Germany social discovery platform LOVOO has been accused of using fake profiles to entice users into paying for premium services on the mobile app.
This is according to a set of alleged emails sent between LOVOO’s leadership, that were leaked to German computer magazine c’t.
The emails claim to show that LOVOO uses a large number of fake profiles, that are designed to initiate contact with other users, and attract them into signing up to its paid services.
The German news site said these profiles have a few attractive photos, with little other information, and when real users contact them, they become inactive.
The social discovery app currently has over 36m users in 17 countries.
However, there is some debate as to the legitimacy of the leaked documents, as c’t’s lawyers said they could potentially be forged.
However c’t’s editor, John Endres, said that the leaked files include multiple copies of email inboxes, screenshots and source codes totalling 50GB, and said they have not discovered any evidence of tampering.
The computer magazine also said they signed up to the app, and the fake profile practices mentioned in the emails worked exactly as described when they used the app.
The emails claim that LOVOO has, like other sites such as Ashley Madison, used these kind of fake profiles for two years.
C’t claims that these profiles could have made LOVOO around €5,000 a day, which would be about €1.8m over a year.
To read more about the story and alleged leaked emails, visit c’t’s website here.
In a statement provided to GDI, LOVOO said:
“The criticism presented in today’s edition of the German trade press magazine â€žc’t“ of the dating app LOVOO are based on highly doubtful documents and files, which the magazine had received by an anonymous source and whose authenticity the authors of the article themselves have questioned in their own report.
“LOVOO denies the criticism brought forward in the article.
“The article is quoting from presumably internal emails — if these are authentic at all — about LOVOO’S own anti-spam initiatives, which the writers completely misunderstood and negligently placed into wrong contexts.
“Despite this approach, LOVOO had offered the magazine “c’t” several times to answer their questions in a press talk and had also volunteered to have them visit the company’s anti-spam technical unit and to talk to the software specialists working there.
“c’t” has declined this offer.
“Therefore, it is with great concern that LOVOO takes note that neither the writers of the article, Mr. Holger Bleich, Mr. Ronald Eikenberg, Mr. Heiko Frenzel and Mr. Torsten Kleinz, nor the publishing company responsible, the Heise-Verlag, apparently have adhered to journalistic due diligence.”