7 NEWS BOSTON -- Dec 12 -- New claims say some of the tempting profiles you see may really be cyber fakes. David Lemay put his profile on the web and got a response from an Elle McPherson look alike. David emailed back, but nothing. New lawsuits claim Match.com and Yahoo's sites have posted fake profiles on purpose to lure people into paying for membership renewals. The complaint lists different potential daters using the exact same phrases in their profiles--too unique to be a coincidence. Match.com calls the suit extortion. Mark Brooks runs "Online Personals Watch." He admits date baiting can happen but can't believe larger sites do it. "To have a product manager put the hand up in a meeting and say, 'hey, why don't we put up bogus emails so we can improve our conversion rates'...they'd get fired." Brooks says some companies filter out obscene photos and obvious fakes but they don't make sure postings are real people. Experts think online daters are targeted when their memberships are expiring.
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Mark Brooks: Sites will typically bubble up expiring profiles in searches. Nothing new there. However, product managers, employees, please make sure to delete test profiles. The profile used in this video looks to me like a test profile. Not date bait, but a profile that an employee might put up to test the site. I can see 3rd tier, one-man-band sites succumbing to the temptation of using date bait to raise their conversion rates out of the ashes. Match, Yahoo, nah! I have great respect for these companies and their integrity. As an industry, I think we need to freeze profiles from search results that are completely unresponsive after 20 contacts/2 weeks.