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This is a fairly common practice across the industry.

Cupid makes most of their business through the charging of these fees, as there is no advertising on their websites.

Such kind of semi-legal activities is a subject to legal prosecution in some countries.

Björn and Benjamin Bak, founders of German dating application Lovoo, and twelve members of their staff were arrested and accused of commercial deception because of using similar scheme.

Investigation by Ukrainian newspaper Kyivpost in March 2013 proved usage of fake profiles by the company and confirmed that the company's 'social media managers', whose job was to tempt users, were actually located in Ukraine.

The company quickly grew its user base – by 2007 they had their first million paying users, and a few years after that they hit an impressive 13 million paying users across all networks.

In February 2013, the company was the subject of BBC Radio 5live Investigates programme.

Users told the BBC that they had received many messages from potential dates as free users of the site but that, when they paid for membership to be able to reply, the volume of messages dramatically decreased.

Nevertheless, Cupid recognized that existing staff profiles 'were not clearly identifiable' to users and said it had replaced the motivation teams with dating advisors.

In July 2013, BBC published new investigation, claiming that problem of fake profiles still existed, and the company used real persons' data without their knowledge.

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