Update: As of January 29, 2014, the True.com online dating site was defunct. The domain has since been sold to Truecar.com.
(Too good to be) True.com?
The Dating Gurus try to present neutral dating website reviews, but sometimes we find ourselves getting all riled up.
Ironic that the dating site with a name centered on truth is at the center of much controversy.
True.com purports to offer members a safety net by performing background checks, thus helping to weed out the adulterous (a search of marriage records), criminals (felony checks), and sexual offenders (registry). At the same time, True.com is the first to admit that its background searches are hardly perfect. Without a fingerprint check, the searches can't catch felons signing up under a fake name, for instance. Something is better than nothing, when it comes to safety, but it can come at a steep price, with this service provided as a part of the $50 monthly fee.
Do a quick internet search for True.com and you will, of course, immediately be flooded with scammy dating site reviews listing True.com as one of the top dating sites. Be advised that True.com pays an affiliate fee to these websites when a reader clicks from review site to True.com, and even more when someone subscribes through a click. All we're saying, is once you are armed with this information, you won't assume that a 4 star review is accurate.
True.com originally started their media campaign on Myspace, focusing on that demographic. Lots of boob shots, quasi-porn. There was definitely a disconnect between their ad campaign and their message of safety and truth. After many complaints, they have completely toned down their image, but the truth of original concept and intent lingers uneasily.
Focus of Many Complaints
Free trial members have complained that the site actually sends out "Winks" that are, in fact, "dummy" winks to give the impression that there are droves of hot singles on the site who find you attractive. True.com management sends winks on behalf of members whom they somehow conclude could be compatible .
The strategy appears to bombard free members with winks to give the false impression that the site is dripping with gorgeous men and ladies who are just waiting for you to update your membership to paid status so you can then mutually communicate. We've read about people joining True.com only to have the wink blitz suddenly come to a screeching halt. Interesting? We think so.
The NY Times published an article about True's questionable practice after it was discovered in 2007:
The site has also been criticized for generating random “winks” — the industry term for messages of interest from other members. Dan Consiglio, a 49-year-old engineer from Vancouver, Wash., said he received dozens of winks from women after signing up for True, and responded to many of them. He got only one response, from a woman who kindly informed him that she had not, in fact, winked at him.
Mr. Vest acknowledged that the service sends artificial winks, but he said users have the option to disable them and that they serve an important purpose. “We try getting people who otherwise might be very retiring or shy to meet each other and fall in love and have children,” he said. “We are just trying to do our job as a matchmaker.”
Imagine the embarrassment of replying to a member's wink who never actually winked at you? One member complained that he looked at the message chain that was sent on his behalf by the company (the girl who was the recipient copied him the message he supposedly sent) without his permission and discovered that a comment from him was also attached, "Hey this site works!", which he states he never wrote.
Good luck cancelling your membership
On many Web forums, online daters have shared horror stories of difficulty cancelling their accounts. True.com requires members to telephone the company to cancel, and will not accept an online cancellation (making it very hard to track the cancellation process) but it appears to sometimes fail to honor those requests. We've read horror stories of members being billed repeatedly after cancelling, or seeing new membership charges pop up months after cancelling, only to be told that they had reactivated their accounts when clearly they did not.
It is the opinion of the Dating Gurus that you could easily do your own basic background checks via the internet, and bypass True.com in favor of a dating site with less customer complaints.
Dating Gurus grade: F
Pros: Background checks on members, and large member base.
Cons: Questionable practices, history of many customer complaints. Expense.