Building a thriving internet community can be tough.
Converting a community into paying customers is considerably harder. On cockeyed.com, I count on merchandise, click-thru ads and monthly advertising schemes.
Fark.com sells a fortified version of itself (Totalfark) and
Something Awful sells access to its comments section.
Dating sites use a different scheme. Many of these sites allow any visitor to post a free profile, but only allow contact information to be exchanged between paying customers. You can look, but you cannot talk. I have to admit, this is an ingenious scheme. New visitors will often devote hours crafting a worthy profile, uploading a complimentary set of photos and composing a personal description which touts an
exaggerated appreciation for classical literature.
Once their profile is online, they may start getting some attention, such as "winks" and mail, but may only be able to read that mail once they have paid a monthly membership fee. I empathize with single people in this situation. These sites dangle a carrot so close that it is poking you in the eye. This is like a bank slipping $700 into your checking account, only to charge you a fee when you pull it out of the ATM.
This restriction on contact information invites subversion.
Sneaking Contact Information into your Profile
If you can somehow sneak your email address into your profile, " I hope SallyBird3433 gets to say "Gee! Male!" in the near
future", "Iceflakequeen vacations near at aye oh
or "Atlanta Ballerina, Yeah, who?" You can avoid paying, and you can attract the people who are really scouring your profile. It could save you both money, and even inject a little corporation-busting intrigue into your relationship.
The trick is to hide the email address from the dating site's administrator. He will definitely be
filtering all profiles for the word "email", ".com" or the "@" symbol. "Yahoo" is probably forbidden, as well as
I'm going to put myself into the email encoding business by simply starting a reference table to dumb two-word codes, like this:
The codes can be ANYTHING. They will only need to be strange enough for people to realize a hidden message is there. Anyone who hangs out online for long enough will know that cockeyed.com is the place to decode these nonsense phrases.
Ideally, even a novice profile-viewer will approach a nonsense phrase such as "zinc typewriter" with a Google search.
"Hmm, she sounds nice, but what the hell is a "zinc typewriter"?
Zinc Typewriter will only have a couple of results, and hopefully, one of them will be the cockeyed.com email decoder page! Your email address will be there for the taking! Victory!
Examples of Prohibited Contact
From Latin Love Finder:
What does "Rejected" mean?
Rejected is when a member has uploaded obscene or pornographic photos or has tried to "sneak" contact information or website links into their profile. Rejection is a temporary freeze on the account made by the admin of Latin Love Search until the profile content conforms to our standards. If your profile has been "rejected," change the content and resubmit for admin approval.
Free to post a profile, but $30 to communicate with anyone. They run their profiles through an automated filter, looking for terms such as "hotmail" "yahoo" or
More information at http://jdatersanonymous.blogspot.com
On Date.ca, users could once sneak their email address into their profiles. However, the site is now strictly monitored, so there is no way to contact someone without paying. In fact, you cannot read a message from someone without first subscribing to the site. This is frustrating when you know you have a message, but you just canít check it.
From Match.com Membership agreement:
Part 9-f: You may not include in your Member Portrait any telephone numbers, street addresses, last names, URLs or email addresses.