back to article online dating tips: Do get consent, don't make false claims or fake profiles

An online dating platform has been spanked by the Competitions and Markets Authority as the UK government issued love match websites an etiquette guide for fair play. Venntro Media Group – which has about 3,500 websites targeted at specific interests, hobbies, localities, ethnicity or religion – was the subject of a probe by …

  1. msknight

    Just followed up...

    Apparently Brandon Vezmar got the money he sued for - the $17.31 for the cinema ticket that El Reg reported on last year, and re-linked in this article -

  2. Wellyboot Silver badge

    George Lusty - talking about dating?

    Someone in govt. still has a sense of humour

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: George Lusty - talking about dating?

      Surely all Venntro Media Group has to do is to stick any promise or claim on the side of a bus .. seems to work for politicians ok.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] and that sites tell the truth about what they can offer,”

    Ah - but do the users tell the truth about themselves?

    Computer dating agencies in the early 1970s had problems with too many men; many married men; women who did it for a joke; women who had long left the system. About the only guarantee was that it would pair the names of a man & a woman in the same large geographic region.

    "Carry On Loving" is a good reference to that era - and possibly still has many current similarities. With millennials once again sharing apartments the Imogen Hassall & Terry Scott scene in a shared lounge is probably still true. The sound of a zip still brings a smile to my face.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've used dating websites in the past (I found my current partner via a dating site, so they're not all bad)

      But the amount of lies people put up on them...Why do they bother? The lie will often be unmasked at the first date. "It's a current photo". Well, it was current when it was taken 10 years ago...

      Some dating websites make it *very* hard to cancel once you've signed up. One had the requirement that you could only cancel at a certain time by calling a premium rate number that was often engaged, so making cancelling almost impossible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Temp email and garbage is your friend

        If there is no easy way to cancel on any website, just change all the information to garbage, change the username if possible to something disgusting and sweary then change the email address to use one of the annonymous ones ....

        Then they have even more cr@p in their db....and only themselves to blame.

        1. DropBear

          Re: Temp email and garbage is your friend

          Now you're making assumptions. Who said your profile page has anything like a "change email" link (true story)...?

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      As any of your friends who have used a dating site would tell you (nobody uses one themselves, right? :-) ):

      - There are lots of genuine female profiles on there.

      - There are 10 times as many males as females.

      - Women get swamped the second they are visible on the service.

      - Women thus get to cherry-pick and reply to, maybe, one in a hundred, one in a thousand likes/pokes/messages/whatever.

      - Each man then ends up sending a hundred/thousand such things before they get a single response. And that's just "on average", before you account for actual desirability, competition with the gym-goers, etc.

      - If you can't win her heart (or other parts, as per her/your requirements) in the first few messages, she's likely swamped with others that can, and she'll move on quick.

      - Because of the overwhelming response, woman come and go REALLY fast - whether because they are successful or they just get annoyed with the constant pinging of their phone. If you're not one of the first to contact, likely she'll disappear before you get too deep in conversation.

      - Because women are there very fleetingly, and respond rarely, the men linger forever and try-try-try-again, just making the problem worse.

      There's also spam and things but it's normally obviously just adverts for other dating sites, or trying to get you to talk off the main site from the word go. Filtering them (even if only mentally) is generally very easy. That some people are now openly marking themselves as polyamorous, up for adultery, etc. doesn't really affect much in the grand scheme of things.

      Over the last 20 years, I've spent maybe 2 years in total online dating. Spam is a minor annoyance. Subscriptions get you more exposure (without a doubt, that's what you're paying for) but to be honest that's no guarantee of response whatsoever. Inquiry->Response ratio is pathetic. Response->Conversation ratio is poor. Conversation->date ratio is highly dependent on the people but often terrible.

      Despite spending the vast majority of my adult life in serious relationships with fabulous people (so I obviously am not a leper!), dating sites have only ever resulted in discovering a small handful of friends in a similar position, a bunch of scary incidents, an awful lot of wasted nights out and no real success. Technically I (I mean, my friend!) found more love via Gumtree purchases than via all the dating sites put together.

      However, dating sites play a lot of nasty tricks. OKCupid - if you're not paying - likes to pretend that you have a new 'like' almost every time you log onto the app and trap you into a recurring payment (you have to cancel every month). POF is full of spam entries that always contains the same keywords/photos (they aren't good at filtering them out even for the paying people) and the site/app are horrendous and don't even look similar to each other or have the same feature set! is STUPENDOUSLY expensive and really bad at matching, everyone I know who used it gave up really fast and then it's a bark to cancel. I'd comment on eHarmony but apparently there's some criteria on my initial questionnaire that I don't match which meant that after sign-up I literally wasn't allowed to do anything (not even see or search for a single member) and it just goes to a message that says they "can't help me" (or words to that effect! So very pleasant!) and it's impossible to delete the account or sign up on the same email again. I wouldn't mind, but it's not like I was rude in my profile or anything, apparently I didn't pass their "personality test"!

