When it comes to dating sites, fake profiles are nothing new. In fact, they’re so common that they’ve inspired terms like Catfishing and Ghosting. But while the former is done by a human, the latter can actually be executed by a non-human bot.
Yes, not only can you be rejected on a dating site by a human, but by non-humans, too. Ouch.
Worried you might have been ghosted by a bot? Here’s what you need to know.
How Bot Ghosting Works
Let’s say you’re a member of a dating website and hit it off with “Christian Grey.” You’re flirtatiously texting back and forth when suddenly the replies stop coming. Turns out “Christian Grey” isn’t a real person. You’ve just been ghosted by a chatbot named “Christian Grey.” (FYI: The Christian Grey Bot is real, albeit for entertainment purposes only.)
How did this happen?
Dating websites generate revenue through memberships. But in order to keep those memberships flowing, they need to provide people with potential romantic connections. The clincher: not all of those potential connections are real.
Included in the dating site’s terms and conditions is the right for them to create fake profiles to enhance the experience, encourage interaction, and monitor compliance by members with the terms of service of the site. Chatbots are one way to foster interaction.
What Are the Consequences for Ghosting
Back when dating sites first started, many were blatantly participating in fake profiles (and ghosting) without customer consent. The FTC ended up getting involved and it wasn’t a pretty picture for JDI Dating. JDI, who ran the 18 sites that were committing fraud, was required to pay $616,165 in refunds to customers.
Great, right? Eh, not so fast.
After this incident, dating sites got smart. They wisely bet most customers wouldn’t read five plus pages of Terms and Conditions. The sites started slipping the legalese into the T&Cs figuring people will skip reading and just click accept.
Related Post: Good vs Evil: What You Need to Know About Internet Bots
However, by agreeing to these terms, you’re allowing yourself to be ghosted by a bot. It’s another example of why you should always read the fine print!
How to Know You’re Speaking to a Bot
Now that you know there’s a chance it’s not you, it’s a bot, here are a few signs to look for:
Speedy Response. Humans are busy. Although our smartphones are like another appendage, we’re not always able to answer within seconds or even minutes. While there’s a chance your potential love connection is over the moon and chatty, if they’re rapid firing paragraphs back within seconds, run.
Forgetful Memory. This one can be a little difficult to spot. Again, we’re so busy that sometimes it can be hard to even remember what we consumed for breakfast. However, if you’re constantly being asked the same questions, odds are you’re speaking to a bot.
Related Post: How to Protect Your Brand and Consumers From Bad Bots
Asking for Money. Whether they’re doing it subtly or bluntly, never send them money. Now, this could be an outright scam artist, but it could also be bot. If they send you over a link, stop the conversation immediately.
The Bots Who Want You to Find Love
Of course, not all bots are bad. Some actually want you to find love. Match.com recently decided to give this a try. Their chatbot named Lara now lives on Facebook with the intentions of helping you find love. She helps you create your dating profile all through Facebook Messenger.
Lara takes your information (e.g. hobbies, likes and dislikes, astrological sign) and gives you suggestions on a good match. She sends over their profile and picture all within your convo. Talk about convenient.
Related Post: What the Heck Are Bots, Anyway?
These are the good kind of bots. And dating sites are still a great way to join the game of love. Many people even find their soulmate on them. However, there are also malicious bots looking to break your innocent heart (and take your money).
Be careful and remember to keep your guard up. You don’t want to end up ghosted by a bot.