Saturday, February 26, 2011

Man Discovers His Online Girlfriend of 2.5 Years Is Fake—After Paying Her $200,000

A 48-year-old man in Naperville, Illinois must be crying his eyes out right now because he was recently finally forced to face reality about a few things.

You see, apparently he called the police because he feared that his online girlfriend of 2.5 years had been kidnapped a little while back. But instead of investigators rushing to rescue a damsel in distress, they informed the man that she didn't even exist—and that the drivers license photo "she" had shown him in the past was just an image from a sample Florida license.
Sad news, right?
Oh, but it gets worse:
The man told police he had wired $200,000 to the woman during the relationship to different bank accounts in Nigeria, Malaysia, England and the United States.
Broken heart and empty wallet. Youch.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Britney Spears Surfs PlentyOfFish Dating Site in Her Latest Music Video

Click here to read Britney Spears Surfs PlentyOfFish Dating Site in Her Latest Music Video
Some critics are calling Britney Spears' latest single Hold It Against Me 'genuine art.' Others, 'a total visual assault.' All I know is that the song is the pits, and that she's accepted a lot of product placement moolah from companies including Sony and the PlentyOfFish dating site. Yep, the very same site that Lady Gaga made famous in her Telephone vid, and the very same site that was hacked last month by some Argentinian. [Gawker.TV] More »

Monday, February 14, 2011

13 Signs Your Dating Site Might Not Be a Keeper

By Nitrozac and Snaggy

The Valentine's Day Survival Guide

The Valentine's Day Survival Guide

Valentine's Day can be a wonderful time to celebrate love; it can also be a hellish disaster waiting to happen. Here's how to hack Valentine's Day to make it a night you'll actually want to remember—whether you've got someone to spend it with or not.

Note: We know some of you feel Valentine's Day is a crappy, commercialized, load of BS—and that's totally fine. While this guide is geared towards surviving V-Day, it's not about following the traditional path. It's also applicable to your next big date and a look at how to handle being alone. We don't dive into the subject of love too often here on Lifehacker, but today we're here to help you out regardless of what your romantic situation may be.

I've had just about every Valentine's Day experience you can imagine: I've been broken up with, had a first date, gotten sick, visited places you wouldn't speak of in polite company, and even had a great evening of romance. While Valentine's Day can be a lot of fun, it's prone to disaster. A lot of that potential disaster can easily be avoided, however, by just managing your expectations, preparing for problems, and planning your day a little differently.


Valentine's Day can be enjoyed by anyone under the right pretext, but it was designed for people in relationships. If you've been lucky enough to find yourself in love this Valentine's Day, here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you make sure you don't screw it up.

Don't Expect Romance After Dinner

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideThe traditional Valentine's Day date generally consists of a nice, romantic date...and then falling into a food coma the minute you get home. There's nothing wrong with having a really nice, delicious, fatty meal on rare, special occasions, but when that meal forces you into unconsciousness before your evening is officially over you might want to reconsider your plans. Sex advice columnist Dan Savage repeatedly recommends—even cautions—couples to save the food for last. If you're planning on eating a big, heavy meal for your romantic night out, you ought to take care of the romance, sex, or whatever else you plan to do beforehand.


Try Something Different

You don't have to buy gifts and go out for dinner for Valentine's Day. You can do whatever you want. While you're probably aware of that, there are two things potentially stopping you: the expectation of tradition and the absence of alternative ideas. If you talk to your significant other, however, you might be able to figure out a date you'd both enjoy that doesn't involve the same thing that pretty much everyone else is doing. Here are some alternative ideas:

Be a Bad Valentine

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideOne of the best dates I've ever had involved buying a large bag of french fries and sneaking into a tall building to eat, talk, and watch the city of Boston from the sky. While this may or may not sound like something you want to do with your date, there's one thing you should consider: mischief. Being a little bad by yourself doesn't have the same effect as being bad with others. You don't want to do anything that's truly bad, but just something where you could get caught and in a little bit of trouble if you did. The rush of going through that experience together will make it more fun and memorable. It will help create a bond. If there's ever some safe, harmless trouble you wanted to make but never did, Valentine's Day might be a good opportunity.
Photo by Jill M.

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideCelebrate What You Love

Romance shouldn't necessarily be born out of gifts and food. It should be about expressing love and celebrating the love you have with somebody. Sit down with your significant other and make a list of things you both really enjoy together, then make the night about those things. These things can be food and gifts, but try to think about activities you enjoy together and the reasons you love/care about each other. Find ways to celebrate those things rather than simply going the traditional route.