      Outside of that, I'm sure the free/niche ones do all share data, but the big ones it's quite common to run into the same people on both sites because they've signed up to both, not because the data was shared. But you are giving an AWFUL lot of personal information and photos of yourself to a dating site, so you do have to consider what kind of reputation they have. Especially if you're female, these people are in charge of a huge list of single women, their login and messaging habits, their kinks, their personal messages, their address and credit cards, etc. etc. etc. You can't tell me that all those niche sites are controlling all that data from their techy guys, etc.

      But fake-talking bot profiles just aren't worth the time. There are plenty of real people on all those sites. Anything that's spam/bot will be a third-party after your credit card number, not from the companies themselves to boost their statistics.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          that the women get 30 messages per day.

          And many of them are from blokes who think "Dating" == "Free sex".

          Some of my dates showed me some of the messages they got. I was bit embarrassed to be a bloke and associated with those idiots.

        2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          RE: Shadmeister

          Have you considered sending her a dick pic?

          I hear women love getting those...

          1. ukgnome

            Re: RE: Shadmeister

            Is there a particular Richard that gets them hot?

            I am not having much look - So far I have tried Hammond and Herring - both had been met with disgust.

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: RE: Shadmeister


              Are you by any chance using the same handle on these dating websites? Or may be consider changing the 'd' to a 'g' - you could either get swamped with replies or banned from the site

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RE: Shadmeister

            Aren't dick pics the most brutally honest way to reveal yourself to a lady online?

            You don't want to waste her time and mislead her when it comes to the ultimate prize/objective - let's not pretend that's not the case.

            It lets her 'inspect the goods' before deciding whether to proceed further with communication.

            1. HolySchmoley

              Re: RE: Shadmeister

              >Aren't dick pics the most brutally honest way to reveal yourself to a lady online?

              Doubtless, for anyone who sees themself primarily as a dick.

              1. ravenviz

                Re: RE: Shadmeister


              2. eldakka Silver badge

                Re: RE: Shadmeister

                > Doubtless, for anyone who sees themself primarily as a dick.

                If they are on the site just for random hookups, then yes, they are primarily just a dick.

      2. onefang

        "Women thus get to cherry-pick and reply to, maybe, one in a hundred, one in a thousand likes/pokes/messages/whatever."

        That's why Bumble only lets the women make the first move, so they are not swamped by men. Unfortunately I think most of the women are sitting there waiting for the men to make the first move, which we can't. sigh

        Think I'll switch to Tinder soon, see what that's like.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

          Bumble is poor - most matches fail to talk, and far too high a percentage that do are boringly concerned about your job.

          Tinder is alright, but only because it has a massive population, as a platform it is poor.

        2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          RE: onefang

          There's Grindr...That doesn't have you waiting around for women to message you...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>With millennials once again sharing apartments the Imogen Hassall & Terry Scott scene in a shared lounge is probably still true. The sound of a zip still brings a smile to my face.

      I think you've misunderstood the true horror of the housing situation.

      Millennials don't share apartments. They share bedrooms.

  4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Of course they cross link profiles,.....

    .... it saves them making up fake female profiles for each site, if they cross post the half dozen or so real ones they have.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe LinkedIn next ?

    Since I seem to keep getting adverts for jobs from all over the world*

    *Well, the US, but as well all know that *is* the entire world.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Maybe LinkedIn next ?

      Well, the US, but as well all know that *is* the entire world.

      No, that is not the entire world. The entire world starts somewhere around the junction of Interstate 101 and the 3rd avenue and finishes somewhere around Coyote Creek. Everything beyond that is "Here Be Dragons".

      1. onefang

        Re: Maybe LinkedIn next ?

        "No, that is not the entire world. The entire world starts somewhere around the junction of Interstate 101 and the 3rd avenue and finishes somewhere around Coyote Creek."

        I prefer it the way I say it, the world starts with LA and ends with NY.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much more betrayal of trust will it take to get people to unplug?

    "The CMA's investigation found that some users were unaware that their information would be stored in a central database – and that their profiles might be visible on other sites. Others complained that they had signed up for sites featuring explicit adult content without realising what was on offer."

    Is there a butterfly / tipping-point event coming anytime soon... Or like Barnum, there's a sucker born every minute- forever... The thing is, I'm pretty sure if you or me chose to host an online-service that was less than honest with users, everyone would desert the service on day one! WTF?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lee D is pretty much spot on.

    I've only used one in anger, paid for 6 months (prob ~£150 all in). Met my current partner after a month and 2 dates. But her (and the one other person I met) confirmed that the ladies get hundreds of pings a day from anyone on the site. Often from guys 50yr older, never mind the cock shots as well.

