Online dating is an incredibly competitive industry, with companies constantly looking for ways to get a foothold over competing sites, as they vie for the attention of singles.
And while sites want to offer a better service for their customers, these digital businesses are also obviously striving to simultaneously increase their revenue.
By taking steps to stop scammers, dating businesses are able to achieve both, and the benefits work together – as customers stay on the service for longer, reputation stays high, and the business avoids churn, poor LTV and chargebacks.
We asked some top sites in the industry about the steps they take to suppress scammers on their sites, and how the implementation of such measures has affected the performance of their business:
Laurence Holloway: co-founder and CTO, Lovestruck:
“Apart from the obvious risk of some members being defrauded and put in serious danger, allowing any scammers onto the service would be deeply damaging to the inherent level of trust in a dating service for everyone. If a scammer is able to send messages to genuine members, even for only a brief time, the reputation of the service is compromised.
“This all works in symphony to prevent scammers getting their accounts approved, and being able to contact our members.
“We also “auto-ban” accounts whose messaging behaviour is suspicious.
“All fake accounts are removed at source, so this increases our rejection rate and load on our moderation services. Our LTV is not affected, however.”
Ross Williams: Founder and CEO, White Label Dating:
“Protecting consumers from fraud should be the utmost priority for any ecommerce business, and online dating is no different. As an industry, we have a duty of care to help our members find love in the safest possible environment. Scammers prevent that from happening. That’s why our fight against scammers is so important.
“At White Label Dating, we take a number of steps to prevent scammers from coming into contact with our members. Our in-house 30-strong team of highly trained moderators work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to monitor every item of user-generated content submitted, including all photos, profile text and first message. First messages account for around 20% of moderated items. The team work in tandem with Scamalytics to predict scammer behaviour and quickly remove scammers from our platform.
“The majority of scammers are removed from our platform within seconds of joining, before they have the opportunity to interact with our members. That means that they don’t really affect churn or LTV.
“Scammers are often easily identifiable through the language that they use. When creating a profile, they may use tried and tested text that doesn’t reveal their true identity. However, when writing a message, they’re easily caught out. Of all the scammers we identify, we catch more than half through first message moderation. They’re then instantly removed and never have the chance to come into contact with members.”
Tanya Fathers: co-founder and CEO, Dating Factory:
“Scammers create bad user experience on the sites, but also create fraudulent payment transactions that normally result in chargebacks. So stopping the scammers gives benefits to both users and merchants at the same time. We use an in-house team to manually check and approve/delete profiles of all new users based on the risk score — which is a combination of our internal knowledge and the Scamalytics score.
“Regarding churn, it is not affected, as we catch them before that. We have the system in place from day one, so we cannot compare to any previous experience of “not fighting scammers”.”
Jennifer Doherty: Fraud Prevention Associate, CupidMedia:
“People come to our sites to meet their perfect match, and they expect a safe environment with genuine contacts. It’s important our customers have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding experience, and scammers of course detract from that. It’s not just a matter of a customer losing money: once someone realises they’re in contact with a scammer, their trust has been violated — in the person they were in contact with, in our website, and in the online dating industry as a whole.
“CupidMedia’s dedicated Fraud Prevention Team uses an extensive suite of in-house and third party technologies to rapidly catch scammers. We also feel that user education is important, and display safety tips at key points on our site, such as the mail system, while also maintaining an extensive web guide to safe online dating.
“Encountering scammers will inevitably lead to a bad customer experience, and a bad customer experience will naturally increase churn.”
This article is from our report on Scammers & Dating Fraud, which you can download for free below: