As a pharmaceutical sales executive, Mark Anderson was constantly traveling. He had trouble meeting women, and decided what any reasonable man would do: master the art of online dating. Problem solved.
Except the process became way too time consuming. So he decided to outsource the task to his virtual assistant, who was already paying his bills, managing his schedule, etc. Hey, it beats having your real assistant set you up on blind dates. Um, embarrassing.
Mark Anderson wanted to get in on the action of online dating. He joined forces with his longtime friend Scott Valdez to form Virtual Dating Assistants.
Online dating IS consuming. Nevermind just responding to all the requests you get. Forget about actually searching for someone. So they developed a company to do all the legwork. They'll craft your profile, target your interests, and actively seek people that meet your qualifications.
And once they find some hot ladies, your Virtual Dating Assistant will turn on the online charm to woo your date for you. OK, romance might officially be dead at this point.
Launching during a recession might not have been the best timing. If there's one thing unemployed people have on their hands, it's time, and there are plenty of free sites such as OKCupid.com and PlentyofFish.com for those guys.
But that's not the audience Valdez and Anderson are targeting. All of their clients, who pay $480 a month, are still gainfully employed. They're guaranteed at least two dates per month.
"Our service is not cheap and would certainly be accessible to a larger number of people during a period of economic boom," Valdez tells WalletPop. "However, online dating is one of the only industries thriving right now even amidst the tough economic situation. During tough times, people of all income levels seek the comfort of another to help them weather the storm."
Valdez admits that not everyone is yet comfortable with having an unannounced go-between.
"Our primary service involves us interacting on the client's behalf. Because this is a new concept, many people have not yet warmed up to the idea of having someone else interact on their behalf online," he said.
They're also experimenting with a personal introductions service, which would allow them to be much more transparent with their intentions and their client's intentions.
Entrusting your Romeo skills to some strangers on the Web might be a bit of a leap. When I asked Valdez what are the advanced internet dating techniques and strategies they use, as advertised on their site, he told me "I cannot give you our exact formula, but I can tell you that we use a combination of communication, sales and marketing techniques in conjunction with our knowledge of human psychology and the rules of attraction."
Proceed at your own risk.
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