Online Dating Firm sees Share Value Halved
One of the UK’s biggest online dating providers has seen its shares halved after announcing an audit into the way it operates.
Cupid Plc which includes cupid.com, benaughty.com and flirt.com saw its shares fall by 57% to 49p.
In February an external investigation found that users received lots of messages when they signed up to the site as free users, but interest tailed off as soon as they had paid for the service.
Cupid have previously denied claims that it was creating user profiles on its websites to entice new customers to sign up in order to tempt free members to pay subscription fees.
Chairman Bill Dobbie said that it had around 500 ‘staff profiles’ on its websites, but stressed they were used for moderation chat rooms and forums and to root out scammers.
Blogger, John Hempton, revealed he set up a fake profile on sister website girlsdateforfree.com. He says he made his profile as unpleasant as possible included heading it ‘fat, lazy, poor sick guy wants supports’, to see what kind of reaction he would get on the site.
“Strangely and almost immediately a fair few age-appropriate and good-looking women want to talk to my false profile. Girls I could not get normally I think,” Mr Hempton said on his blog.
“After a couple of weeks (and having allowed my profile on other Cupid sites such as benaughty.com) I have about 50 women who want to talk to me and about 190 emails in my specially set-up account.”
Mr Hempton’s story was then featured in a Financial Times blog. Cupid Plc have said the company was ‘aware of a recent article and is carrying out an investigation into the allegations therein’.
They also said they have commissioned an independent audit by one of the ‘big four accounting firms’.
Pic source: Abiola TV