Adult FriendFinder

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Adult FriendFinder
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Online dating service
Registration Yes
Available in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Tagalog, Italian
Alexa rank
negative increase 512 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Adult FriendFinder (AFF) is an internet-based, adult-oriented social network, online dating service and swinger personals community website. It allows members to interact online, meet new friends, and seek out likeminded sex partners. The site was founded by Andrew Conru in 1996.

AFF ranks among the 100 most popular sites in the United States and is a major competitor to leading personals sites such as Match.com.[2] According to third-party web analytics provider SimilarWeb, the site has over 35 million visits per month, as of 2015,[3] and is ranked #32 among Adult sites.[4]

History[edit]

In 1994, Andrew Conru created the first online dating site, WebPersonals. After selling that site in 1995, he launched FriendFinder.com, an early social networking site intended to help people connect with likeminded activity partners, in 1996.[5] Days after the site went live, Conru found that people were posting naked pictures of themselves and seeking partners for adult-oriented activities. As a result, Conru started Adult FriendFinder. FriendFinder has since established numerous niche dating sites, including Senior FriendFinder, Amigos.com, BigChurch.com, and Alt.com.[6]

The parent company (Various, Inc.) had difficulty finding venture capital due to the adult nature of its signature property.[7] In December 2007, the company was sold to the Penthouse Media Group for $500 million.[8][9] Penthouse later changed its name to FriendFinder Networks.[10]

On September 17, 2013, the parent company FriendFinder Networks Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[11][12] In December 2013, FriendFinder Networks emerged from bankruptcy protection with reorganization in effect.[13] Founder Andrew Conru gained control of the company and serves as CEO.[14]

Overview[edit]

Joining and creating a profile is free; however, users cannot access certain features without a paid membership, which comes in three levels, Silver, Gold and VIP. Members can use the blog system to write their own blogs and respond to others in the community. Free members also have access to regular chat lobbies. Paying users can view others' profiles and access communication services such as e-mail, private chat rooms, webcams, blogging, and a webzine. Members can purchase subscription upgrades for benefits such as higher search rankings. Members can broadcast their webcams publicly to each other. Chat room viewers can page the broadcasting member to ask to initiate a personal chat session.

Adult FriendFinder has a popular affiliate programs, whereby webmasters refer users to the site and are compensated up to $1.01 per unique click.[15] Much of the company's growth without investment capital has been attributed to this program.[16]

Controversy[edit]

Adware[edit]

The site settled charges with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it bombarded consumers with sexually explicit pop-up ads. The FTC said the owners of AdultFriendFinder.com were accused of pushing the ads through spyware that was often installed without consumers' knowledge.[17]

Fraudulent billing practices[edit]

Adult FriendFinder has been accused of committing systematic billing fraud.[18] According to the complaints filed, the company has a practice of continuing to bill customers even after they have cancelled their service. Former employees of the company have claimed that this is their standard policy and not the result of errors. These employees have stated that the majority of customers do not notice the charges for many months.[19] As of October 2014, hundreds of civil cases have been filed against the company and a criminal indictment was made by the FTC against the company.[20]

Male-to-female ratio[edit]

There is some controversy over the true ratio of male to female members. The AFF disclaimer reports that the user database is rarely purged of expired members or those who have not logged on in years, and that they reflect anyone as being "online" if they have logged on within an hour. They have also been criticized for having excessively high numbers of fake profiles and for their stated policy that:

From time to time models who are not site members or expired member profiles are used in external advertising of our sites and thus you should not rely upon the availability of any particular person(s) as being a member of our site in making any membership or payment decisions. [Disclaimer page|*Note About Numbers]

Prostitution[edit]

They have been criticized for a larger-than-average number of members who are prostitutes "looking for clients".[21] Their matching system also counts free members, presenting them in the list of suggested matches.[22]

Breach of contract[edit]

The site's acquisition by Penthouse was the subject of a 2007 lawsuit by Broadstream Capital Partners, a merchant bank that assists with mergers, alleging Penthouse breached a 2006 contract by purchasing the company without obtaining Broadstream's consent, a claim Penthouse denies.[23] The suit was settled for $15 million in 2011.[24]

