“I wonder if the Nigerian email scammers are onto something.”

This is a comment by Alastair on the post “How to Successfully Meet Women Online“.

Alastair said:

“I wonder if the Nigerian 419 approach has something going for it. Nigerian 419 scammers send barely coherent e-mails, littered with spelling and grammar errors. While some wonder why they would take such an approach, which would alert most people immediately to the fact that the e-mails were a scam, the Nigerians are onto something. Each response requires time and effort to string along to the point where they get money out of them. However, only the most gullible would actually give up money. By writing their e-mails in such an amateur manner, Nigerian 419 scammers pre-screen their respondents for high levels of gullibility.

“Likewise, if you have a very clear idea of what you are looking for in a partner, or are a person of extremely particular interests and tastes, it can be worthwhile to write a profile that aims only to interest that narrow window of people who would share your interests and be of interest to you. Most people seek to be generically pleasing, but there is much to be gained from aiming to be as distinct and ungeneric as possible, to seek to appeal extremely strongly to a small section of your visitors, while being of little direct interest to the majority. Back in the days when I used online dating websites, thinking of ways politely to disinterest those people with whom I had little in common was always a continual concerns.

“The quality of respondents was always much higher when I presented myself in a manner that emphasized highly niche, rather than generic appeal. The number of respondents with limited connection was diminished and those who did respond generally felt that we had something very important in common, because I had aimed to stick out from the generic norm as much as possible. The decreased quantity had the benefit of giving me more time to devote to each contact and increased the quality of those contacts. Besides, ultimately you only need to end up with one person.” 

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  1. Back in the dawn of internet dating sites I had a profile on a national dating site filled with the usual stuff/cliches; my love of reading, my other interests and a picture. Although I did initiate some messaging they never resulted in anything and I never got any messages from women without me messaging them first. One evening when I was feeling rather demoralized about the whole “finding my true love” thing I deleted the images and text on my profile and just put in the text:

    Fat, rich and not too happy.

    I wrote the rich part because I had just gotten a bit lucky on some stock options in a publicly listed dot com company so I wasn’t exactly lying although I were to find out that rich means different thing to different people.

    When I logged in a few days later there were about 10 messages from women waiting for me. I even went on a date with one of them – a nurse student with a sense of humour. The thing I learned was that I had unwittingly pre-screened for the completely wrong women and that my original profile was in fact useless.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    It’s amazing that the scam is still out there, but most amazing that the scammers haven’t even bothered to change the name of the country. It’s actually called the “Nigerian” scam, people, so use a little imagination and pretend to contact the sucker from a different country at least.

    At this point, it’s probably an independent, self-aware internet meme that just reproduces itself, and this is how the AI’s will take over the planet.

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