Do dating sites use fake profiles?

Dating sites are growing in numbers by the day. The industry may suffer some blows from time to time, but one thing is sure – people will continue searching for that special someone online no matter what. With new dating site concepts popping up regularly, and the oldest dating sites lasting for over 25 years, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. So, Best Dating Sites Today is here to answer the question – do dating sites use fake profiles, and explain why.

A woman looking at a man's dating profile on her laptop.
Are you talking to a real person?

What is the point of fake dating profiles?

There are two major reasons fake dating profiles exist. First reason is as old as dating itself, and concerns people who present themselves as younger, more attractive or better-off financially than they actually are. The extreme version of this scam is so called catfishing. To put it simply, a person will assume a false identity, and build it on someone else’s stolen photos. This is done for many reasons, spanning from loneliness, shame about a person’s looks, boredom, to more insidious reasons, such as revenge, or intent to trick other people for money.

The second reason fake profiles are built stems from dating sites themselves. Let’s think about their reasoning. A dating site’s primary function is to allow people to meet online so they can start dating in real life. However, if a dating site is new, there is little to no incentive to join it, especially nowadays. If the idea of the site is not absolutely unique (which is getting more difficult by the day), few people will want to join. Furthermore, the initial lack of interest means even fewer people will join later on because the site has no users you can talk to. Basically, if your user base isn’t big right from the start, you are not going to see a drastic growth in numbers later on.

Hence, some dating sites will create fake profiles to build the initial user base. Sites that choose to do this often employ animators – paid professionals who chat with unsuspecting users, often under a fake name and with stolen photos, and no intention to actually meet up for a date. Another way dating sites use fake profiles is by sending messages an AI has created.

Illustration of a robot saying ''Hi''.
Chat bots are often used

For these reasons, it is always best to be skeptical and read as many reviews of dating sites and apps as you can find before joining.

Can Dating Sites Post Fake Profiles to Lure In Members?

Technically, the answer is no. Even the biggest and oldest companies have had much legal trouble for posting fake profiles. However, these cases going to court hasn’t stopped other sites from making fake profiles. Moreover, it has shown them the way to avoid suffering consequences. Thus, many dating sites put the blame on the user by acknowledging the existence of fake profiles in Terms of Service. To make it even harder to navigate and search, ToS is often displayed as an image that can’t be searched for words and phrases pointing to fake profiles.

3 Online Dating Scams to Avoid

When it comes to sites themselves running fake profiles, the goal of this method is always monetary gain. However, there are some nuances when it comes to scamming users out of their money.

Why do dating sites use fake profiles – building clout

As we have previously explained, some momentum is needed, but rarely given to up-and-coming dating sites. That is why many of them, especially sites geared to people looking for a serious relationship. To put it simply: It is very difficult to come up with a good original idea, develop and advertise it well. It is much easier to build a fictitious user base and call it a day.

Illustration of a hand holding a cellphone with a dating profile on it.

Reasons to use fake profiles – membership models

A huge number of dating sites operate entirely on the premise of fake profiles. In this case, you won’t be able to find a single real person on the site at all, but will get a massive amount of attention by paid professionals trying to get you to either buy a coin bundle for messaging or a premium membership of some sort. Most fake dating sites use this model, and you can learn more about them in our guide.

Why do dating sites use fake profiles – let’s shake things up

Some dating sites and apps have started out as free services and gained a huge number of users. Many of them want to increase their profit by introducing a premium membership. These attempts usually flop, as people don’t like paying for what was once free. Many users even flee the platform altogether because they feel disheartened by the new model. Thus, some dating sites transition into the new paid, era by creating fake profiles with extremely good looking people talking other users into getting the premium membership.