    But I supposed it worked. Mate of mine also signed up for 6 months met his current fiancée on the first date he had after 2 weeks of membership. He'd done it previously and said that he was still seeing profiles from the last time he used it 6yr before. He had tales of kittening (20yr old pictures being used, , also ladies using photographs taken of tv characters and stories of frankly dangerous women.

    And lets not get into the use of feckin Instagram filters, though I'm sure some blokes do have a fetish for anime animals.

    There are lots of tricks used by the sites to make you think there is a lots of interest as well. So it's a pretty horrible business overall even if it does work.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: cock shots

      I simply cannot fathom what kind of Neanderthal-level moron thinks it's a good idea to send a pic of the ugliest part of his anatomy to a woman he has never met (and will doubtless never meet after that). I'm as fond of my little sergeant as anyone else is fond of theirs, but that's the last thing you want to introduce yourself with to any woman.

      I can very well imagine a woman's reaction to getting such a pic : burn it with fire and ban the offending sender from ever contacting her again.

      Sure, there are certainly a portion of dating site subscribers that are there only to find a one-night stand, but even then, if your only game is grunting, you won't be scoring much I would think.

      1. onefang

        Re: cock shots

        I have the same feelings about boob shots, is the only "good" thing about you that you have enormous boobs?

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: cock shots

        Here is the truth about cock shots from Red Dwarf:

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Another thing. If you see a woman you are interested in, download the profile pics, and do a reverse image search on them. Very often you will find they are from escort / sex worker sites or Facebook profiles belonging to people in other parts of the world.

      As for tne number of messages we get from men. Yes I can confirm that, even if in my case I put NO MEN as the first words in my profile.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fat people love to upload close-up shots of their face

    And don't forget those magical Photoshop tricks to smoothen away wrinkles, remove a mole or narrow the chin etc.

    Would these be filed under 'false claims'?

  9. FuzzyWuzzys

    Dating sites, don't make false claims?

    Right, well that's the entire online dating biz up the swany!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Lee's experience I guess this is why the swipey sites are thriving (I think?). Women only have to communicate with blokes that they "like".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OKC emulated Tinder's feature earlier this year

      Male to female communication cannot continue beyond the first message, unless the female has reciprocated the 'like' on the male who initiated contact.

  11. jrd

    Gender balance

    I have a male friend who has used dating sites on and off for 20 years. He says that the message/response ratio has completely reversed as he has got older - he's in his early 50s and he gets women contacting him first now and finds it easy to get dates (which wasn't the case 20 years ago). Maybe he's writing better profiles now but his appearance hasn't changed much and he's not rich.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Gender balance

      Just having reach 50 this year and ended a relationship a year ago I got onto

      As other replies here, I sent about 15 sincere and genuine messages without any hint of reply before giving up (and meeting someone new the old fashioned way). Since I'm not the sort of person to spam just anything warm with boobs, it takes me a while to find someone I actually want to write to, and then to discover they may well miss my message because of all the other crap they get.

      This age bracket is tricky too, many suitors are divorced and the traditional 'man older than woman' pairings are being explored with many women seeking an age range around their own but with a large bulge (ahem) towards the younger side: "sick of husband, divorced, young buck required for oo-la-la".

      I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that (best of luck!), just that it is fanciful, as are dating sites in general.

      My advice is that you are most likely to find a soul mate through normal processes but it may require some effort beyond a cursory look on your phone before going to sleep: join a club or society, frequent new bars, and keep going until you are noticed.

      In my view dating sites can provide a glimmer of hope and allow you to at least view (hopefully real) examples of the gender of preference and wonder 'what if', while you go about normal life until someone real comes out of absolutely nowhere (as is often the case).

      1. onefang

        Re: Gender balance

        "frequent new bars"

        My young adult years where from before smoking indoors in public places was banned. So bars and clubs tended to be full of smokers, and I'm an asthmatic, I learned to avoid those like the plague. I'm not an alcohol drinker. So if I go to a bar today, it'll be to sit around staring into space.

        1. Sam Therapy

          Re: Gender balance

          I hear they sell coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages in those places.

    2. ravenviz

      Re: Gender balance

      Is your male friend "stout"?


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gender balance

      The hot rich 50-something men are busy harassing 30-something women leaving the field free for him.

  12. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    > In addition, the CMA said it had sent warning letters to 14 other leading dating websites ...

    They immediately got replies back saying that there are 5 other competition authorities in their area keen to meet them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dont bother with dating sites

    get out and find a hobby. or more than one hobby which involves you meeting people.

    the more involved you are in social activities (even mundane ones) the more opportunities there are to meet people in non-threatening situations that dont involve the stress of them/you asking whether they/you are 'the one'.

    even if you dont find someone, having a hobby makes you interesting. and interesting people have it much easier when finding someone.

    and why would you want someone anyway? in 10 years there'll be pretty good sex bots.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: dont bother with dating sites

      I was hovering on the upvote button until the sexbots comment.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: dont bother with dating sites

      Also, you can put roofies in your weak lemon drink.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: dont bother with dating sites

        "Also, you can put roofies in your weak lemon drink."