Try Something New

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideYour date should be about creating a positive memorable experience that you can look back on fondly, and trying something neither of you have experienced before is often a good way to accomplish this. Try not to make it something you've necessarily always wanted to do, but something neither of you have really considered trying before and do not have a specific attachment to in any way. The idea is for you both to experience something new together and to bond over how much you either love or hate it. If it's truly new and you don't really have any prior feelings about what you're about to try, the night won't be ruined if you find out one of you likes it or doesn't. Even if you both hate it, you'll have plenty to talk about afterwards. Be a little strange, pick something you'd never thought you'd do, and do it together.


The Valentine's Day Survival GuideIf a fancy, romantic dinner is the Valentine's Day you want to have then you might want to consider having it on a day that isn't quite Valentine's Day. Restaurant reservations are difficult to find if you don't plan fairly far in advance and, with so much restaurant traffic, you have a higher likelihood of getting screwed out of your reservation altogether. If you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, you'll have a much easier time shifting Valentine's Day a few days earlier or later. The day has no real personal significance to you (like, say, your birthday), so try not to get hung up on it. Of course, many people have a traditional dinner and a nice evening despite the hassle it sometimes brings, but if you want to avoid a potential mess just reschedule for a different day.


Prepare for Disaster

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent disaster, so you have to prepare for it. Often times being able to quickly solve a problem can lead to something unexpectedly better. You may even find yourself feeling glad something went wrong because it turned out better in the end. Here are some suggestions:
  • Have a Backup Plan - If you've got a very specific evening planned out, consider how it might go wrong and what you can do about it. If you have a backup plan ready when/if your primary plan is met with failure, you can continue the night smoothly without too much hassle. This may mean making an extra reservation, picking a backup restaurant you know won't have a wait, thinking of two activities or places with emotional significance in case one doesn't work out, and even planning an alternative night at home should going out just turn into a huge disaster on its own.
  • Use Your Smartphone - While you probably don't want to take out the smartphone if you don't have to, it can provide you with easy access to information about entertainment, restaurants, and other activities near you should something go wrong. Have a page or folder dedicated to Valentine's Day emergency apps so you can spring into action the moment disaster strikes.
  • Anticipate Delays and Unexpected Problems - If you're going out, you need to leave early. How early? That's something you can plan for by checking your local traffic on Google Maps and looking for advisories on your local department of transportation web site. You can also check local event sites (or even local pages on Yelp and City Search) to see what's going on near the area you'll be so you can find a place to park your car (if you're driving). Figure out what could go wrong and account for enough time to endure it. You probably won't be able to avoid the inevitable traffic of vehicles and people, but you can at least figure out how much it's going to affect your night.


If you're single, Valentine's Day can seem especially obnoxious. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean you can't have a good time. Here are some tips for spending it alone and with other single friends so you can stave off loneliness and don't have to miss out on the party.

Make It Your Day

We've talked about how many little things make you happier than a few big ones, and you have no better day than Valentine's Day to put that into practice. If you're alone this Valentine's Day, break out all your favorite things. Plan out a night where you get to do all the things you love to do that don't require other people. Grab your favorite foods, enjoy your favorite books, TV, movies, and games, make something you've always wanted to make, and just do what you want to do. Being alone is not a bad thing and it can be pretty great if you learn to embrace it. You just need to think of things that you like to do and learn to be happy when you're by yourself. Just because you're not with someone on Valentine's Day doesn't mean the holiday has to be horrible and sad. Some years you'll be with someone and some years you won't. That's how it works, and every one of those years can be fun if you allow it.

Be Somebody's Entertainment

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideIf you can't go out and enjoy some entertainment yourself, just be entertainment for somebody else. One year, despite having a date, I performed in a Valentine's Day concert. Sadly for my date, it was the highlight of the evening. What you do isn't as important as the joy you get from doing it. Figure out something you love to do and then go out and do it somewhere that you'll be appreciated. For most, Valentine's Day is about feeling appreciated. When you get that feeling from a group of people, it's pretty great. If you think you don't have the requisite talent to go perform for any kind of audience, formally or not, you can always participate in the free hugs campaign, do a little volunteer work, or do something for others in another more traditional way.

Organize a V-Day Group Outing

The Valentine's Day Survival GuideSome people have a tradition of spending Valentine's Day with their other single friends. This is a great way to still go out and have a good time, but isn't an option for everyone. Assuming you do have friends, or at least some acquaintances, you're not out of luck if there's no platonic date available for you. Even if it's a bit last-minute, invite as many people as you can to a Valentine's Day outing for singles. Don't just invite friends you know well and like, but invite people you still need to get to know. The worst-case scenario is that they'll think it's stupid and decide not to come. On the other hand, you might make a few lonely people very happy to have something to do. It's a good opportunity to make new friends out of your acquaintances, and you might even end up meeting your date for Valentine's Day 2012.


You don't want to forget about your family and friends regardless of whether or not you're in a relationship. Contact the people you care about to say hi. Let them know you care. You don't have to do this under the pretense of Valentine's Day, but it's a good excuse to remind people that they matter to you. You never know when someone's going to need that reminder, but there's rarely a bad time.

Hazards of Space Would Make Sex Up There Tricky

Here's some future Valentine's Day news: Future space colonists would likely be unable to procreate because of the ionizing radiation that permeates the solar system, according to a paper by NASA researchers.

Radiation would probably sterilize female eggs as well as reduce male sperm counts, making it difficult if not impossible to conceive in space. If people were able to conceive, the developing embryo's DNA could be damaged, causing serious birth defects. And even if space travelers give birth to a healthy baby, the newborn girls will likely be sterile, preventing the continuation of the colony.

The researchers noted that current space shield technology is not advanced enough to protect space travelers from harmful radiation, especially from solar flares and galactic cosmic rays. Once Mars colonists were on the Red Planet, they could conceivably use Mars rock to build shelters, but after nine months of traveling, it may be too late.

The paper is by Tore Straume, a radiation biophysicist at NASA's Ames Research Center; Steve Blattnig of NASA Langley Research Center; and Cary Zeitlin of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. It appears in the online Journal of Cosmology, which has published some provocative papers about space colonization in the past several months.

Granted, the likelihood of sterilization does not mean Marstronauts should engage in any consequence-free extraterrestrial rendezvous. Au contraire, says a companion paper in the journal, which outlines the special complications of sexual relationships in space. That paper, by Rhawn Joseph of the Brain Research Laboratory, suggests women astronauts may be in danger of rape; that sexual tensions could lead to violence (as evidenced by the case of former astronaut Lisa Nowak); and that the act itself might be quite complicated in zero gravity.

NASA is mum on whether any astronauts have ever had sex in space, and the agency points to a strict code of conduct that upholds 'relationships of trust' among astronauts at all times. But the affair between Nowak and shuttle pilot William Oefelein proves it happens on Earth, for sure. As the Independent points out, the only husband-and-wife team on the same mission - Jan Davis and Mark Lee - are also mum as to whether they joined the 62-mile high club.

Is OkCupid's Dating Data Safe With

PC WORLD - Feb 12 - OkCupid's fans were not reassured by the immediate disappearance of an OkTrends blog entry from last April. OkCupid's CEO, Sam Yagan, says that he decided to remove the blog post on his own, deeming it to contain inaccurate assumptions about the other sites' data. He also maintains that OkCupid will continue to operate separately from and be free for most users. OkCupid is extremely data driven. The site's OkTrends blog employs sophisticated statistical analysis. Now all of that data is in the hands of's parent company, InterActive Corp (IAC). According to's privacy policy, the company reserves the right to share personally identifiable information with 'other IAC businesses'. However, Yagan insists that OkCupid's privacy policy--which limits the amount of data it shares with third parties--will continue to govern the data that the site collects. 'We are not planning to share any personally identifiable information with anyone,' he says. 'Just because we were acquired doesn't mean we're handing over any user data.' FULL ARTICLE @ PC WORLD

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Cheat Online—#dating

Cheating on your significant other used to be simple: reserve the hotel room under an alias, pay in cash. Today, a digital footprint can be as telling as lipstick on the collar. But if you're smart, you can get away with it.

Disclaimer: You shouldn't do this! It's easier (and decent-er) to end an unfulfilling relationship than to creep around without getting caught. But if you're up for the challenge, you heartbreaker, there are ways around the old ball and chain. Here are 5 tips for not getting caught with your pants down or with your true relationship status up.

Create a fake identity
This may sound rudimentary, but it's surprising how many idiots use their real personal information in elicit dealings. **cough cough Chris Lee cough** You don't need to produce an alter ego or anything, but you should create an alter email that doesn't scream your real full name. Make it something vague like chris123. And because a solo first name looks incredibly sketchy, set the account to display the username as the return address. Thinking of doing the same thing for your social networks? Think again, dumbass. The cheater in you doesn't social network—that's a social minefield that can get you discovered in a skipped heartbeat.

