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Flirting With Paid Impersonators? (Response to QZ Article)
You may be reading this after checking out an article on Quartz written by a former employee, a “closer” who was on the VIDA team for a very short time. Even if you missed that post, you may still have some hesitations about VIDA, and if that’s the case, you should read this article anyway. Even a major news outlet was quite a bit off on what we really do, so it will definitely clear up any confusion you may have.
If you haven’t seen the Quartz article by Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin yet, you can check it out here. While she’s obviously a talented writer (we wouldn’t have hired her if she wasn’t), she wasn’t entirely accurate when it came to reporting her facts. Some tidbits, while they definitely made for juicy soundbites, simply weren’t true.
For instance, Ms. Rose presented this example as one of the “pick-up” lines we send for our clients:
Problem is, we’ve never sent it on behalf of a client. That’s a screenshot from the insanely viral Quartz article, but you won’t find it there anymore. The editor at Quartz removed it when we showed them it wasn’t a real VIDA opener. That message was part of a “brainstorming session,” where, as we always say internally, “no idea is a bad idea.” Once the brainstorming session ended, though, it was deemed a bad idea and quickly discarded.
I could have spent more time trying to get the Quartz editor to fix the rest of Ms. Rose’s inaccuracies and outright false statements -- including the other message examples that aren’t real, and what it is the profile writers, closers, and matchmakers actually do. But I decided to choose my battles wisely and just focus on getting the worst part—a terrible line we’d never use—removed from the article.
Despite the “journalistic license” Ms. Rose brought to the piece, she did bring up a few interesting points about our matchmaking service, and I’d like to address those in this article.
Here are some of her primary negative opinions, along with my responses to them:
Opinion: Paying writers to impersonate people on dating sites is a moral gray area.
Some people might see what we do as controversial, sure. It’s true the matches our writers are communicating with don’t realize they’re actually messaging with someone else.
But real connections aren’t formed online, they’re formed in real life and face to face. We only facilitate these connections.
The REAL magic happens when we are able to connect two highly compatible singles and get them together on a date where the REAL sparks can fly.
Communicating with a “stranger” through a virtual medium doesn’t come naturally for most people. VIDA’s mission is to help connect singles with long-term potential who might never meet each other otherwise. We do it by identifying highly compatible matches and then getting them in person as quickly as possible.
Fact: Closers are paid a commission to obtain phone numbers and set dates.
On top of their hourly compensation, our writers also earn performance-based commission. They receive a small bonus for each date opportunity they generate with a match who has been approved by our client.
That’s our way of rewarding closers for being both effective and discerning when it comes to finding our clients highly compatible matches.
After all, our clients aren’t collecting phone numbers and bragging about the size of their Black Book, they’re looking for their soulmates.
Opinion: It’s in VIDA’s best financial interest to not get results.
Most matchmaking services require clients to sign a 6, 12, or 24-month contract, paid in full, upfront. The client’s then stuck with the bill regardless of the results. VIDA isn’t like that - we’re so confident in our matchmaking process that we operate on a pay-as-you-go structure.
That’s why this part truly left us shaking our heads - who’s going to sign up for another month of a service that’s not working?
If our clients don’t meet “someone special” in their first month, they only make the decision to continue into the next because they can see they’re on the right path with our service - based on the quality of the matches they’re meeting.
Usually, we’re able to get our clients into a relationship in the first, second or third month, and we’re excited by that!
A high percentage of our business comes from word-of-mouth. Our process works, and our success stories frequently refer single friends, colleagues and family members to our service.
Opinion: VIDA uses expert tricks that target the primal female brain.
“Gospel” is a bit strong 😉 We just know how to write about our clients in an attractive way.
VIDA’s writers have to be very good at making great dates possible for our clients from day one. Modern dating isn’t something we were taught in school. It’s competitive, and many of us don’t even want to master it. We just want to meet someone special. That’s why VIDA’s highly skilled writers go through an intense training program.
“Women On Demand” is the title of a product that the world’s biggest dating coaching company commissioned me to create for them back in 2014. They chose the title, which also made me cringe when I first heard it. While it could have used an overhaul to better represent VIDA’s current best practices, philosophy and processes, it did contain advice that’s every bit as relevant and useful as it was the day it was created.
That’s why when we recently brought all of our training materials up to date, we phased out the discontinued product’s name and integrated its most valuable teachings into our step-by-step incubation program for new writers.
There are no “tricks”, unless you think extensive data analysis qualifies. We track and monitor the performance of all our icebreakers to help ensure we’re sending the right messages to the right matches. After all, better data means better results.
Our material gets great results, which is exactly why clients come to us. The icebreakers are just that - a way to get a conversation going. Once the response comes in, our expert dating writer takes over, and that’s when all the insights they picked up during the training period are applied.
As anyone who’s ever messaged someone on a dating site likely knows, keeping the conversation going requires both creativity and effort. The best way to get a response to your dating message is asking something that’s fun to think about, and easy to answer. Meaningful questions are absolutely necessary, but isn’t it better to save the “heavy” stuff for when you’re face to face over a cup of coffee?
Messaging on a dating site is like exchanging small talk at a cocktail party - you want to spark enough interest that the other person wants to get to know you better, and see you again in a more intimate setting - the first date. And we’ve found the best, most effective way to do that is by moving the conversation off the dating apps and into real life.
At the end of a long, stressful day at work, the last thing many women want to talk about is the latest project or initiative they’ve been working on at the office. Icebreakers like this are effective because it takes them somewhere more interesting than back to their office again:
It’s an enjoyable escape - and that’s why women respond so well to this type of message. It’s not “condescending small talk,” it’s an awesome conversation starter that works.
Opinion: VIDA’s clients are basically outsourcing their courtship to robots.
VIDA isn’t a substitute for the courtship process. VIDA is a service that allows busy men and women to meet pre-screened, high-quality matches. The courtship process is what happens after two people have met, felt a spark of chemistry, and want to get to know each other better. VIDA just makes that possible!
Heartbreak, awkwardness, inelegance - those are absolutely part of the dating process. But if you’re only experiencing those things online, rather than in a real world interaction, well… you’re doing it wrong.
Ask for a number, set up a date, then put down your phone or step away from your laptop! Courtship is what happens next - courtship isn’t what transpires in a Tinder conversation.
Now that you’ve gotten the real story...
You can form your own opinions. VIDA’s approach may not be the right one for every single out there, but it definitely works for our clients.
In fact, the Quartz piece - while quite negative overall - acknowledges that what we do is highly effective. Even Ms. Rose had to agree on that point.
If you’re curious about what VIDA can do for your love life, why wait? Schedule a consultation now with one of our expert matchmakers!
Why Choose VIDA Select?
Since 2009, thousands of clients have discovered true love thanks to VIDA Select’s fresh, modern approach to matchmaking – which has finally thrown blind dates and long-term contracts out the window. This isn't your grandmother’s matchmaking!
Instead of working with a single matchmaker using a small rolodex of potential partners, VIDA Select’s matchmaking team taps into the world’s largest database of available singles. We’ll quickly identify the matches who check all of your boxes so you can finally experience true chemistry. Are you ready to become our next success story? Schedule your complimentary consultation now by clicking the button below!