Hack[edit]

In May 2015, the site was hacked by users associated with the Hell forums,[25] with the hackers stealing personal information about as many as four million of the site's users.[26][27]

Awards[edit]

The site won the 2010 XBIZ Award for "Dating Program of the Year".[28] It was also voted Best Adult Dating Site of 2012 from About.com.[29]

In popular culture[edit]

A joke about Adult FriendFinder appeared in the 2007 Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore romantic comedy Because I Said So.[6]

In 2009, hip-hop artist Flo Rida debuted the video for "Touch Me" on the site. This was organised by product placement firm The Kluger Agency.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Adultfriendfinder.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Stein, Joel (March 30, 2007). "The Accidental 'Friend' Finder". Money.CNN.com (CNN). 
  3. ^ "Adultfriendfinder.com Analytics" SimilarWeb. Retrieved 2015-7-12.
  4. ^ "Top 50 sites in the world for Adult" SimilarWeb. Retrieved 2015-7-12.
  5. ^ "The Accidental 'Friend' Finder - Online Personals Watch: News on the Dating Industry and Business". Online Personals Watch. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  6. ^ a b Stein, Joel (2007-03-30). "Social networking's dirty side - April 1, 2007". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  7. ^ Matt Richtel (July 27, 2007). "A Thaw in Investment Prospects for Sex-Related Businesses? Maybe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  8. ^ Hopkins, Jim (Dec 13, 2007). "Penthouse' makes $500M hookup with social site Various". USA Today. 
  9. ^ Duncan Riley (2007-12-11). "Confirmed: Penthouse Buys AdultFriendFinder For $500 Million". Techcrunch. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  10. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (2013-09-17). "Penthouse publisher FriendFinder files for bankruptcy protection". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  11. ^ Valinsky, Jordan. "AdultFriendFinder Totally F*cked". Betabeat. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  12. ^ Beaudette, Marie (September 17, 2013). "Penthouse Publisher FriendFinder Files for Bankruptcy Protection". The Wall Street Journal. 
  13. ^ Bathon, Michael (2013-12-16). "FriendFinder Alters Reorganization Plan to Win Court OK". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  14. ^ Andrew B. Conru Ph.D. "Andrew Conru: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  15. ^ Can you earn $1 for each unique visit on AFF
  16. ^ Stein, Joel (2007-03-30). "Social networking's dirty side - April 1, 2007". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  17. ^ McMillan, Robert (June 6, 2007). "AdultFriendFinder Settles Adware Charges". PC World. 
  18. ^ "Consumer Complaints & Reviews". Consumer Affairs. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Various Inc (alt, adultfriendfinder, houstonpress, fastcupid, etc!) BIGGEST SCAM ARTISTS YET". Dumbfcks. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  20. ^ "Adult-Oriented Online Social Networking Operation Settles FTC Charges". FTC. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  21. ^ Adult Friend Finder Dating Site Review - Adult Friendfinder
  22. ^ AdultFriendFinder.com Review
  23. ^ Hymes, Tom (2008-08-31). "Penthouse Denies Every Claim in Broadstream Adult FriendFinder Suit". Xbiz.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  24. ^ "UPDATE 1-Penthouse publisher settles 2007 lawsuit with Broadstream Capital". Reuters. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  25. ^ Stone, Jeff (6 August 2015). "Dark Net Hacking Forum 'Hell' Returns Months After Adult Friend Finder Breach". Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  26. ^ Snider, Mike (21 May 2015). "Large online dating site AdultFriendFinder confirms data breach". USA Today. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Security Updates FAQ". Friend Finder Networks. 
  28. ^ "XBIZ Award Winners". XBIZ. February 2011. 
  29. ^ "Best Adult Dating Site of 2012". Dating.about.com. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  30. ^ LaVallee, Andrew (2009-10-26). "Flo Rida Video Premieres on AdultFriendFinder". The Wall Street Journal.