Stay away from dating sites
Any seasoned online dater knows that in order to get attention, you've got to upload a profile pic. But/Of course, once you do post a profile pic, it's only a matter of time before the site matches you with one of your S/O's friends. Bus-ted! Instead, find someone to cheat with onAshley Madison (tagline: "Life is short. Have an affair."), a matchmaking site specifically for lovable scumbags like you. Or, try a more rudimentary site like Craigslist to find your on-the-side booty (Pro-tip, have them send a pic first. And don't be a congressman.).

Use a public computer
Picture this nightmare: your special friend starts typing in to shop for a bicycle or a gilded picture frame, and by the time s/he hits that first "S," the browser auto-fills "craigslist personals, women seeking men..." Game over. You want to cruise the online underworld stealthily? Use a mess of random public computers. Get your coffee at an Internet cafe (they exist!), go to the library, maybe drop in on an Apple Store. Sure, you could just wipe your history on your home machine, or lock your machine down with biometric access, but the best way not to arouse suspicion is to act as though you have nothing to hide.

How to Cheat Online—and Get Away with It
How to Cheat Online—and Get Away with It
How to Cheat Online—and Get Away with It
How to Cheat Online—and Get Away with It

Get a private line
You do NOT want that call from "Mistress Sheba" popping onto the screen while the love of your life is playing Angry Birds on your phone, and discovering an affair by inspecting a phone bill is not only easy as hell, it's a cliche. Get a burner, and use it only for callin' booty. Obviously, you don't want a second set of bills coming to your house, so make it a pre-paid job (see: burner). But get something nice—you don't want your other lover thinking your a cheapskate. Or a drug dealer. Might we recommend Boost Mobile's Blackberry Curve? Its lovely keyboard not only makes sexting a breeze, but if your life partner discovers it, you can always say the office just gave it to you and is making you carry it. Then throw that shit outtout de suite.

Buy an Alibi
Is your sweetie asking too many questions? Alibinetwork can provide you with answers—from fake email confirmations for doctors appointments and job interviews to caller ID spoofing so that certain someone thinks you're in Dubai. Not the creative type? They'll even cook up an excuse for you. It'll cost you at least $75, but hey, this is your marriage we're talking about!

Friday, February 11, 2011 Hacked

Click here to read Hacked Just In Time for Valentine's Day

According to security expert Brian Krebs, the dating site has been hacked. Krebs found a hacker offering up email addresses and user databases to eHarmony for $2,000 on an underground message board. Turns out the guy who perpetrated the hack was the same one who recently broke into dating site Plenty of Fish. So, if you get an email from a Nigerian prince asking you to marry him so that his $500 million fortune isn't lost this Valentine's Day, this is why. More »

Turner Broadcasting Flips Women’s Website To BUZZMEDIA

Entertainment publisher and lover of capital letters BUZZMEDIA this morning announced that it has acquired The Frisky from Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Originally launched in 2008, The Frisky focuses on a female audience with entertainment news, celebrity, fashion and women’s lifestyle items.

According to comScore, the site attracted 2 million monthly readers, on average, in 2010. The site will now join BUZZMEDIA’s line-up, which includes complimentary, if not a bit overlapping, websites like Celebuzz, Buzznet, Concrete Loop, TheSuperficial and SocialiteLife.

Turner, meanwhile, is said to shift its focus on sites that tie more closely to its own digital news, entertainment and sports-driven properties.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Going On A First Date?

Ask your date if they like beer. According to a new finding, beer lovers are 60% more likely to sleep with someone they have just met on a first date. On a first date, it is not necessarily the content of a conversation that matters, but rather the chemistry generated by the couple.

Myspace Is Certainly for Sale, But Not By Press Release

Things Digital

Here's what happening at Myspace, the troubled social networking site owned by News Corp.:

It's for sale, as has been widely reported, along with that intent being declared recently by top company execs.

It's hired Allen & Co. to sort out potential buyers and other options, as has also been reported.

It's hardly begun the process and is pretty much at square one, which means making lists, sorting out inquiries both crazy and valid and lining up its proverbial ducks for Myspace.

What's it's not doing is taking bids via press release, as happened in a decidedly odd fashion last week when MocoSpace, a Boston-based mobile social networking site, issued one.

