Canada

Ashley Madison Facing A $760 Million Class Action Lawsuit Over Hack

Canada
  • Friday, August 28 2015 @ 07:03 am
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  • Views: 928

The bad news just keeps coming for Ashley Madison.

The adultery dating site was hacked last month by a group calling itself The Impact Team. At the time of the security breach, The Impact Team threatened to release customer records online if Ashley Madison was not shut down.

Avid Life Media (ALM), which runs Ashley Madison and other dating sites, did not back down and the hackers made good on their threat. More than 30 million email addresses and credit card numbers have been exposed, including those of notable figures in entertainment and politics.

In the wake of the leak, things have only gotten worse for Ashley Madison. There are reports of suicides that may be tied to the hacking scandal. Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone with info that leads to the arrest of the hackers. The company is also facing a $760 million class action lawsuit over the data hack.

Eliot Shore, a widower from Ottawa, is the plaintiff in the suit filed this week in Ontario against Avid Life Media and Avid Life Dating, a subsidiary that runs Ashley Madison. The legal action alleges that the privacy of thousands of Canadians was breached when the hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison.

"Numerous former users of AshleyMadison.com have approached the law firms to inquire about their privacy rights under Canadian law," the law firms Charney Lawyers and Sutts, Strosberg LLP said in a statement. "They are outraged that AshleyMadison.com failed to protect its users' information. In many cases, the users paid an additional fee for the website to remove all of their user data, only to discover that the information was left intact and exposed."

Lawyer Ted Charney told VICE News that around 100 people have expressed interest in joining the class action so far, noting that anyone who registers will remain anonymous.

It will be up to a court to decide whether Ashley Madison did enough to protect its customers. David Fraser, a Halifax-based internet, technology, and privacy lawyer, thinks the class action faces “a bit of a challenge.” He says the Ashley Madison terms of service are "decidedly consumer unfriendly" and "completely covered their butt."

There may even be a question over whether this can be a class action at all. Ashley Madison's terms preclude customers from filing such suits, but consumer protection legislation in Ontario protects the right to do so.

Either way, it won't be the end of the issue for Ashley Madison. The Associated Press reported that another lawsuit seeking class action status was filed in the US days after the hack became public.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law goes after Dating Site POF

Canada
  • Wednesday, April 08 2015 @ 06:32 am
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  • Views: 1,117

Dating website Plenty of Fish (POF) has been making headlines recently for its longevity and user milestones, as well as its recent disclosure of financial information about the company. But thanks to the new anti-spam law in Canada, POF now has an unwanted headline that they have to deal with - the popular dating website has been ordered to pay $48,000 in fines for its email practices.

Canadians complained of Plenty of Fish’s marketing tactics, which launched an investigation by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau into the company’s practices. Specifically, the agencies examined how the company handles commercial emails to subscribers.

According to the disgruntled users, POF sent them commercial messages without a noticeable “opt out” or “unsubscribe” feature. One of the key requirements in the law is that each commercial email contain an unsubscribe mechanism to allow recipients to opt-out at any time. Also, according to the wording of the law, the unsubscribe feature has to be prominently displayed and “readily performed.”

Plenty of Fish agreed to paying a $48,000 penalty and developing a new compliance program to address its problematic email practices. The compliance program will include training and education for staff, as well as corporate policies and procedures regarding email marketing.

The new anti-spam law has been in effect since last year, but the Canadian agencies have had their challenges in enforcing it because of how vast and pervasive the problem of spamming seems to be. Millions of spam emails are sent every day by spammers from all over the world. Experts argued that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau were not equipped to handle such a pervasive issue.

The agencies however, are proving the critics wrong. The Competition Bureau recently alleged that rental car companies Budget and Avis engaged in false and misleading advertising when they failed to disclose numerous additional fees as part of their car rental promotions, including their email promotions. The Bureau is seeking $30 million in fines and reimbursement to customers. And the CRTC discovered that Compu-Finder, a Quebec-based corporate training company, sent commercial emails without consent and like POF, without proper unsubscribe mechanisms. The company was hit with a $1.1 million penalty.

CRTC notes in a press release that POF did not argue with the fine or the accusation, and hopes that by example, other companies will be inspired to change their own email spamming tactics. As for POF, the company continues to grow its subscriber base despite its setbacks, recently announcing its user base has grown to 100 million worldwide.

Dating Services in Canada Statistics

Canada
  • Thursday, February 19 2015 @ 11:34 am
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  • Views: 2,226
A new "Dating Services in Canada Market Research Report" has been released in January 2015 by IBSWorld. The report requires payment to read the entire thing (no less than $725 US) but they did release a few interesting statistics for promotion that are worth mentioning.

According to IBSWorld the dating industry in Canada grew 6% from 2010 to 2015. They feel this rate is low due to the recent recession but the rate of growth is expected to increase in the next 5 years.

In Canada there are 255 businesses in the dating industry that employee 523 people. On average this means every dating business employees 2 people. In my experience the case more likely is that most of the businesses employee 1 person (the owner), a few probably employ 2 to 5 employees, and the very few employ 5 or more. The reason for such a low number of employees and high number of businesses is the relative ease and extreme low cost required to get into the dating industry. Free dating site software can be found online and web hosting can be found as cheap as $5 a month.

