Brad Stone had a provacative piece in sundays nytimes on true.com. Apparently, its founder, Herb Vest, is pursuing political lobbying to force cometing online dating sites to do background checks while also admitting that his company employs questionable business practices. These include generating fake ‘winks’ between members as well as making it very hard to cancel memberships.
While I’m impressed that mr vest has built true to 3.8m monthly visitors (though we don’t know how many are paying members) it is strange that someone would be so openly hypocritical.
Mr Vest employed a similar tactic in building his last company by changing the law in 50 states to enable his accounting offices to sell commission based services.
This is further evidence that political lobbying remains the best ROI in US business.
I was surprised that the reporter (brad stone) stopped short of pushing the founder to justify his hypocracy or to delve into the business story – how has the site grown? What is the consumer prop?
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