who never spoke with any women and instead spent all the social portions trying to talk about craft beer with me. I’d always try to gently nudge them toward the single women and try to introduce them but they would usually either keep following me around or retreat to a corner and look at their phone.
The 30-40 group was an absolute nightmare. Regardless of gender everyone had this look of frenzied desperation in their eyes. I don’t know if it was about biological clocks or what but no one cared about the class itself and would just latch onto the first person they met regardless of chemistry (which there usually wasn’t).
The 50+ group was my absolute favorite. Everyone was chill, there was zero tension, they all just showed up, effortlessly made at least ten new friends and crushed craft beer for a couple hours.
Female dating app users tend to sign off for the day several hours earlier than male users, which results in men who login after ~10PM generally not encountering many logged in female users.
In order to keep these men feeling like there is genuine female activity on the site (and thus continuing to pay for memberships), dating apps can pay for entire armies of "ghosts."
Ghost profiles use photos of real women, but are operated by men, typically young men in their late teens and early 20s living in France, Serbia, Ukraine, and Russia.
A single ghost employee can manage dozens of female profiles, communicating with hundreds of men, for days or months at a time.
The ghosts' general goal is to keep the men hooked on the site and still paying, but there are several possible unexpected consequences of this activity, none of which have been studied as far as I know:
1. Getting genuine responses, even from fake users, may help with feelings of loneliness.
2. A lot of these men start messaging the women with fairly gross or sexual messages (it's usually late at night after all, when the men are bored, lonely, and horny). However, while genuine female users might take offense and block these men, the ghosts will instead roll with it and respond to messages like "nice mouthwatering tits" with "haha thank youuu. how are you feeling today? did you have a good day?" By turning the conversation around and encouraging the men to talk about their feelings, these ghosts may inadvertently be saving actual women from having to do this emotional labor.
3. While there's a splendid irony in a secret cabal of men being paid to covertly perform emotional labor for other men, it's fully possible that these ghosts are actually setting millions of men up for rude awakenings when they try to use similar language in real life with actual women who aren't paid to put up with their overly sexualized nonsense.
Being able to order dates like we order takeout on Uber Eats is a bit strange, but we cannot deny how efficient they are. Bustle writer Natalia Lusinski wrote a piece detailing some of the best features of dating apps, and she raises some interesting points. “Dating apps have the portability factor, so you can use them while you’re on the bus or waiting for an appointment,” says New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini. “Because they’re so easy to use on phones, you can take them with you and use them all over the place. Your life can be a lot more flexible with these portable apps. They can be big time savers and success builders in dating.”
I tested the communication feature for a dating company that shall remain nameless. Nothing unusual in itself. The message exchange function needed to be flawless (glitches ironed out etc.) Except in this case, the requirement was to establish a relationship with a user (usually 3 on the go simultaneously) and keep it going for about 2 months. Fake identity was used of course.
Months! I researched the person, likes, dislikes, interestes and so on. A whole fake relationship was build. Then, after the test run was over, ghost them, delete my profile and move on to the next subject. It was unnerving. Testing in this case is usually hit and run, but to latch on to a user and deceive them at length was just too creepy.
Couldn't figure out the reasoning behind that. Put me off dating sites for good.
I work for a cyber security company. These companies protections are a joke. Most people know how you can look in the code to unscramble your likes on tinder. But we also found a way to see everything they signed up with. Their location, phone number, and where they were at that moment. Bumble the verified profile means s**t. That’s what my team was in charge of. I got verified profiles of about 10 different celebrities within 30 minutes. That blue check means nothing.
Most dating sites and apps are owned by one company The Match Group. They have a near monopoly. I think bumble is one of the few not owned by them.
Dating apps also usually allow users to see when they have mutual friends. So if you see a profile you’re interested in, you can message a mutual friend and ask how well they know the person or if they know much about their dating history. “It’s great to see that you have mutual friends in common (on a dating app) because it automatically creates a sense of comfort and trust,” Tina Wie, VP of Marketing for Three Day Rule, told Bustle. “The stronger your mutual friend connection (i.e., first-degree over third-degree) and the context in which you know them (i.e., they went to business school with your high school buddy or used to work with your college bestie), the more likely you’ll feel that the person you connected with is a normal, interesting person. You’ll also have something in common to talk about instantly when you’re first communicating, which is nice.”