Titled "MocoSpace Reveals Itself As Interested Party to Potentially Acquire Myspace," the look-at-me attempt to suck up some attention from the media was riveting and appalling at the same time.

"MocoSpace, the largest entertainment destination on the mobile Internet, is today announcing their interest in acquiring Myspace from News Corp.," read the press release.

And, of course, in the email from their PR rep: "Their CEO [Justin Siegel] is revealing their interest and is available to chat with you to discuss why."

While an amusing tactic, All Things Digital declined the generous offer.

Soon enough came another PR entreaty: "Wanted to provide the update that today Newscorp contacted MocoSpace and they are now in conversation."

Oh, really? So, BoomTown phoned some sources there close to the situation and found them very perplexed as that characterization.

One source laughed at the gumption behind the MocoSpace press release, although added that the company was very much wanting to dispose of Myspace in the best possible way.

"No legitimate offers ignored," said the source, who said a sale was more likely than bringing in new investors to recapitalize it. "But nothing has happened yet."

Another source noted that the company had only sent an acknowledgement to MocoSpace, as it did for anyone who expressed any interest.

Mocospace was kind enough to send me these emails, including one from News Corp. deal exec Jack Kennedy, which was entirely rote and referred Siegel to Allen & Co. "to fill you in w/respect to how the process may develop."

Added another source: "Nobody at this point that can be considered 'in conversation.'"


Thus, more email spin from MocoSpace PR: "We never said that Newscorp contacted MocoSpace first. After MocoSpace released their statement, Justin Siegel did receive an email from Newscorp."

And: "It seems that you may have misunderstood my email when I said they were 'in conversation.' I simply meant that after MocoSpace made their intention public, Newscorp did contact them–hence 'in conversation.'

And: "I did not mean to imply that they were in any sort of negotiating conversation–if that is something that you took from the email, it was an assumption, and I am sorry for any confusion in the wording there."

However could I be confused after all this mishegas?

Finally, Siegel weighed in via email, noting in part:

It's been brought to my attention that there's some confusion and frustration…In addition, I'd like to clarify that this was/is not a publicity stunt. We made our interest in MySpace public. The interest it's generated is surprising. To every person I've spoken to directly, I've made it clear that I've had no direct conversation with either MySpace or Newscorp regarding the sale."

Like I said, no sale. Yet.

Review: Orgasm Inc. Probes Pleasure Profiteering

Wired Top Stories
Indie sex-and-science documentary Orgasm Inc. deftly deflates the pharmaceutical industry's hunt for a lucrative cure to female sexual dysfunction.

Group Dating Startup Ignighter Raises $3 Million


Ignighter, the group dating site that is part of the TechStars class of 2008, has raised $3 million in Series A funding from a number of well-known investors. This brings the company's total funding to $4.2 million.

The round was led by Point Judith Capital with GSA Venture Partners, Founder Collective, GTI Capital Group, Hugo Enterprises, Rajan Anandan, David Cohen, Dave Tisch, Kal Vepuri, Peter Lehrman, Nihal Mehta and other angels participating.

Ignighter is an online dating site but with a slight twist. Ignighter allows groups of friends to collaborate on a group profile, where they can include photos and specify their interests. The site then presents a list of possible matches with other groups and helps them arrage get-togethers in the real world. The idea behind the site is to make romantic matches but in a group setting where awkward situations can be avoided.

While it seems like an orthodox model for online dating, Ignighter says that it is growing by "hundreds of thousands" of new users each month and has a registered userbase in the millions.

Google Weddings Helps You Plan and Share Your Big Day [In Brief]


This is a little strange: Google just launched a suite of wedding planning "tools" called Google for Weddings. It's essentially a page explaining how to use free Google tools like Sites (web site creation), Picnik (image editing), Docs (planning), and Picasa (image sharing) to plan your big day, linking to various site and document templates designed with that goal in mind. [Google Weddings] More »

CrunchGear’s Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: Gifts For Girls


With Valentine's Day fast approaching it's time to start thinking about the dreaded gift for the gal in your life. Even if you think Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday designed to rake in millions of dollars in cash – it is – so you better get used to it because your lady friend still expects a gift.

You could get her flowers, candy, or maybe a fondue set, but let's be honest; your more interesting and intelligent girl doesn't really want any of that. She just wants something sweet, because it's the thought that counts, right? Scratch that, she wants something cool she can show off to her friends. With all the techy toys that 2011 brought, you guys should have no problem finding something your geek girl will love.

