Cyber Cyrano saves woeful web wooers
Published: 09 Jan 2013 07:31 GMT+01:00
Ingo Möbius, a dedicated singleton and avid internet-dater, started off by trying to help his brother meet a girlfriend online - and after organizing three dates in a day, realized he had a knack which he could turn into a business.
Professional windsurfer Andreas Laufer jumped on board to manage the business side of things and the pair launched SureDate last September and now offer a range of services for those who for whatever reason needed help with their online romantic lives.
Many of their clients say they are simply too busy to spend much time online trying to organize dates.
"Businessmen who work 12-hour days don't want to come home and sit in front of a computer looking for dates," said Laufer.
He also suggested that many found the basic filtering work of paging through dating sites and trying to spark up conversation with a potential partner frustrating.
The kinds of conversations held on dating sites were much more straightforward than the kind of chatting up that goes on in bars, Laufer also suggested - and that was scaring off some more sensitive men.
"You hire a cleaner to clean your house or a taxman to do your taxes and by doing so save time and effort," the site reads.
"For those who don't have a girl- or boyfriend, it can be worth spending a lot of money on finding something that could potentially be long-term," Laufer expanded.
Money doesn't seem to be a major consideration for SureDate's clients keen to save time and effort in the hunt for the love of their lives. Around 50 men have signed up in the last three months - most plumping for the ongoing "platinum package" which costs €699 a month, although there is a cheaper version for a one-off €99 fee which guarantees one date.
That deal was often "popular with people wanting to buy a present for a friend who has been single for a long time," said Laufer.
Funny or freaky?
The SureDate team meet the client to get a feel for his personality and set up a profile on the dating site of choice - FriendScout and C-Date are favourites, Laufer said. He will even organize a private photo shoot to get the client's best side for his profile picture.
The client can not only specify what kind of women he wants to meet - he can point out particular women on a site and task the SureDate team to try to get him a date with her.
Möbius then steps in as an online Cyrano de Bergerac to chat with potential dates, pretending to be the client.
But there is no chance of this turning into a Hollywood-style romantic comedy where the professional flirt falls for the woman he is trying to seduce for his client - he makes sure not to say too much.
"This prevents too many feelings arising from chatting; we wait for that during the date," Laufer explained.
Before the big day the team meet up for a talk with the client, who is offered individual training and a cheat sheet of what "he" has been discussing with the woman online.
Depending on which package he has signed up for, this can also include detailed coaching and suggestions on how to behave during the date itself.
Afterwards those with premium packages can embark on an in-depth analysis of the evening with the SureDate team, along with tips for next time.
Every customer so far has gone on dates, said Laufer, and some have even started relationships as a result. “There are some serious couples who met thanks to us,” he said.
Most of the men confess having used the services of a ghost-writer which Laufer insists only insult half of the women concerned. "Over fifty percent laugh and think it's funny," he said.
All their customers so far have been men - Laufer said he thought women got more attention on dating sites. "It's like the Stone Age out there," he said - and said the next stage in the business might be to develop a secretarial service to help women manage all their dates and online chat-partners.