Pick one! This was back in 2010, but we had bots acting as women sending messages to men, we spammed people on all social media sites and via text with alluring messages to get them to signup, we stored everyone's password in plaintext and used it to login to their own email (about 50% of the passwords were the same password they'd use for their email) and target everyone on their contact list. We spammed so much, we spun off a second business just to handle all of the captchas, and that's the only part of the business that still exists today (deathbycaptcha).
I worked at one of the large sites years ago and here is what I found out.
* Guys cannot comment more than a 'hey', 'hi', 'hello' during first message.
* People are racist, way more than I thought.
* People get scammed often. Lonely people are vulnerable and get scammed out of money and gifts.
* D**k picks are everywhere.
* Sports (basketball, football, etc), TV shows and weather affect when people sign up for the site. More so on sports than anything else.
* Request for information on divorce trials happen often.
* Marketing teams are really good at their job. The things they factor in to get you to sign up is an insane science.
* Ex-girlfriends or ex-wife's would find out there ex was on a site and would email and call smearing them. Saying they went on a date and were raped by them. Some really ugly s**t.
* I was also surprised at the large amount of activity around political centers. Washington DC and states capitols would spike up around 11am-1PM local time. I assume this was during lunch but still surprised they were hot spots.
* Tall good looking people like to date other tall good looking people. If you're tall and good looking you will have your pick of the 1%. This fact goes to both guys and girls. Take this into consideration when you are looking at profiles and be realistic. Edit: girls, if you're not 5'8 or over you're not considered tall in the dating world. Luckily most guys will overlook this but remember that guy that's over 6'ft is also getting hit on by girls closer to his height.
I used to work at Bumble, although this was about 4-5 years ago. Globally, about 90% of the users are men, so there is a huge male to female disparity, although it's not that bad on a per country basis (for some countries).
The most depressing stat though was the histogram of word count in messages. Something like 91% of opening messages were just one word "hey", and ~85% of conversations were just one exchange long ("hey" -> no reply ever).
Looking at human, digital mating habits splayed out in data science form was really depressing.
Some people have asked me a lot of the same questions so am providing answers here:
1) When I worked there, we were NOT allowed to read the content of chats, only gather metadata about them (word count, number of exchanges), but we could not build models which analysed the content of chats (this chat was about food, this one was about holidays, this one was sexual). This was due to stringent GDPR draft rules/TOS/privacy rules at the time, and Bumble took user privacy very seriously, so chats were never read or analysed for content, not even by automated models. However this was 4-5 years ago, and they may have amended their TOS since then to allow it, or they might be analysing content for non-GDPR countries (USA). Therefore, as others have pointed out, we don't know for sure that the word used most often was actually "hey", it could have been "hello" or "howdy". In the office, we always assumed it was "hey" due to our own experiences on the app. But we did know with certainty that ~91% of first messages used only a single word, so we guessed it was "hey".
2) The countries which had better male-female ratios (which I can remember) were the Nordic ones, Sweden and Norway were close to 50/50, and for a time, one of them even had more women on the app than men. Not sure how it is now.
4) All these numbers are pulled from my memory of what I saw 4-5 years ago, and thus are not canon law or academic paper worthy.
Dating apps have long been much appreciated by introverts and workaholics who have a hard time meeting others organically, but especially in this newly formed “pandemic world” we live in, meeting people on our phones can be a great alternative to going out. If work was one of the only places you met new people prior to 2020, but now you’ve been working from home for over 2 years, you might need a little help getting dates. Plus, why take the risk of going out on a date and getting Covid if you are not sure about the person ahead of time. Meeting someone on an app and having the opportunity to chat with them virtually or on the phone first can ensure that once you meet in person, it is worth the risk of getting ill. (Or, you know, just make sure you both get tested before the date!)
I ran operations for an online dating company (notably not affiliated with Match). From database analytics I can tell you a few things. Men initiate contact around 80% of the time in straight matchmaking, and if you are a woman looking to date other women and you simply initiate contact with another woman you have a good chance of success simply because it's very very very common for women to match but then neither initiates contact. IIRC we were able to determine that it takes on average about 3 dates before sex happens (I don't recall how we worked that out, I'm not a data analyst, but presumably it was some keyword based algorithm looking at chat messages).
We got so many requests for information from the police that we had an informal system with them, to save them from wasting time getting warrants for information about people who we didn't have data on, they would ask about a particular name/email/whatever other identifier and we would just say yes we have data about them or no we don't, and if we did they'd then go get the warrant to get a copy of it.
