Dear POF, MATCH, OUR TIME, and probably most of the other dating sites,
Go to any retail store and you find that typical business practice is to lure potential customers in however they can. Stores will put colorful items up front like candy, festive items, and sparkly displays to lure you in, and then make you walk through the store to find what you need. Walmart, for example, is notorious for placing things in odd locations, so it isn’t obvious to the customer, to, let’s say, go to household to find light bulbs. No, they want you to walk to the other end of the store, pass every department, and then spend another 15 minutes looking for someone that works there, only to find light bulbs are in automotive. So now you have shopped all over the store and picked up a few things for the cart that you had no intention of buying.
Dating sites lure you in by photos. Some advertise free, but that is to look at a few pictures and if you really want to see someone’s full profile, or, in some cases, be able to message someone, they want you to pay. Fine. This is a business. Just like Walmart or other retail stores where they want your business.
I get advertisements constantly for retail stores and dating sites included. My question is, where are the guys they show me? I walk into Walmart or Target and I see clothes, household items, and Holiday items and it makes me want to go into those departments.
But on a dating site, I look at these photos, showing me who I can meet and chat with, and when I go in , the old bait and switch is there in black and white. For those of you lucky enough who have not experienced this concept, or heard of it, here is Wikipedia’s version of the explanation:
Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in retail sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are “baited” by merchants’ advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items (“switching”).
So we have POF, or Our Time, to name two, that use photos. they show us somewhat good looking guys, dressed nicely, big smiles on their faces, and we think, Hell yea. I’m in.
Now I am in and I start looking. Wait. Where is the guy with salt and pepper hair with a fun smile? Why am I seeing someone in his bathroom taking a picture in the mirror? Why do I see a dogs, cars and shirtless men who shouldn’t be?
I know it is business, and I also know if they put “bathroom man” on the advertisement, or “man with fish”, they would be out of business in an hour. But, we go in. We browse. We shop.