How far is too far?

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Danger! In my quest for discovering new and exciting dating industry-related blogs, I recently came across Netchoice, who may be very US-centric, but seem to have a lot of good thing to say. This piece about True.com has gotten me thinking about the ethics of marketing a dating service. After all, people may be buying a subscription, but what we’re actually promising them are answers to their most intimate hopes and dreams. Sure, we all use phrases such as “get a date” and “find your soulmate” when we can’t actually guarantee all our customers will, but surely there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to actually lying to your customers?

It astounds me that legislators in the US are so easily manipulated that they would fall prey to one company’s attempt to establish its own business model as an industry standard, against the better judgement of longer-established companies. I can’t imagine it ever happening in the UK, where I would like to think private companies don’t wield that much power. You have to wonder about a company that would resort to selling its customers/potential customers a false sense of security for $50 a month, while also selling them false promises in the form of phoney icebreakers and blatantly sexual adverts. It should have really been called false.com, but then again calling yourself “true.com” is kinda like saying “trust me” and isn’t that the mark of the con artist?

Whoever does this company’s PR is an evil genius of cartoon proportions. As I’ve mentioned recently elsewhere, an effective business survives by giving people what they want, effective marketing often works by convincing people what you have to sell is what they want to buy. You can basically reverse supply and demand by creating the illusion of need in your audience. How frightfully effective it is, then, to bring about an actual law creating demand for something that is simply unnecessary and futile.

As I was writing this, I just remembered that the US has got a long, filthy history of this sort of malicious marketing. Torches of freedom, anyone?

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