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It is called ‘white-labelling’ and happens when a product produced by one company, such as Global Personals, is rebranded by other companies — in this case dating websites.Also, in a bid to boost their revenue, the company was specifically employing staff whose sole job it was to set up and run fake profiles on the dating sites, to keep members interested. I was put on the back foot and so flummoxed I didn’t contact him again.’Nonetheless, as the months passed, she was sent three emails a day from unlikely suitors, who ranged in age from 22 to 73. ‘I can’t remember any being particularly crude, but maybe they were and I never saw them.’Jenny says she quickly suspected some of the identities were fake.Within weeks, Jenny got her first warning signal: She’d begun emailing a fellow single parent from her area and the pair had swapped phone numbers:‘I texted him and said “it’s Jenny from Just Single Parents” and he replied “what? ‘I know I got emails that weren’t from real people,’ she told Channel 4 News.‘You’d ask a man a question, such as how many children he had, and would get a reply tell you how happy they are they’ve met you.’She adds: ‘You don’t realise to start with that these companies they have “ice breaker” messages saying “I like your profile” or “you’ve got a lovely smile” that are sent to all the women in East Sussex between the ages of 35 and 55. After a while you realise a lot of the messages you get are sent to hundreds of people, not just you.’‘I remember one email I got that persuaded me to re-join was from a good-looking, wealthy single father who ran his own building business,’ says Jenny.What she didn’t expect was to find herself posted as a ‘hot date’ on cheesy lads’ magazine sites, and bombarded by spam emails from people who didn’t even exist — or if they did, had anything but a country walk in mind.Over the course of the four years Jenny has been on the site, not one of the men she met has been a member of where she originally posted her profile. Alarmingly, half were not parents at all and only one had a child the same age as her son.
My friend and I, who, in fits of self-empowerment, had conceived our babies with donor sperm because we hadn’t met Mr.Members on any of these sites can apply filters to ensure they are not contacted by anyone they don’t want to be.Global Personals was one of the first online dating companies to stop using pseudo profiles.He was my age but, had I known the site he was on, I would have hauled him out on the grounds that it was a ridiculous name. It made me think my profile might have been edited.I was perplexed.’Channel 4 News investigators spoke to whistle-blower Ryan Pitcher, who joined the company in 2008 and a second, unnamed, employee, who detailed the suspicious way in which they were recruited, when they were warned they were not to discuss their duties with family and friends.