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After all, their pictures didn't look that different from real backpage ads you'd find in your local alt weekly. I headed online to the websites listed in the escorts' profiles: Interestingly enough, these sites both led me to iHookUp. The site, which advertises itself as a dating page, notes that it was created by "a handful of forward-thinking women who realized that women like hooking up as much as men do.
But why not, right? I wanted to get in touch and confirm my suspicions, so I made a profile. Upon signing in, inputting some information—name, age, city of residence—and being encouraged to pay for a premium package, I finally came to the personal pages of the women I had seen on Tinder. Gone were the text ads for their services, and low and behold, they weren't anywhere near Brooklyn. The women were now listed in Miami, Seattle, and suburban Washington.
Still, I tried sending them "flirts" and "favoriting them" with no results. These were definitely not real people. But why the spambots? What is the motivation in luring horny dudes to a profile of a non-existent person with no monetary exchange, and not even the decency of a robot reply? The answer lay in the incentives of not necessarily driving traffic to iHookUp. Through a traffic and lead generation agreement with LoadedCash. If you can get them to sign up for a premium membership you can tack an extra 21 cents onto that.
Given the millions using Tinder, it seems as though one could make some decent money by gaming Tinder users. The domain owner of GoGFE. I assume he's too busy spending his fake escort money on artisanal hedgehog food, or whatever people in Portland do. Spambots are a continued problem for Tinder and have bogged down similar location-based hookup apps like Grindr in years prior.
In the past, bots had attempted to get men in heat to play an online game called Castle Clash. Now they simply use the prospect of sex to get you to sign up for a hookup site, which actually seems more logical.
Rosette Pambakian, Tinder's Director of Communications, told me via email that they "very recently rolled out a major technical solution to the spambot issue, which should result in measurably less spam and bots than prior.
What originally seemed like a new frontier for the sex trade turned out to be a fairly simple money making scheme by some enterprising programmers. And for titillated bros looking for real-life escorts with the ease of Tinder? Maybe start begging Berlin based app Peppr —which is filled with real, non-bot escorts—to set up shop in New York...