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"A lot of people think this only happens to dumb people, and they can tell if they're talking to a bot," says Steve Baker, a lead investigator for the Federal Trade Commission tells me. The people running these scams are professionals, they do this for a living." The scam starts with creating a chat bot, which is easier than you'd think. The Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity, or ALICE, which generates scripts for chatterbots, has been around for decades.These programs can be modified for any purpose, though designing a believable online dating companion can take considerable time and effort — perhaps too much for some of the troops at Ashley Madison.
"' Let me go ahead and put in my credit card information.'" Russell paid $100 for 1,000 credits, which he could spend on sending replies or virtual gifts. After a few months of rejection, he didn't bother to log back on Ashley Madison again."I don't know if I can disclose this," Conru says, "but recently, I had a guy do a search to see, like, White House.gov, and we found that there are lots of .govs, and a lot of " The company incentivizes members to prove they're who they say they are by sending in copies of their drivers licenses in return for a "verified" button on their profiles (similar to the little blue checks on Twitter accounts).The fact that men outnumber women on the site's heterosexual platform ten-to-one is just life, they figure, and the women on the site are seemingly active enough to keep the guys onboard.Last July, he found out that he wasn't the only one getting the silent treatment.A hacker group called The Impact Team leaked internal memos from Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life, which revealed the widespread use of sexbots — artificially-intelligent programs, posing as real people, intended to seduce lonely hearts like Russell into paying for premium service. The strangers hitting you up for likes on Facebook? And, like many online trends, this one's rising up from the steamier corners of the web.For AFF, bots are a cop out, though the appeal of building them is obvious enough to Conru.
"If I wanted to boost our revenue and move to the Cayman Islands, we could probably double our revenue simply by using bots," he says.
"You can design a bot to fool fraud detection." But, in the case of a number of dating sites, developers aren't trying to weed out fake profiles — they are tirelessly writing scripts and algorithms to unleash more of them.
It’s the dirtiest secret of the $2 billion online dating business and it stretches far beyond Ashley Madison.
Bots were deployed for international markets as well.
The company would simply run the dialogue lines through
"The only way you can compete with fraud is you let people know it's fraud," he tells me.