Yesterday I placed an ad in the Men Seeking Women section of craigslist.
(See last post for details)
I thought it was a pretty good ad, an opinion that was confirmed by a number of female friends outside of my dating pool.
I had tried craiglist before, a year or two ago, and had a few short-lived email correspondences, but nothing useful...the sane-seeming women were scared of me and I was terrified of the wack-jobs I heard from...one mullet-wearing woman was being counseled by a Gypsy Medium who was channeling relatives from beyond the grave in order to predict the future...um, OK. Have fun with that. Bye.
In any case,when it comes to women, I'm afraid that there are damned few mistakes that I'll only make once, so off I went to try my luck again...
MY BIG SURPRISE
Holy shit! Within an hour of posting, my inbox had 10 replies...by lunchtime I had 50+, it was becoming impossible to keep up with- at first. It wasn't long before I found some ways to quickly filter my new-found popularity:
- Despite stating my age preference as being "30-45ish", I got a lot of emails from girls in their late teens and early 20's...being the gentleman that I am, I started to reply to one, saying, "thanks, but that is too young for me", but I noticed the email addresses and the names didn't add up- email addresses usually contain some sort of personal reference...a person might use their initials (Jane Doe might be "jd555 @ mailcom", or a dog fancier might be "poodle999@ mailcom", etc. )
For example, I doubt if someone named Mary Smith would ever choose an email address such as: "qxwhtykuov2812m@mail dot com"...and even if they did, I do not want to date them, because they are clearly exhibiting signs of a disordered mind.
Some of the letters also said things like "my ex-boyfriend reads this inbox, so please reply to "wcyrt67nuy89sersdd@mailcom instead"...uh, huh.
No red flags there. No herring in Denmark.
A great many addresses (all gmail) followed this formula : name, a two character-code and a three-digit code, i.e., marysmithjk971@g ...one or two could be coincidence, but after a dozen, I started seeing it as a pattern, one that almost certainly indicates gypsy chicanery.
Digression: Gibberish addresses, if you did not know,are usually codes used by webmasters and spammers to track the success of their electronic campaigns- the replies are tracked and the data is used to identify what works and what doesn't when it comes to ripping off gullible, vulnerable people.
So I deleted all the replies from gibberish and/or formulaic addresses, which eliminated 80% of my replies right off the bat.
Then I started looking for replies that indicated they had read the text of my ad...one reply mentioned "coffee or lunch" in the subject ( which is what I asked for in my ad), so I replied to that one first...within minutes, I got a nice, polite reply that included a modest picture of a smiling, attractive 40ish woman. She asked me for a picture, so I obliged and a few minutes later, she replied very positively.
"I'm interested. Write back and we can meet somewhere", she said.
That, I thought to myself, was too damned easy.
And, of course, it was. Scant seconds after the "yes" mail, I got yet another mail from the same lady...she forgot to mention that she is worried about "all the craigslist murders" (??) and wanted to make sure I was over 18, so hey, would I mind signing up for this dating service (link enclosed) that she used in order to protect herself?
"Don't worry, it's free", she assured me.
(Camelsback Rule #23: If it's free and on-line, be worried)
Uh, huh, I mused to myself, wouldja mind giving me a hand with my turnips? They seem to have fallen off my truck.
Anyway, I did check the link and it looked like this:
It asks for your name and email and you are offered of a "$0 Free Age Verification"...see Rule 23, above. Of course, to get your "$0 Free Age Verification", you have to give them your Visa number, which will only be used to verify your age and ID- because, God knows, there is no way in the world a teenager or a criminal could ever get their hands on a working credit card number.
Of course, you have to click the box that says you agree to the Terms of Service before you proceed. Take a look at this...there are 22 sections of garbled pseudo- legalese here...the scroll bar at the right hasn't even budged in this shot:
Who the hell has time to read this sort of stuff when they have a hot 20-year old that's waiting to fuck them?
I have that sort of time.
I figured that by the time I finished reading it, my new sweetie would have aged ten years, thus becoming more suitable to my tastes and desires.
I'm glad I read it. I found stuff like this:
You will receive three free days of access to PlatinumClub.com. You can cancel at any time during the trial period. If you do not cancel within the trial period you will be billed $39.95 and your membership will renew each month thereafter until cancelled.[sic]
Huh. You are automatically enrolled in a service that costs $40 a month and it is up to you to cancel. I read all twenty-two sections and nowhere does it tell you how to cancel.
There is, however, an offer to get a "Free Membership" by agreeing to participate in "Affiliate Offers", an offer that contains this wording, which should be enough to scare away anyone, but probably isn't.
IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT TWO AFFILIATE PARTNER OFFERS AND PROVIDE EMAIL VERIFICATION WITHIN 48 HOURS, YOU WILL BE BILLED AT THE APPLICABLE RATE YOU AGREE TO DURING THE REGISTRATION PROCESS. THIS CHARGE WILL AUTOMATICALLY RENEW MONTHLY UNTIL CANCELLED [sic].
Wow, so not only are you responsible for your $40 monthly Free ID Verification, you are also beholden to their Affiliates...who are their affiliates, anyway?
The affiliates, it turns out, are pornographers and the con-artists who shill for them.
I know , I know...knock me over with a feather.
Here's how it works: Anyone over 18- you, me, Grandma, anyone- can sign up to be an "Affiliate"...the parent company will send you links to websites already posted and/or materials that you can post yourself. These materials have your account number embedded in them, and anytime a customer signs up for a Free ID Verification, you (the affiliate) receives a 60% referral commission. That should clue you in on just how "Free" those ID Verifications really are.
In case you were wondering, this is also exactly how the online pornography industry operates...individuals are tasked with directing traffic to the pay-sites in exchange for a cut of the revenue. Classic scheme, really.
My conclusion is that the bulk -95% or more- of the replies that I am (still) getting are originating from "affiliates" who are trying to direct traffic to pay-sites in exchange for a commission...after all, a significant number of people are gonna forget to cancel their "Free Membership" within the given time-frame (assuming that there's even a way to cancel).
On another note, I just spoke with a friend from the old office. He was called last week about working when the office re-opens. I did not get one of those calls...and the only jobs that I see posted on-line are about as honest and sincere as the dating sites above.
My unemployment runs out in 12 weeks...then what? Do I become an "affiliate partner" and troll craigslist posing as a "hot 20 SWF" ?