Life in the Digital Briar Patch – How can you spot a fake digital person.

We all know fake profiles on the internet exist, but how do we spot them. So I thought I take I look at the “Matchmaker” market for people to meet online to see if they exist and if I can spot one. So I thought I give Match.com a try, since it is one of the top sites online and they say they met people there. We found some interesting things in my one week experiment for this story as this service as we found it, in our opinion, is littered with fake engagement from women you you are a guy looking for a girl.

The Matchmaking Industry has grown to a $ 2,5 billion+ market in the USA and Canada is estimated at $150 million. The industry had to face the challenges of limited trust of online dating services during it growth period. A Pew 2013 Survey of 2,000 people in the USA showed that 15% of adults use an online dating website or app, with 22% of 18-24 the top adopters. Other concerns the industry has to deal with are fake online profiles, fraudulent traffic, database breaches, background checks, and privacy safeguards to protect personal information of users. To get users in a crowded market requires success or the possibility of success for love, romance and companionship, a pretty tall order. So I guess some have had to resort to some interesting hacker marketing techniques to meet their user targets and keep them happy.

Here are the series of events that led us to this conclusion that Match.com may have a problem with fake profiles somewhere.

DAY 1:Upon my email subscription notification at 12:20pm I received a series of emails that ladies were interested at 12:39, 3:33, 4:32, 5:18, 5:21, 8:04, 8:36, 10:42 and 11:51. So the first day I received 9 replies of interest. I replied to them all and heard back from two but they were both brief conversations. The screen names were Goodcare121 (36yrs), Shelly (56yrs), Activethrulife (62yrs), Westendgirl (54yrs), shaw8 (61yrs), natureluvr2 (55yrs), smartdj (54yrs), silly62 (55yrs), Stairway (52 yrs). Activethulife and Stairway were real people I think (or as I suspect perhaps are fake posters that work for Match to keep new customers engaged). I did not reply to Goodcare121, who was from Texas who was 36. After that all I got that were interested in were older woman.

Day 2:I received 2 replies from ladies that I was interested in but they were not a match. So perhaps there are real people on Match.com, but my doubts still lingered. Their names were Latinssima and Lori. I did receive a message at 12:33am from Fatchance a 55 year old that was interested. I replied and did not hear back. One of the clues of fake profiles is that they do not respond.

DAY 3 :Today I received 4 notifications that ladies were interest finme at 10:10 am, 9:41, 10:45 and 11:15 pm. There names were alyssum333 (58 yrs), Susan321 (51 yrs), anxiousflower (52 yrs), Happiness (52 yrs). Again I sent a courtesy reply and did not hear back. I did receive a reply from junegoos that they were not interested. So today I suspect I had 4 fake people and 1 real today.

Day 4:Today was a quiet day and I received an email that I had 24 matches to look at 5:09pm. As this point my suspicions of fake profiles and engagement have grown to the point that I do not trust what is happening on Match.com

DAY 5:On Day 5 I received two notifications of interest at 5:45 and 11:49p from FXCVTALA9802 (34 yrs) and Aangeleyez07 299 (37 yrs). It was on this day that I knew for sure that some profiles are fake on the system as the names used is the same pattern I have seen used by comment sections spammers (HAM) using letter and numbers in sequence patterns.

DAY 6:  I cancelled the subscription today )it will be cancelled at the end of the month) at 6:28am and I received two notifications of interest with the first one at 6:29am, 3 minutes after I cancelled. There were from hinnymick0 (36yrs) at 6:29p and contrysmile33 (33yrs) at 6:51. This finally proved to me (in my opnion) there is fake engagement on Match.com as the time of the “interest notification” coincides with my cancellation.

Day 7:Today I received a reply from a real person Kyss at  that she was not interested. So far there were 7 people that communicated to me but only one were from the 17 “interested in you” notifications, they other six came from the  women that I sent emails to that match.com thought I was a 85% match for. So six real people of out 23 that I engaged with suggests that something is fishy going on here. I addition I received emails promoting their events webinars and other singles sites. So during the 7day period I received a total of 43 emails or 6 per day filling my inbox.

Knowing that there are maybe fake profiles created by Match.com plus the use of fake profile by users online I will be staying away from this type of digital service in the future. Our feeling is that there were too many fake people to sort through and is a waste of my time. According to the system 200 women have checked my profile on line but how many of those people are real. In comparison, I have been using Kiji the past week to rent a house and I had over 400 views of the ad plus 11 responses that I knew that were real people and it will be rented shortly.

The clues for spotting fake identities on the internet are the screen name, lack of photo or a photo that looks like it was scraped off the internet like glamour shots. The timing of the emails was also a big red flag for me as they were grouped around dinner time and late nights or just after I registered and cancelled for subscription. This suggests that this is not a 3rd party hacker phishing for contact info or other things hackers want, but it was generated by the Match.com system, what do you think, what conclusion can you draw from that? Are these profile fake?