Incidentally, we're holding a contest for one lucky lad, so pop over here to enter.

More “I do”s, less “to-do”s: wedding planning simplified

The Official Google Blog

For many, your wedding day is one of the biggest, most momentous days of your life. The perfect dress, the right tuxedo, the proper shade of blue, the three-tier cake with chocolate fondant, and all of your closest family and friends—these are just a few of the many things you might think about for your special day. Although there's much to consider and a lot of work to do, the payoff is great: it's one of the happiest days of your life.

To help you plan this important day we've created wedding-specific templates in Google Sites, Google Docs and Picnik, and gathered tips and tricks for using these and other Google products at From wedding websites to save-the-date cards, these tools simplify wedding planning, letting you focus your time on the fun things—like tasting cakes!

We teamed up with renowned wedding planner Michelle Rago, who provided her insight and creativity to guide the designs you'll find on this new site. Michelle also shared her experience to provide tips and advice to keep your guests comfortable and you sane.

We're also hosting a wedding sweepstakes, so if you're getting married in the next year you can enter for a chance to win $25,000 towards your dream wedding (see Official Rules). Plus, Michelle Rago and her team will advise the winning couple on location, flowers, food and other design elements to create a day that is uniquely their own.

Visit to start planning, or share the site with your favorite betrothed couple and help them on their way to wedded bliss.

Posted by Lisa Conquergood, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Sued By Subscribers Who Say They Were Snookered

Online Personals Watch logo dalsi WASHINGTON TIMES - Feb 8 - says it has millions of "active" subscribers, but "well over half" of the profiles are inactive or fake, contends lawyer Jeffrey Norton who helped file the lawsuit Dec. 30. The lawsuit is based on the plaintiffs' experiences, plus testimony from former employees and researchers who have "pulled tremendous amounts of 'proof' right off the site," Mr. Norton said. But sources familiar with and the online dating industry say the lawsuit is what's unbelievable. is a profitable company, so it's a "natural target" for a lawsuit, said Mark Brooks, who runs the Online Personals Watch blog. Scammers hit every online dating site, so big companies such as have developed ways of identifying and purging the phony entries, said Mr. Brooks. About two-thirds of the work force are customer-service representatives, he said, and while these employees can recognize and remove phony images, "it's a constant battle." Mr. Brooks' advice to online daters is simple: "Buyer beware. Be careful of 'too good to be true.'" FULL ARTICLE @ WASHINGTON TIMES

See all posts on

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Online Dating Profile In 5 Minutes

MSNBC - Feb 7 - ProfileWiz promises a 500-word custom dating profile in 5 minutes. It costs $4.75. ProfileWiz generates the profile based on answers to 22 questions. Some are big questions like, 'If love was a place which would it be?' or 'What does happiness mean to you?' Others are more mundane, such as 'If you had an extra hour today, what would you do?' or 'What do you like doing on holiday?' There are other services that offer profiles writing such as or FULL ARTICLE @ MSNBC

Online Dating Site Zoosk’s 2010 Sales Up 250 Percent To $90 Million

from TechCrunch

Online dating site Zoosk is announcing some impressive revenue numbers this morning, reporting that the startup has grown its annual sales run rate approximately 250% in 2010 to more than $90 million. That’s up from $20 million in revenue in 2009.

Zoosk says that sales growth was driven primarily by sales of its premium subscriptions, which are offered in 60 different countries around the world. International expansion is a big area of growth for the dating site, which has support for 25 different languages and has started a global advertising campaign. And the company added iPhone and Android apps as well as a desktop app (which received 4 million downloads) in 2010.

Launched in late 2007, Zoosk has raised $40.5 million in new funding, and rolled out a proprietary matching technology, which has suggested more than 700 million matches since it was first launched in September 2010.

All signs point to Zoosk being a leader in the online dating space. It should be interesting to see how Zoosk continues to compete with online dating giant, eHarmony and others. IAC’s has steadily been acquiring online dating sites, recently buying OKCupid for for $50 million.

With OkCupid Bought, Zoosk Brags About Momentum

from Things Digital

Dating site Zoosk says that based on its January revenue, it will have a run rate of $90 million this year. Of course, recent growth could be a side effect of New Year’s resolutions and winter holiday loneliness, but the company says revenue is up 250 percent from this time last year.

Zoosk makes its money from premium subscriptions, which users must purchase for all but the most basic interactions on its site. It declines to disclose total user numbers, but says it is making money from them in more than 60 countries. The company has 80 employees working out of its headquarters in San Francisco. It is “cash-flow neutral,” according to co-CEO Alex Mehr.

