Notes on a scam
As a user of various online dating / community sites, I’m quite used to receiving unsolicited messages from people with a certain air of spam about them. It seems from anecdotal evidence that you’re much more likely to get these if your profile indicates you’re submissive.
Typically, the messages come from someone with a profile that claims they’re looking for a slave, with photos that seem too good to be true, and they state that they’re seldom on the site, so it’s best to communicate by email.
So, in a spirit of enquiry, I decided to play along with one of these and see what happens, and work out what the scam is. In the particular case here, the original message was sent to me on Recon, but the same happens on other sites too; Recon seems to be working pretty well these days at deleting these accounts when they crop up.
Note that I do not recommend you do this yourself, and you should always check any links carefully before following them.
It started with a message
As usual, it all starts with a message to your profile, from a handsome person. I find – perhaps they create multiple profiles – that very often the person claims to be in Hackney, East London. That’s convenient, because I really am there. Anyway, the message asks if you want to be their slave, and gives an email address to contact them on, usually at Gmail. So, I reported the sender to Recon – his profile text matched that of previous scammers, which I have copied and saved in Evernote – and meanwhile decided to play along by sending a message by email. According to the address his name was Ivan Scott.
I started off keeping it very simple:
Subject: Hello Sir…
So, what’s the deal, then? Not so keen talking on Recon?
The response was pretty swift
Good to hear from you! So are you here to submit yourself to me and experience my Dominant skill and serve me?
OK, let’s play along with this
Well, that depends what sort of thing you’re after, I guess. I mean, like 24/7, or occassionally? And what kind of service you want.
Again, a reply within just a few minutes, telling me more about what he wants
I will be glad if you can do 24/7.By the way,I am Interested in giving training to the following:
Do you like some of that or maybe are you willing to try one?
I can work with that. I also wanted to find out a little bit more, and see if he was really in Hackney. So I replied
I particularly love bondage, and leather. Whereabouts are you?
Four minutes later, I got a response.
I am in Hackney.
Okay great..So Before anything else i want you to read my Rules first.Let me know if you do agree with those rules.
5 GOLDEN RULES of MASTER.
1. A submissive place is to honor his Master
2. A submissive place is to obey his Master
3. A submissive purpose is to serve his Master
4. A submissive pleasure is in accepting Guidance and Discipline
5. A submissive joy is to please his Master.
Lots of smalltalk
Hackney is a pretty big place. And I’m not yet convinced. So I replied like this:
Hackney? Really – me too ! Whereabouts…
Those rules seem ok, I guess…
He doesn’t seem too eager to say exactly where he is, does he?
That’s cool.Okay good one of your first and most important responsibilities as a slave is to inform your master of all your limits.
So may I know your limits slave?
Limits are funny things, and they can vary depending on the person you’re playing with, or even from day to day. Still, at least he knows enough to try and ask about them. Perhaps he’s trying hard to appear genuine, so I’ll go along with it for now.
Well, I guess I don’t know them all yet… but not really keen on drinking piss, or being cut/branded
He’s still keen, just a few minutes between messages here, and he wrote back to say
Okay well I am not into extreme pain,blood and scat. I will respect you as well as your limits slave
Alright I want you to know that I don’t wanna waste my time for nothing, so if you really want to experience my dominance skill, you must to do everything i want, to get my attention and approval to accept you as my slave servant..! Understand that slave?
I have to say, this would not be the normal way I’d approach someone. I prefer a normal conversation first, before I trust someone with my body. But perhaps this works for some people. I’ve still not got to the bottom of where this is really going, though, so next I asked
OK… sure, Sir…
What do I have to do?
Well, I guess this response works for some people, but really, “Dark Locked Bedroom” ? I think Ivan’s been reading too much romantic fiction
Okay for now I want you to be a part of my community indicating my expectations from you so that other Alpha Male knows that you are going to be under my guidance and discipline and that will also serves as your passes to be with me in my Dark Locked Bedroom. Can you do that?
That word “community” is actually a sign the end is in sight. So, time for me to appear eager:
Yes, I think I can do that, Sir.
When do we get to meet?
He wants to meet!
Hurrah! I’ve pulled. He wants to meet on Saturday – and we also, finally, have the meat of where this is all going, in this reply:
I can meet you this coming Saturday.
I want you to make a profile here,click and go on the page below for you to be my official sub/slave so I can fulfill all your desires and fantasies
• Master Community Page •
I want you to make a profile on there and I want you to use SNigel2SirPogi as your username.
Activate your profile on your email then continue creating your profile.
Make a detailed profile on there and don’t skip anything on it.
When your done, I want you to upgrade your profile on there to one month membership only cause I don’t want you to spend too much on me.
The text “Master Community Page” is, of course, a hyperlink. He’s used HTML in the message so you can’t actually see the full link address. When you click on it, you’ll see something like this – it’s a site called MyBDSMDatelink:
Now, we’re actually getting somewhere. I’ll come back to that site shortly, but first I wanted to find out a bit more about Ivan, and where we’d meet on the coming Saturday, so I send him this:
Saturday sounds good… where? You know the Crooked Billet in Hackney?
I will check that web site out and see if I can fill in a profile; I think I have enough money in my bank account, but I can’t see how much it costs right now.
Something in his reply suggests to me that he’s worrying more about the money than where we might meet:
That will only cost you $29 my slave.I want you to do it now so I can prepare for your Slave Certificate.Yes I know the place.You can just suggest a place foe us to meet.
Ivan, I just did suggest a place to meet. You said you knew it. But actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t, do you? (Really, I should have made up an outrageous pub name, like the Frog and Lollipop, just to see).
