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Fortune Magazine Examines AnastasiaDate and the Mail Order Bride Boom

Fortune magazine’s Anne VanderMey just came out with a well-rounded piece, on our competitor AnastasiaDate (which also operates AsianBeauties, AmoLatina, and other sites).

As a fascinating coincidence, just after reading their article I received a call from a sincere man from Pennsylvania, who had found our site recently after spending far too much money at AnastasiaDate and failing to actually build a real relationship.  This result would be no surprise to Mrs. VanderMey, who clearly states that the model with whom she did a site-test at Anastasia’s site  was paid to respond. Like hundreds of men who have chosen our inexpensive membership plans, he too will soon be meeting real women here who are trying to meet their soulmate, rather than reporting for a paycheck.

Here is a video provided to use from Ukraine by a woman who has worked in the “responder” agencies, that work for multiple per-message-fee sites and get paid per message and per minute to communicate with men.

AnastasiaDate dominates Google Search results for Marry Foreign Woman

Seven out of Eleven paid search results for “marry foreign woman” at Google are for Pay-Per-Message Sites. Four out of the seven are for Anastasia’s sites alone (marked with A)

One amazing thing about Anastasia is their 2012 revenue, according to VanderMey, is $110 Million. The truth is that their website looks professional, but are the women on the other end being paid to draw out the correspondence and conversations as long as possible so they can keep earning commissions?

When we speak with men and women from Russia and Ukraine, where the real nature of these businesses is understood, they joke back at us, “Are American men really so stupid that they think they are going to be able to marry the women who are being paid to chat with them?” Well, according to VanderMey’s $110 Million revelation, what is the answer to that question?

VanderMey says that Anastasia has run ads on “CNBS, Discovery, Golf, the History Channel, and CNN.”  We know they advertise heavily on Google (we even wrote about the Anastasia Google ads here). Does the semblance of legitimacy implied by these advertising networks allowing the ads contribute to the confusion of the men, who later pay for the privilege of being duped? (Speaking of rhetorical questions, is it fraud when the chief strategy officer of a company acknowledges that women using the site are compensated for their interactions, when this is not disclosed to the users of their services?)

Here is the comment we left in the Fortune article comments section.  Apparently their moderator has not yet approved it as of the publication time of this article here at CF.

Congratulations for standing up to Mark Brooks and printing the truth about this [common internet romance] business model: the women (or men impersonating women?) who are on the other side of the border are actually getting paid a percentage of the man’s payments when they exchange letters or chat via cam. Romance is not their goal for interacting with men through the site. Tens of thousands of men learn this the hard way.

AnastasiaDate and Mark Brooks [like many other similar internet romance sites] attempt to sidestep responsibility for not informing men of the payments to women, by [indicating] any women’s chat commissions is paid by “agencies” that act as intermediaries [but are technically prohibited from paying [the responders].

As owners of an online community where men and women meet who are not paid to interact with each other, we welcome the increased consideration of international romance by men and women worldwide. Sometimes your soulmate really is more than 5,000 miles away.

[Some internet romance agencies] appear at the present to have an extraordinarily profitable business model, (mostly in Ukraine and China) and charge men per message fees to chat with women. These businesses are extraordinarily profitable precisely because the women are not actually interested in romance. The men who are uninformed enough to believe these services are helping them develop relationships end up paying ad infinitum for this virtual affection that is extraordinarily unlikely to ever result in a real relationship.

Businesses like ours where men and women actually meet every day, but which do not charge per message fees, are far less profitable. As such we cannot compete with the [per message fee] class of sites for advertising and get far less traffic, even though we provide a far superior service. Companies such as Google, Bing, and thousands of smaller affiliates, send all their traffic to the highest bidder, even if that bidder’s service ends up being a waste of money to the consumer.

We proposed to Mark Brooks that we would set our service up in a head to head public contest versus Anastasia and publicize whether groups of men and women using the services actually met someone special and ended up living happily ever after. He rejected our offer. Can you imagine why? In spite of his highly-compensated claims to the contrary, AnastasiaDate is not a place where a man is [] likely to develop an actual relationship.

We salute you for telling the truth about this industry.

Here, by the way, is the short Fortune Magazine hangout that the reporter did, with Fortune Editor Matt Vella about this article.

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