Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Odd online dating things

There are some things about the online dating stuff that just feels strange.

For instance, what happened a week ago. I got a sudden burst of emails at one of the sites I'm part of. That in itself is strange -- I can send out 30 letters before getting a single non-automated reply, and I almost never get someone contacting me first. Just seeing the number of incomings, I got suspicious. But I looked at them all.

Each was of a different woman with a different account. (Well, one was really a girl -- says 18, but had to be at least 2 yrs younger.) Each was from either Eastern Europe or Taiwan. And the self-description paragraphs had a strangely similar sound to them -- they covered the same topics, and used many of the same words. Each had 5 photos -- not 4, not 6, always exactly 5 -- and four of them would be each of the same 4 types. A front facial, a lightly-clad frontal full-body, an almost-direct side view, and a view lying mainly clothed in bed with body front turned toward the camera. The fifth would cover what could be considered their best view, which was different for each one. The two busty women had a cleavage shot with a slight down angle (the same angle in each), another had a 60-degree facial shot for a great look, two others showed the woman's athleticism by running basepaths. Another had a beach shot that bore an eery resemblance to the hot inside come-on photo in Alison Krauss' new album (which only just now got released, so how??). The last two had scenes of each woman enjoying herself in Paris, with drink in hand.

It's obvious that all eight profiles were produced (and probably sent) by the same person or firm. I must admit it was professionally done, with a good eye for details and an awareness of the qualities of each specific 'product'. The strangest part is that they apparently picked up on something in my own profile that told them I was likely to go for what they had. Each profile mentioned a certain set of styles of music -- acappella and singer-songwriter -- that are uncommon in combination, and even mentioned a specific band in neither genre ("Iona UK", which is not how the band identifies itself). I have to think that the marketeer found my profile through a search mechanism for keywords, then actually looked at my profile, and took the time to slightly tailor theirs to mine. I have to admit, if it weren't for their location and sameness, I might have gone for it. Each of the eight were a somewhat different kind of wow, which if there was just one and it was in the New York Metro, I would have eagerly sent an email. But 8? On the other side of the world? In an obviously 'managed' fashion? No. But the profiles' polish (~ Polish?) makes me think that this could be a trend. A consultant who uses existing dating services as a place to market marriageables by putting their best foot forward. Could be a 'next big thing' in online dating.

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