        One of the more intriguing things about those particular substances is that some people take them voluntarily because they make the experience more fun.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I have a friend who's trying to get me into online dating. And I'm like "Why on Earth would I do that?"

    Not that matters since all the women I'm only interested in live 6,000 miles away anyway...

  15. ukgnome

    explicit adult content

    Others complained that they had signed up for sites featuring explicit adult content without realising what was on offer.

    Presumably this means pictures of fags and beer, when all they actually wanted was prolapse and scat.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All the dating sites are that bad

    Even the IAC ones (Tinder, Match, OKCupid, POF, others) claim to be keeping to GDPR but are basically talking out of their arse. If they stuck to the proper GDPR terms the population of would collapse from inactive users.

    As to lying, there is so much direct lying and lying by omission. The question is whether the lie actually matters. I don't lie about my height, but when there are so many women, even 5 feet tall, asking for someone 6 feet tall you do have to wonder if they've actually used their brain.

    Likewise, age ranges do not move in a sensible manner for both men and women. I've lopped six years off my age because I can get away with it, and no-one cares. This is also worth it because I know for a fact their age searches stop a little before my real age. Not that I have an objection to people my own age or older, but finding matches full stop is difficult, and I'm not about to make life hard for myself.

    Dating sites can be successful, however. The only more successful option is an extended event full of people. In the end it's about numbers, and exposure (not the type that will get you blocked).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those who think dating websites are for losers who should just "get out more", please remember that some people find walking into a social situation and striking up a conversation with a random person scary as hell. We're called "Introverts".

    Those who think it's as easy as falling off a log are probably "Extroverts".

    The world needs us both.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Data sharing - it's in the name

    Venntro Media Group.

    Venn diagrams...

  19. John H Woods Silver badge


    Luckily for me I met the out-of-my-league Mrs Woods in a nightclub where she made the first move, God knows why.

    But we have a single friend, younger than us (i.e. 40s) who is nice, witty and in fabulous shape (possibly because she is an HGV driver delivering heating oil!). She's tried a couple of dating sites but just ended up with one-date utter bellends.

    I'm hoping to find her a nice nerd who will appreciate her. Let's have a commentard photo/profile gallery...

    (You won't need my photo as a) happily married and b) have the great misfortune to look almost exactly like Anders Brevik).

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Mad

      @John H Woods

      If only she drives a car transporter - I'd be interested!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Mad

        She drives oil tanker - fill me up

        ...a crane - give me a lift

        ...a milk float - 2 pints please

        ...a fire engine - put me out

        ...a racing car - let's burn some rubber earth mover - shirley, it's obvious - get moving!

        1. onefang
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Mad

          " earth mover - shirley, it's obvious - get moving!"

          Did the earth move for you to?

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Mad

      Can you post a picture

      Of her truck ?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Mad

      Queue up one common post (as I've been told by several lady friends): "send photo of bobs and vagny". I'll get my coat as this will probably get moderated to oblivion.

    5. handleoclast

      Re: Mad

      She's tried a couple of dating sites but just ended up with one-date utter bellends.

      I could manage at least two dates.

      Still an utter bellend, but it's a step in the right direction.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Mad

        As long as her big ends aren't knocking, she should be good for 250000 miles or so.

        (I do of course mean the truck)

  20. Alan Brown Silver badge

    GDPR and trading standards

    "The Berkshire-based biz has more than 55 million users worldwide"

    It claims to have. That's a very different animal to actually having them.

    The fact that you can't cancel or keep your data round is a GDPR issue, but doesn't stop the european sites let alone the USA ones.

    As for pictures of Richard: Try or

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I met my wife on a dating site

    However it wasnt a UK or US one, the people on there are madder than a box of frogs.

    A friend asked me to be wingman for his first meeting with one woman, her bio said "athletic and attractive", she weighed about 400lbs and had more of a beard than he did.

    Not that international dating sites are immune; another friend went to China to meet this hottie; the reality was so different to the studio images she had been sending, he walked straight past her at the airport.

    (In the photos she was a very hot mid 40's, in reality her face appeared half melted and she looked about 90).

    (No, I am not exaggerating).

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: I met my wife on a dating site

      @Ian Emery

      "athletic and attractive"- a peroxide blonde named Mandy?

    2. Clarecats

      Re: I met my wife on a dating site

      "A friend asked me to be wingman for his first meeting with one woman, her bio said "athletic and attractive", she weighed about 400lbs and had more of a beard than he did."

      Shot putters are athletes.

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