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When I tell people that I work as an online-dating assistant, their initial reaction is of morbid curiosity. But the intake interviewer seemed just as interested in my ethical flexibility as he was in the journalistic details of my résumé. ” Would I be comfortable ranking clients’ photographs? I learned that there are two main types of writers at the company: “Profile Writers,” who create seductive and click-worthy profiles based on facts our clients have supplied about themselves, and “Closers,” who log in to clients’ dating accounts at least twice a day to respond to messages from matches.
In November 2017, I ran across an ad seeking “people with good Tinder skills” for a job as a “Virtual Dating Assistant.” At first I thought it was a joke, but I completed their online form out of pure fascination. Apparently, professional writers make for good online-dating assistants; knowing how to seduce strangers with the written word is the company’s mandate, after all.
“Before my life had gotten so crazy, I’d managed to develop some material that worked really well on the dating sites I was using.
But I was at the point where I was only able to return messages sporadically, which obviously didn’t go too well with the matches I was interested in.”“I found myself wishing there were two of me,” he continued.
Clients are sent weekly emails to alert them of numbers we’ve scored or, for Platinum clients, when and where to go for a date we’ve arranged.As part of the company’s all-inclusive service, Matchmakers will scour these platforms for potential matches and then send copy-and pasted opening messages to those who fulfill their clients’ preferences, such as “must love cats” or “should know how to cook.”But combing through each woman’s profile would require too much time, so Matchmakers are instead taught to generalize a client’s preferences as much as possible and then select an opening line that could work for hundreds of women. That’s easy: Client X’s Matchmaker can search the company manual for the word “travel” and select from a handful of vague travel-related greetings.From there, after the client has approved the message, a one-liner blitz will rain down on dozens of dating sites, targeting hundreds of women with the word “travel” in their profiles.“We have a lot of ice-breaker messages that are billed around specific interests, like yoga or skiing or having a very short profile,” Valdez told Quartz.“I thought, ‘Why couldn’t I just take what I had developed, and train someone else to sound like me, and outsource my online dating to him?’” After finding someone on Craigslist who “did a really great job,” Valdez started thinking about how many people were in the same position: time-poor professionals who might benefit from some of the lessons he’d learnt.
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Despite hiring writers to do this work, virtually none of what the company does requires creativity of any kind.