VIDA Select in GQ Feature

The online dating assistants at VIDA Select have been featured in an extended piece at GQ Magazine.

The article profiles founder Scott Valdez, telling the story of how he hired his own personal dating assistant as a busy graduate working long days.

When the experiment paid off, Valdez hired two freelance writers and a PR professional for £15,000.

The business grew “exponentially”, and now boasts a “seven-figure” turnover. Valdez told the publication: “Everyone wants to be more efficient these days. We’re trying to streamline our lives”.

The article then considers the ethics of VIDA Select, noting that online singles will be speaking to professional impostors rather than their potential crush.

One client, named in the piece as tech entrepreneur “Michael”, did not see it as being particularly different to a user uploading their best photos. He has left the service after meeting a woman there.

Rosalia, a manager at VIDA, makes the case that the service just gets singles face-to-face with one another. The vast majority of clients switch over to SMS (which they control) fairly quickly.

The authors then consider VIDA as a workplace, exploring the training documents that different employees are given.

‘Closers’, who message matches and try to organise dates, should aim to reply within one day. That said, they should avoid messaging after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays to give the impression that the single they represent is busy with friends.

They should also avoid the word “no”, because this can be stressful for matches (even in a benign context).

Louise Troen, VP of marketing at Bumble, was critical of the dating assistants’ role. She said: “These companies are essentially leveraging and capitalising on people’s vulnerability and that’s something Bumble will address accordingly.

“Being held accountable for the things you say and the actions you take is Bumble’s number one [priority] and if the messages aren’t from you, then you can’t be held accountable. That really worries me.”

The article closes by describing the relationship that Valdez found through Vida. His ghostwriter helped him secure a date with a woman named “Laura”.

Read more here.