The other thing I can tell you from our analytics, that really shouldn't be at all surprising, is to **get some decent profile photos.** Go get your talented friend or just hire a photographer to take some really nicely-lit well-composed photos of yourself and watch your match rate soar.
I worked for an online dating site 10 years ago on the IT side, here is a few things I remember:
-Most of the female users were fake. We would import thousands of fake profiles all the time to prop up the numbers and let the men think there were all of these women on the platform.
-Customer complaints were fun. The staff in that department were insane because they had seen and heard everything. The only way you got a refund is if you figured out all of the women were fake.
-We paid a local company to produce some “content” for the fake women. I had to move the video editors to a separate part of the office to edit videos because it was too distracting.
-We did a video of the week at our weekly meetings where videos that were complained about were shown to staff as a morale booster. It was pretty funny but sad.
-We weren’t allowed to use the dating site if we were employees. A programmer got fired because he was contacting women directly because he could look them up directly.
Oddly enough I met my girlfriend at the time on an online dating site, but through a competitor.
Worked for Grindr a few years ago and any profile pic using that puppy tongue/ears Snapchat filter was an underage boy 98% of the time.
Whether you love or hate dating apps, we hope you’re enjoying this fascinating list of juicy behind-the-scenes details. The secret underbelly of dating sites must have many more secrets to reveal, but we’ll start with these today. Be sure to keep upvoting the stories that make you want to either immediately delete your Tinder account or inspire you to finally create one. Then let us know in the comments if you have any wild stories from your own online dating experiences. And if you have ever worked for any of these sites, I’m sure your fellow pandas would be dying to read the secrets you can reveal as well. And if you’re out there looking for love, godspeed!
I used to work at a dating site in the UK. I was on the tech side but most of the staff was a group of young women who manually approved images and text changes to profiles. There was about 10-15 of them and the turnover rate was about one a week. The work was just so mind numbing.
About 10 times a day they'ed shout that they'd "got another one". Which basically meant one of the hundreds of thousands of men on the site has differently thought "I've thought of something nobody else has tried, I'll upload a picture of my c**k" at which point they'd all laugh at it, cancel the profile upload and go back to reading about people's choice of pets or whatever else they thought was interesting
Semi-dating app moderator.
There's a few social-media sites like facebook in "this country", and I had to moderate one less well known. This site was mostly used by adults/elderly and almost abandoned by youth since there's a way better site for the same needs this one provides.
So to say, I was a backdoor moderator who would check up on different things, starting with uploaded pictures/videos, groups, certain accounts and ending with any flagged stuff.
I felt really sorry for way too frequent sexism and women abuse on that site. In short, all I've seen is that men (mostly of certain age and nationality) were messaging women they "liked" and straight away asked for sex . This happened all day all the time in a extremely huge amounts. Keep in mind, this site is a niche and I could only imagine what is actually happening behind curtains in more popular social media sites.
I've seen some crazy a*s s**t there. The world is f****d. Just need to deal with it and keep living.
Managed and worked on a short term personal security detail for one of the C listers of one of these in L.A. Not mentioning by name bc i’m not trying to get doxxed but there is a huge problem with people getting stealthed w/ HIV and other veneral disases, as well as being mugged or robbed while f*****g about on these apps and the victims will threaten to lash out at the company violently or even show up at the offices demanding to speak to someone in charge while in the initial anger stage despite the company having no personal hand in the situation beyond arranging the medium for which to meet.
Apparently the company can’t even send out a warning about the suspected user who is accused of stealthing to LE or public health due to counsel advising that it’s slander with anything less than bona fide evidence of that person being positive for the disease/committing a crime against the other and/or that person meeting the other and/or having intercourse. The companies do cooperate with law enforcement on a case by case basis IIRC but they do have the right to clam up and wait for a subpoena before they share user info/chat logs, etc.
Meanwhile there are multiple people who have been robbed of thousands of dollars, given a disease and many more victims waiting to be had while the company sits on it’s a*s and lets the complaints pile up.
Even then it’s a whole messy area where it’s cheaper to not even get involved. Even banning the user from the service involves some amount of steps.
I don’t blame the victims for being livid but what a whole-a*s-f*****g mess. Got a few still images of the people we were keeping an eye out for and they looked like completely normal guys and girls who just got pushed to their breaking point, all bc they trusted someone from a dating app.
Could happen to anyone, honestly.
Note: this post originally had 58 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.