The fake profiles and messages caused many users to upgrade to paid subscriptions.In addition, the defendants failed to tell subscribers that their subscriptions would be renewed automatically and that they would continue to be charged until they canceled.“Adding insult to injury, users were charged automatically to renew their subscriptions – often without their consent.” According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JDI Dating and William Mark Thomas operate a worldwide dating service via 18 websites, including cupidswand.com, and The defendants offered a free plan that allowed users to set up a profile with personal information and photos.As we’ve mentioned in blog posts before, online users are looking for websites and brands that provide value.
The Commission’s complaint charges JDI Dating and Thomas with violating the FTC Act by misrepresenting the source of the communications from fake profiles and by failing to disclose the automatic renewal terms.As soon as a new user set up a free profile, he or she began to receive messages that appeared to be from other members living nearby, expressing romantic interest or a desire to meet.However, users were unable to respond to these messages without upgrading to a paid membership.Remember: the focus of this statement needs to be on the unique value you provide in your emails—otherwise why should anyone sign up to receive them? “Join Others Like You” Online users like being part of a group. Use this type of statement to send people directly to sign up pages, product pages, or other offer pages. “Be One of The First To Try Our New Product” Online users (and people in general) also love to obsess about being the very first to try something new.If you’re gearing up to launch a new product, create a call to action statement that invites only a select amount of people to try the new product before it becomes available to the general public. “Attend Our Next Event” Don’t forget to use your website as a place to intentionally invite new people to attend your next event.