The report also mentions that revenue generated by the dating industry for the year in Canada is $153 million. This seems rather good especially with 255 businesses which would suggest that on average each generated $600,000 in revenue. This is not the case either. Most of these dating businesses probably either make virtually no money or only generate a few thousand a year in ad revenue. A few probably generate 10's of thousands, and even less generate hundreds of thousands or even a few million. I believe the majority of this revenue is made up of one dating site, Plenty of Fish. POF is located in the province of British Columbia, Canada. All of the other popular dating services are based in the United States. POF is a private company and no revenue numbers have ever been officially released. That being said they are one of the most successful dating sites in the world so I am sure their revenue for a year is probably 10's of millions of dollars. For comparison just take a look at the Match.com dating site. They are a public company owned by IAC and they reported the Match Group earned in the fourth quarter of 2014, $241.5 million US. That is only for 3 months so in a year they generate around 1 billion dollars. Now the Match Group is made up mostly of paid dating sites while POF is a free service which generates revenue from ads as well as paid upgraded memberships. I don’t expect POF to earn hundreds of millions every year but as I said, with their traffic I do see them earning 10’s of millions.

Is this latest IBSWorld report worth getting? It definitely would be an interesting read but the thing with the dating industry is that it is global. If you are opening a dating service you usually don’t just target one country. You would target continents as a whole like North America or Europe. If you are considering purchasing the document I would probably hold off and wait for the US version to come. The US is 10 times the size in population of Canada which is a much bigger customer base.

POF Betting it Knows What Online Daters Want

Canada
  • Friday, March 07 2014 @ 07:03 am
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  • Views: 1,286
While POF has garnered a lot of attention over the years for its free online dating service and hook-up potential, its founder wants to get back to basics and is focused on the goal – finding people matches for the long-term.

POF does have an advantage over other dating sites: namely, its user base. With 70 million registered users all over the world, it can rightly call itself the largest online dating site. Three and a half million people log on to the site every day to look for matches and communicate with others. The company also estimates that over one million relationships a year begin on its website.

What does this mean for daters? For one thing, the sheer numbers POF draws from memberships means the company can determine how people date from country to country, including their cultural preferences and overall approach to dating. They’ve found that while daters in the U.K. largely embrace online dating, the rest of Europe is a bit behind. They can focus on areas of growth and potential.

POF began in Canada, but the U.S. is by far its biggest market, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

“People in the United Kingdom will wear turtlenecks in the photos they send,” POF founder Markus Frind told The Provence, commenting on the cultural differences of dating he’s witnessed through the POF user base. “Women are way more aggressive in Brazil. They initiate as much as men.”

POF was started in 2003 when Frind was working for another technology company, and created the dating site in his spare time. He ran the company out of his apartment for five years until it reached ten million in annual revenue. Today he employs about 75 people in a large office space in Vancouver, and since POF remains a free service for daters, most of the revenue generated is from advertising.

Though Frind won’t disclose how much revenue his private company makes, he has put aside $30 million for acquisitions and intends to keep growing. In September of last year, he bought speed dating company Fast Life, hoping to add value to his online dating service by getting into singles events.

And as for success stories? Frind met his own partner through work, not over an online dating site. But he has gathered some success stories resulting from POF matches, including a young married couple who met each other five years ago on the site.

With its popularity unwavering, POF is focusing its efforts on technology and growth. The goal according to Frind is still to help people find long-term relationships.

eHarmony Canada Online Dating Coupon Codes for 2019

Canada
  • Monday, January 06 2014 @ 07:23 pm
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  • Views: 2,368

Here is a Canadian eHarmony coupon code for their most popular promotion. This coupon code expire at the end of the day on June 10, 2019.

Hot

eHarmony Coupon

Members can receive 15% off any eHarmony.ca subscription by entering the following when you sign up.

Code: ELOVECANADA - Click here to use code.

Canadian Flag This coupon code listed above is only valid on eHarmony in Canada (eHarmony.ca).

USA Flag For US singles, go here for our eHarmony USA (eHarmony.com) coupons.

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Read our review of eHarmony for more information about this online matchmaking service.

Match.com Stir Events Now in Canada

Canada
  • Tuesday, August 27 2013 @ 08:52 pm
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  • Views: 2,113
Match.com's popular Stir events have come to Canada. A Stir event is an organized singles party that is held at a physical venue like a bar or restaurant. This week events are being held in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

Starting August 26,2013 Match.com Canadian members can sign up for Stir events by visiting the Events tab in the Match.com membership area. Invitation to events are sent out based on a user’s demographic information, age, and physical location.

When you go to a Stir happy hour event you know the relationship status of everyone there is single. Events are arranged and invites are sent out to members based on their location to the event and the age range the event is designed for. When you get to the event you also can connect with your mobile phone to find out who else is in attendance, what they are looking for in a match and, view their profile and photos.

For more information on Stir events you can read our page on Match.com or you can check out the press release.

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