We recently learned about the National Geographic Channel producing some television material called Bachelors Abroad. You can read a brief summary of the romance tour show by a more reputable competing agency here even including the gem that the company staged some of the scenes, such as having one of their staff impersonate an attendee. We had independently heard questionable reports from our members about the company that received considerable free publicity therein. On National Geographic’s website here there is an open forum discussion of their video production. Interestingly we found it to be dominated entirely by employees of the company.
We publicly threw down the gauntlet in that online National Geographic forum and challenged the company to an objective public measure: having a group of men sign up with various services including both theirs and ours and tracking the results. This would have made for some educational and scientific material. Our comments made as Christian Filipina Site owner were deleted, we assume by the National Geographic staff, and we received an email instructing us to post with our real name.
We did just that, registering and reposting with our real name; 22 hours ago, we posted the following comment:
My name is Peter Christopher, and my wife and I own the site Christian Filipina that provides similar services to the company mentioned in this National Geographic piece. Watching and reading, it almost appears that based on National Geographic research, this one company has a monopoly on international romance. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A presentation on Bachelors Abroad is not much more than an infomercial for one particular company, if it does not engage with these other services as well as the men and women who meet entirely on their own accord with no intermediary whatsoever.
In addition, National Geographic should also investigate and present the perspective of the women (or whoever answers the emails and other interactions that are truly the bulk of the interactions facilitated by these companies) from the foreign side – and ought to do so carefully, by independently finding and tracking those people, not contacting a handful of pre-screened women provided by any service provider. If the National Geographic staff does not know how to contact the women independently, please contact me and I will make some suggestions how to do so safely and inexpensively. I further suggest to National Geographic to make a broader analysis of international romance in order to provide their consumers a presentation which is more authentically scientific and educational in accordance with their charter.
Consider the main way in which the men and women are beginning their interactions. It’s not romance tours. They begin by corresponding over the internet. Track five or ten men, and five or ten women, who sign up for a variety of sites that offer roughly similar services. Follow these five to ten men and women over several months. Trust me, many man and women will meet and be engaged and even married. (But the highest percentage of engagements and happy marriages might not be via the romance tours you first thought to feature.) Perhaps the groups of men and groups of women can compare notes once a month as they follow their path to meet their soulmate. Consider this a kind of “contest” and may the best services (or people who do it without services) win! “Bud Patterson” in fact in a comment earlier today on this very board suggested that competition among services helps to improve the playing field for everyone, so we know he is onboard! We embrace that competition as well. Game on.
We found our comment accepted by the system, but never posted publicly. Even one day later, our comment has still not been published publicly by National Geographic. Was it rejected by the website sensor? We contacted National Geographic via email, and they have not responded with an explanation.
Christian Filipina is still only a small player in international romance, but based on our analysis the largest players are providing inferior services to ours. In our post recently, we raised questions about whether Google and other advertisers have liability if some of the larger players are found to be engaged in fraud as is claimed on various complaints boards on the internet. Since as far as we know, National Geographic receives no compensation for this free publicity they are giving, we assume they would not be liable if their broadcast missed anything. On the other hand, we raise serious questions about the scientific and educational value of their tunnel-vision, company-coordinated propaganda program itself. We also raise questions about what appears to be selectively removing comments (no doubt including many more than just the one we posted) that raise flags about the featured company. What they have appears to be an infomercial and free website advertisement disguised as a forum, not an investigation or community discussion. Is this what “scientific and educational” means now at National Geographic?
UPDATE 2/25 – National Geographic has now restored our comments and many other previously-deleted comments to their page. We applaud this decision and hope that in future episodes they will also present information missing from part 1 of their series.