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What is a "scam" site? (Zoosk, others)


Status: offline

Maraphax

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 2013/06/11
Posts: 16
Some sites are free, some are sorta free, and some are premium. That seems simple enough. Unfortunately, there are a number of sites out there that will mislead you into signing up, and they won't make good on their initial promises. In return for signing up, they will sell your email address (regardless of if they claim they won't) and sometimes even have banner ads with spyware in them.

Most of these are easy to avoid, because most of them are sexually-explicit by name or description. They offer an opportunity to "meet horny local women" or something similar. They all are relatively simple in design, and in order to do anything you must sign up. Some of these signups lead you directly to a credit card transaction window which is another dead giveaway. Other times, they give you a "free account" and you are able to pull up search results of profiles, but in order to contact them you need to pay to play.

Some of these will let you receive messages from other users but not send out messages. This is to lure you into thinking that an attractive person of the opposite sex is interested. Some of these sites will only let you see the inbox item, but not read the message ( "Hotfemale32 sent you a message" ), and their hope is that curiosity about the message contents will burn a hole in your virtual wallet. The general understanding by people in-the-know with this industry is that these are fake profiles generating messages. Most of the time this is how sites create false traffic and inflated user base numbers.

Some sites even show you the incoming message but won't let you reply. But in the end, most of these sites are simply clouded with fake profiles generating fake interest so you will pay under their special terms (often a commitment to rebill your credit card monthly).

These are what I refer to as "scam sites".

Now, to be fair there are some legitimate PREMIUM sites such as FriendFinder and Match.com that also will let you have a free profile, will let you know you received messages, but require you to pay to play. But they don't HIDE that fact, and they spend a lot of money and time to make their sites look and feel professional. They have comprehensive features and usually a large discussion forum. FriendFinder and AdultFriendFinder even have a MASSIVE live chat system with rooms organized into various topics of region and age and interest. The LEGITIMATE paid sites make sure you get something for your money. Do you need it? That's up to do you decide. But they aren't scam sites. This is why I call them PREMIUM.

But avoid the SCAM sites as much as you can! Unfortunately, the simple scam sites are just the easy to spot sites. There are some that aren't so easy, and some that even spend money to advertise on television.

One of the most infamous of these is Zoosk. They have partnered with a couple other sites and even promoted their site through aggressive television ad campaigns to try to get your interest. They tell you they offer a "free" profile, and this much is true. Like the premium sites, you're allowed to pay to message, but there are some deceptive restrictions on that which do not seem to be present in the premium sites.

On most premium sites, you are allowed to pay to message. Sometimes paying lets you initiate a conversation, and as long as that person who you messaged is talking to you, the conversation can be had in both directions. An unpaid member who is contacted by a paid member can therefore have the conversation. As long as you pay, you can talk to anyone, and anyone can talk to you regardless if they paid.

Other premium sites will prevent that, only allowing paid members to talk between themselves, while unpaid members can't communicate. However, they CLEARLY designate the membership status to everyone, so a PAID user is aware who can respond and who cannot.

Zoosk fails to provide this essential piece of information. It is their way of stringing you along for the trial period when you opt in with your credit card number. Users who aren't paid up can read part of the first sentence of your message, but not reply. NOTHING in their status tells you if they are paid or not. This means that even when you're paid up and able to message someone, you have NO idea if they are ignoring you out of disinterest or simply unable to reply.

This may seem like a single minor concern, but consider that messaging and interpreting the receiver of the message is the single most critical element to online dating. Most people want to know if the person read their message (something most free-ish sites let you pay extra for), or if they simply read and deleted it. Or outright ignored it. There is absolutely no way for you to know on Zoosk if you are messaging someone who can even read the entire message much less able to reply. This is frustrating.

When you pay for a premium site, you know there will be a lot of searches calling up people who didn't pay. FriendFinder (FF) and their sister site AdultFriendFinder (AFF) have indications as to who is paid and what kind of paid account it is, so with some investigation you know who can read and reply. For most paid premium users, it will be better to write people you KNOW can reply, and not waste time on those who can't.

Zoosk is perhaps one of the sneakiest scam sites out there, but certainly there are others. Being aware of how the site works is important, and if the site requires you to pay in order to see that, DON'T DO IT. There are so many other free-ish sites that allow enough features to meet and communicate fully with people that it makes no sense, and their paid features usually round out the experience to about the same level as a legitimate premium site.

Stay away from scam sites. Stay away from Zoosk and other sites that mislead you to think they work one way when they work very differently.


Status: offline

Maraphax

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 2013/06/11
Posts: 16
By the way, it's difficult to assess premium and scam sites unless you've paid for them. I will admit that I've spent coin (er I mean MANY dollars) here and there to try them all out. So my loss is your gain.

Caper

Anonymous
angry
I wish I had read this first. I just handed zoosk my credit card 2 weeks ago only to discover no one will talk to me. It's like no one either pays on the site or all the profiles are dead. What gives. I had an ok time at plentyoffish but I was looking for something more and I though zoosk might be it. Boy was I wrong... at least people emailed me back on plentyoffish.

Call me tom

Anonymous
awake
I paid specifically to meet with one girl I found. We met, had a few dates and became intimate before the relationship ended naturally. No scam, no fraud, no way a waste of my £20

vonny

Anonymous
hopeful
I have seen quite a few men on Zoosk that I would like to find out more about but frightening of subscribing as there is so much reported about it being a scam, and most reports are from the USA , is the Uk site as bad? If I subscribe for a month, is it easy to cancel, or do they just keep taking the fees out like other sites I have been on. I think they make it so difficult to navigate around to find the right way to cancel that people give up and just keep paying.

rgt

Anonymous
grumpy
I was on Zoosk a couple of years ago and it wasn't bad, and I connected with several women for dates. I decided to try it again a few weeks ago... and what a mistake! I've found that about one in twenty have replied to my messages. I have only sent messages to those who show up as "recently online" or currently "online" hoping to avoid the ancient profiles and even though I'm not getting replies those people are still reported as viewing my profile regularly, which would indicate that they are interested even though they can't or haven't replied to my message.

So there is a HUGE problem with unsubscribed users showing up but not being able to reply.
I also saw a profile for a female friend of mine who has been married and off the site for at least six years. Another profile was using a picture of a woman that I've known since childhood who has never joined any dating site.
Bottom line, Zoosk is terrible.

I really have enjoyed OKCupid's features but their membership seems to have fallen off. POF was much better before the restrictions. I really don't message people that much younger than myself very often but resent the effort to control what I can or cannot do.

I've had a subscription on Match.com but have had absolutely no results!

Single Lady

Anonymous
I've been on Zoosk for a month now. I signed up as a premium member and I've had no trouble contacting people. I've been chatting with the same guy for almost two weeks and we're going out on a date next weekend. I like it. No complaints here!

Quasar

Anonymous
Zoosk is a total scam. After 80 dollars I learnt it the hard way. I wonder why the government watchdog lets scammers like these function.

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