Mehr admitted that Zoosk traditionally gets a 10 percent lift in revenue each January, but said that expected user growth should ensure revenue will not tail off later in the year.

Free dating site OkCupid was last week acquired by market leader, which often buys smaller competitors. Match, which itself is owned by IAC, had $108.3 million in revenue for the most recent quarter.

Zoosk, which was founded in 2007, bills itself as a younger and more social alternative to the standard dating sites. Sixty percent of Zoosk’s users are less than 30 years old. The service originally grew in the viral (aka spammy!) early days of the Facebook platform, but now has a Web site, mobile apps and even a desktop client.

Mehr said to expect the company to introduce additional features in 2011 to make it more of a “social network built for dating” than a plain-old dating site.

Zoosk’s last funding was a Series D round of $30 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners in Nov. 2009.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ex-Girlfriend Gets Revenge by Turning Boyfriend Into a Meme [The Internet]


It's a story as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl break up. Girl gets revenge by turning boy into a humiliating meme. This appears to be what happened to poor Jack Weppler. More »

Saturday, February 5, 2011

'Dating' Site Imports 250K Facebook Profiles Without Permission

Wired Top Stories
A new online dating site debuted this week, with ready-made profiles for an unwitting quarter million Facebook users. Facebook's not amused with the scraping, but the site's founders say it's just art intended to expose data usage in the age of social networking.

The Locker Project Helps You Stalk Yourself Online

Things Digital

A new start-up called Singly is building an open-source service called the Locker Project to help users archive and leverage their own data, Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb reports tonight.

Singly was founded by Jeremie Miller, who created the open-source instant messaging protocol XMPP. It won the O'Reilly Strata data conference's start-up competition this week, and has already raised some funding from individual investors. (I'd hoped to attend Strata in person, but got caught up in an endless stream of little news items this week.)

Giving users clearer ownership and better access to their data is a geeky topic but an increasingly relevant one, for privacy and other reasons.

Singly will reportedly offer a hosted version of the Locker Project, or just the code itself, for users to collect their participation on social media sites and even their click streams, financial records and heart-rate monitors. This concept is known as "exhaust data," i.e., what users emit as they motor around the Web.

Then, Locker Project users can run yet-to-be-built apps to analyze their exhaust data in order to find patterns, make recommendations, set alerts and do whatever else they can imagine.

So many things we do these days can be recorded, and already are. Rather than just allowing behaviorally targeted advertisers, governments and credit card companies to stalk us, the thought behind projects like this is that we users can gain value out of stalking ourselves and analyzing our own data. I wrote a bit more about the justifications for this stuff during my old gig at GigaOM.

And to be sure, other companies and organizations are exploring the idea of personal archives too–for instance, the recent Y Combinator start-up Greplin is building a unified personal search tool that members can use on their email, calendar, storage and social Web accounts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sequoia-Backed Hearsay Launches Social Media Platform For Corporations With Local Branches

from TechCrunch

For big brands who have local branches (i.e. Starbucks, BestBuy), managing Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages for the national brands as well as for the local shops can be a challenging process. With social media compliance, work flow, content upload options and analytics, Hearsay is launching to provide a dashboard for national businesses and their local branches to manage Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages. In conjunction with the launch, Hearsay is announcing a $3 million investment from Sequoia Capital, Michael Abbott, Steve Chen, Dave Morin, and Aaron Sittig.

Hearsay Social is optimized for “corporate/local” enterprises to allow local representatives, agents, advisors, franchisees or store managers to manage social media pages while ensuring local representatives stay in compliance with brand guidelines, and content regulations. Hearsay Social SaaS application puts compliance, work flow, content management and analytics on top of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The central dashboard for brands features message archiving, keyword flagging and filtering, work-flow and approval capabilities. Users can also suggest tailored campaigns to local branches and reps and access analytics on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook pages by region or sub-region.

In terms of the local branch view, Hearsay Social offers branch managers to see suggested content, and a 360-degree view of Facebook fans and friends, LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. The platform will also allows local branch users to post updates and check if their page updates (i.e. a profanity filter) are in compliance with a chain’s social media policies. The company also inked a deal with LinkedIn to collaborate on sales and marketing efforts, as well as a full integration between Hearsay Social and the LinkedIn messaging API.