Inside the hidden link
Before we go back to the emails, let’s take a closer look at the site, and do some digging. First off, look in more detail at the URL (hidden behind that code in the email message). There are two key parts in it, amongst all those parameters:
An affiliate ID strongly suggests that he’s getting some cash out of this somehow – and remember how keen he was that I sign up for a paid membership right away. I tried to take a look around the links on the site, such as the terms and conditions – always good practice anyway, with something like this.
Let’s look at some of the other T&Cs. Ivan wanted me to pay, so it’s always worth checking what the terms might be – he generously suggested I pay for a month, and that’s possible to do. However, as with many sites, it’s recurring billing:
You agree that at any time you may upgrade your account to an option that charges fees and that you will be solely responsible for any such fees charged. These fees will be charged on a recurring basis without intervention by you and may be cancelled at anytime…
The rest of the paragraph goes on to explain who you have to contact. There’s also a helpful option which, I suppose, would cope with buyer’s remorse if, for example, Ivan just vanished:
If the sole reason you upgrade your account is to correspond with one specific member and such member does not respond to your correspondence, you may request a full refund within five (5) days of your initial membership purchase. To initiate such refund you must email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Terms: Member Introductions”, and detail the specific member with whom you were attempting to communicate. If your account was solely used for that purpose and it is within the five day window, your account will be refunded your fee and downgraded to a free account. You will not be able to respond to any future communications from other members after this process.
So, as long as you didn’t try to communicate with someone else, and it’s within five days, and Ivan doesn’t get back to you, you can have a refund. Probably. If you can contact their billing department. I’d be willing to bet, however, that Ivan will very likely reply to at least a couple of messages, and string you along, so you can’t cancel.
Why might he do that? The answer lies in the link at the bottom of the page that says simply ‘Webmasters’ and in those parameters that were in the link Ivan sent by email. Here’s what you’ll see on the Webmasters page:
Make money fast!
Yes, this is the heart of the matter. Drive people to any sites in the AdultDateLink network, and as an affiliate, you earn money from each person who subscribes. The site details three different options for affiliates:
• Pay Per Signup – If you choose this option you make $50 immediately when any of the free members you send upgrade to a paid membership.
• Revenue Share – 50% share of gross monthly revenue generated by your referrals. The more you promote us the more you make!
• Pay Per Click – Make up to $1.00 per click. The better your traffic, the higher the payout. The pay schedule is as follows:
Look back at that info from the link, and as well as an affiliate ID, there was another option, program=PPS. From the way the affiliate choices are listed on the site, I think it’s reasonable to infer from that that Ivan is on the first option – he’ll make $50 immediately if I were daft enough to follow his suggestion. I didn’t read through all the terms for affiliates, but even if there is an option that says they don’t pay if someone gets a refund, all he has to do is send one response to a message to avoid me being able to cancel. The site hands him $50, and takes $29 from me, so they’re down $21 if I manage to cancel after the first month.
Call me excessively cynical, but I suspect cancelling won’t be the easiest of tasks. And that aside, if he’s canny, and doesn’t want to risk AdultDateLink network spotting that he signs up lots of people who cancel after a month, all he has to do is postpone that Saturday night, string me a long for a few weeks with the odd message here and there. If I get into month two, I’ll have paid $58 to the company, so they’ll still be up $8 on the whole deal.
And that, of course, assumes they’re blameless. I don’t know enough about them – but my advice would be to never sign up with any dating site that operates an affiliate scheme. Lots of members are likely to have been tricked into setting up profiles by people like our old friend Ivan.
Speaking of him, it took me about 10 minutes to glean some of the basics of the affiliate scheme from the site, and then I sent this back to Ivan. Harsh, but true:
I bet you don’t know the place. I bet you aren’t even in Hackney.
You’re a faker; that much is clear.
Just one question – are you on the revenue share for that site, pay per click, or pay per signup? I guess the pay per signup would work best for your game, wouldn’t it? I fork over $29, you get $50 for the signup, and just have to string me along for enough time to avoid the refund that the site says they give if people sign up to message a particular person and don’t get a response.
Or perhaps you work for IMC/Date Link Networks, and you’re using these sleazy tactics to try and get desperate people from Recon to sign up to your service.
Either way, not really interested.
But thanks for playing!
Poor guy didn’t like being rumbled, and protested. Of course it’s all about loyalty, trust and devotion, Ivan. That’s why you used the same profile text as countless others before you, isn’t it? And I suppose the $50 is just a nice bonus? Here’s his little moan:
This not about the money or the page..this is about your loyalty,trust and devotion to me ok? I hope you don’t waste my time..I don’t want your money.Do you think I will work for this cheap site.?.I’m Business Man and i earned a lot i can give you cash and great rewards if you want.
If only he’d mentioned he was a Business Man before, those capital letters sure would have impressed me. And yep, I’m sure he can give me cash, because of all those $50 affiliate payments he’s raked in. So, I sent him one final message, and blocked his address on my mail server. Bye Ivan!
Give it up, Ivan. It was never about you. It was about finding out what happens when someone replies to the spam you splatter all over Recon.
You copy and pasted exactly the same profile text that’s been used over and over again for the same scams. Why do you think your profile’s already been deleted from the site?
Go find another sucker. The rest of us will carry on reporting your little scam each time we see it.
And there you have it. How the “please contact me via email to be my slave” scams work. In a nutshell, you’ll be asked to create a profile elsewhere to prove you’re being controlled. You’ll be encouraged to pay for site features, and the “dom top” who’s chatting to you will pocket cash each time he gets someone to play his little game.