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The company has also created ‘fake’ profiles, by lifting photographs off the internet, and ordering staff to flirt with unsuspecting members, outrageously flattering them into renewing their subscriptions.
Disturbingly, their deception has proved an unqualified success. Global Personals — whose headquarters are in Windsor, Berkshire — makes £40 m a year, employs 130 staff and is believed to take a 40 per cent cut of every membership subscription, with the remainder going to the spin-off company.
But it is at the expense of women like Jenny, now 46, who is astounded by the way in which she has been duped.
‘Internet dating seemed the best way of meeting people,’ she says. ‘But I’m shocked by how many sites I’ve ended up on. It’s upsetting and annoying. I’m nobody’s idea of a Nuts hot date. It’s the last place you would expect to find me and a waste of time and money.
‘I’m not surprised they’re making up people. I’ve received no end of emails from men who say they like my smile, but clearly haven’t seen my profile. I won’t be renewing my subscription.’
Certainly, Jenny’s experience serves as a cautionary tale to those tempted by the increasingly popular world of online romance, said to be worth £2 billion globally. She first started internet dating in September 2008, eight months after her seven-year marriage ended.
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