Of course, there are a number of social media management platforms specifically tailored for businesses, but Hearsay Social is really targeted towards a certain type of company that needs to manage a number of franchises or branches and also has strict compliance policies. For example, social media adoption in financial services, for example, is dramatically curtailed by compliance concerns. Hearsay’s research shows that while 64% of insurance and financial professionals have adopted Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for personal use, only 21% use social media for business. Of those who said they do not plan to adopt social media for business use, more than half volunteered that company policy, compliance and security concerns prevent them from doing so.

Founded by former Google and Salesforce employee Clara Shih and former Microsoft staffer Steve Garrit, Hearsay has convinced some financial services companies already and is being rolled out to more than 30,000 users at companies including State Farm, and Farmers Insurance Group of Companies(as well as fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WooMe: TechCrunch40 Finalist, $20 Million In Funding – And One Huge Scam

from TechCrunch

A friend just said I should sign up for WooMe with a picture of a horse instead of my own handsome face, just to see what happens next. Wow.

I know there’s a lot of fierce competition in the online dating industry, but I’ve rarely seen a site with tactics as aggressive as WooMe’s, which I should point out was a TechCrunch40 finalist back in 2007 (albeit with a slightly different positioning than today).

Since I’ve signed up for the site, again with a horse as my picture and in the middle of the night in the United States, I’ve been receiving a ton of unsolicited emails, direct messages, pop-ups, live chat sessions and alleged visits to my obviously fake profile by hot women.

And I only signed up about 15 minutes ago.

Now all I need to do to see who visited my profile or sent me all these private messages, is sign up to become a VIP WooMe member ($24.99 per month).

Ok, it may be a hefty sum, but I would love to virtually meet all these American babes that are trying to get a date with a (granted, beautiful) horse in the middle of the night. Plus I’ll gain privileged access to 10 million members according to WooMe. Yeah, but no.

It’s crystal clear that WooMe targets anyone who signs up for the site with automated messages from women (WooMe staffers for all I know), within minutes. And there’s not a single thing you can do on the site that doesn’t lead to the payment page, where the company tries to lure you into registering for $9.99 per month (if you sign up for 6 months, and pay the whole amount upfront). It’s classic bait-and-switch, from the horrible kind.

I’ve never used online dating sites, so maybe all of them employ such aggressive tactics, but tough luck for WooMe that my friend thought I should see how a TechCrunch40 finalist behaves. My advice: stay far, far away from this site.

Shady as the company might be, it has attracted a slew of high-profile investors, who’ve pumped about $20 million into the company. Let’s see: all three of Europe’s finest venture capitalists, Index Ventures, Mangrove Capital Partners and Atomico Ventures have backed the company, together with leading angel investors Klaus Hommels and Oliver Jung.

And then there’s the experienced management team, which includes CEO Stephen Stokols (previously BT’s SVP of Strategy and Business Development) and VP of Marketing Steven Sesar (who previously led business development efforts for Shopzilla).

All should be ashamed for pulling stunts like this.

Update: Stokols got in touch with me to ‘clarify’ things. He says I make inaccurate accusations, and that WooMe does not send messages from “fake” users. I would thus like to apologize to Georgia, Jenny, Anna, Jen, Britanny, Ann, Siriorn, Adriana, Sarah, Angie, Bri, Erica, Lana, Olly, Michele, Otu, Dream, Miracle, Catherine and Elizabeth (I kid you not) for claiming they’re not real women just waiting for new horses to make their appearance on the site.

Seriously, Stokols told me new users appear on top of people page results, which is why they get disproportionate attention after they just signed up. The only problem for him is that I’m talking seconds, not minutes after I registered. There was a message waiting for me by the time I signed up, which I had to pay for to read. There’s no way someone could have contacted me that quickly – even I weren’t such a pretty horse. Acquires OkCupid For $50M In Cash continues its acquisition strategy with the purchase of online dating site OkCupid for $50 million in cash. The deal also includes future earnings contingent upon performance.

While has a significant user base, OkCupid singles tend to be younger, which is why Match found it to be a useful acquisition. The site, which is free, apparently generates revenue via advertising.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Good Is Charlie Sheen for a Porn Star's Career? [Statistics]

Click here to read How Good Is Charlie Sheen for a Porn Star's Career?
Kacey Jordan, the porn star who smoked crack with Charlie Sheen shortly before his hospitalization, shared some good news today: Her 'babe rank' just skyrocketed! How good is a Charlie Sheen scandal for a porn star's career? A quantitative investigation. More »