Thursday, April 20, 2006

Finding the network

October 2003

Whenever you are using the internet there seems to be a plethora of online dating sites. I often wonder how so many sites can stay in business.

The first site that I ever looked at was introduced to me, unknowingly, by Maggie.

We were living in Shanghai at the time and, periodically, she would check her email account and correspond with her friends back in Hong Kong. One day however, for whatever reason, she managed to block her email account. When she told me over dinner that evening, it was obvious that she was a bit upset, so the following day I decided to see if I could get her account unblocked.

My intentions, initially, were innocent enough. I just thought it would please her, and I would earn a few extra compliments.

Anyway I tried to log in, and sure enough, the account was blocked, so I followed the procedure to reset the password. After a minute or two, I was prompted to answer a security question 'what is your pet's name?' She had more than one dog, so I didn't know the answer, a little later that day I called her. Rather sleepily, she gave me the answer.

It obviously took a little time to register, but eventually, it must have occurred to her what I was trying to do. About an hour or so later she called and said, 'honey, don't try to access my email, don't worry about it, it doesn't matter'

I could tell from her tone that she was less than happy, but I simply said that it was no trouble, upon which, much more angrily, she said 'I'd much rather you did other things to help me' and put down the phone. The first time she ever put the phone down on me.

A few minutes later, I got access to her account with the answer she gave me, and saw straight away what she had been so upset about.

There were a few emails from friends, some junk and a large number of emails from the Relationship Network telling her of people who matched her search criteria. I read a couple then marked them as unread.

I knew immediately what had happened, she had been using the dating agency in Hong Kong before we met, and had continued to receive the standard emails. I did wonder why she hadn't cancelled it though.

I decided I needed to find out more.

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