|Type of business||Private|
Type of site
|Online dating service|
|Services||E-mail correspondence, video chat, live chat|
|Launched||January 21, 1997|
AnastasiaDate was founded in 1993.
In the early 1990s when the company first launched, it used catalogs to introduce men to Russian women. The company launched its first website in January 1997 and expanded its business in more cities throughout Russia and Ukraine. By 2003, it experienced global growth beyond northern Asia.
Following the growth of AnastasiaDate, the company spun off three websites during 2007, each connecting western men with women from different areas of the world: AmoLatina, AsianBeauties (now AsianDate), and AfricaBeauties.
In 2013, the company hired Mark Brooks, whom Anne VanderMey described in Fortune as "a prominent online dating industry consultant", as its Chief Strategy Officer. In the Fortune interview, Brooks said that his goal was to improve the reputation of AnastasiaDate and the international online dating industry as a whole, saying that the industry is "on the cusp of respectability".
In 2013, AnastasiaDate launched its first mobile app on iTunes and Google Play for Apple Inc. and Android devices. The company alleged in a US Federal Court in New York complaint that EM Online had created two websites, anastasiadatefraud.com and ruadventures.com, to broadcast fabricated, negative testimonials, but the complaint was dismissed.
The site features various communication services such as email correspondence, live chat and video chat.
The site is mostly used by wealthy American men between the ages of 35 and 60. The site makes money by charging users who want to meet Eastern European women. As of 2012, such users buy credits "priced on a sliding scale, starting at $15.99 for 20 credits, and going up to $399.99 for 1,000. Each minute of simple, instant messaging-style chatting costs one credit. Special, premium smilies – like a vibrating, multi-color LOL – cost extra. Cam share (audio not enabled) costs six credits a minute. Video chat with voice costs even more". The Fortune article observes: "And thanks to people like me willing to pay to talk with beautiful young women like Anastasia – who was paid to respond – the trade is doing pretty well".
In September 2015, Anastasiadate.com suffered from a series of DDoS attacks that rendered it inaccessible to users for four to six hours every day. Having demonstrated their capability, hackers contacted the dating site and demanded US$10,000 (£7,234) in exchange for stopping further attacks.
After this incident, Anastasiadate.com hired a data security company to investigate this case, identify those responsible, and bring the perpetrators to justice. During the investigation experts at International data security firm Group-IB confirmed that the attack was carried out by Ukrainian nationals Gayk Grishkian and Inna Yatsenko. They also found that the two hackers targeted other prominent firms like US-based Stafford Associated that leased data center and hosting facilities and another firm named PayOnline.
Subsequently, a complaint filed by the company helped Ukrainian authorities arrest the two hackers and an analysis of data stored in their confiscated devices confirmed their involvement in the crimes. After they pleaded guilty, they were sentenced to five years in prison.
With the growth of online services like AnastasiaDate, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act was passed in 2005 to regulate the industry. News outlets call AnastasiaDate the leading "premium international dating" website and have observed its efforts to seemingly rebrand the mail-order bride industry, within which it is grouped. The Guardian journalist reported that "none of the men I became close to on my tour ended up in lasting relationships, and the majority appeared to fall victim to a number of sophisticated scams". A girl on the site who was interviewed "explained the whole sordid array of techniques, from a light impersonalised online-chatting version to a full-service chauffeur-driven platinum fraud, where men are rinsed of cash for a full week in Odessa, thinking they are cementing a lifelong relationship while actually they are being strung along on platonic dates that end with them dispatched to the airport with heavy hearts and empty wallets". The same article added that "AnastasiaDate insists that it weeds out scams whenever it finds them, and has banned some women from the site".
Even acting within the regulations, international dating sites like AnastasiaDate could potentially exploit women in less-developed countries and male suitors in developed countries. A 2014 report in The Guardian found examples of exploitation for both genders.
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