Feds sue Match.com after users complain of swindles and spam

Millions of fraudulent accounts, bogus emails from nonexistent suitors, fake notifications… it's not Ashley Madison, it's Match.com, sued yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission over accusations of swindling its users.

The FTC also accused Match of failing to properly disclose the hoops dateless users need to jump through to qualify for a free six-month subscription. Match also didn't provide a simple way to cancel, officials said, and those that disputed charges through their banks found themselves banned.

The New York Times got a statement from Match, which claims the allegations are all lies.

Match Group said in a statement, "The FTC has misrepresented internal emails and relied on cherry-picked data to make outrageous claims and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these claims in court."

The company said that the F.T.C. was overstating the impact of fraudulent accounts and that Match did not have data that supported the agency's claims. It also said that the majority of scams the trade commission had cited were spam, bots or other users on the site.

The whole model of "free accounts that do nothing but get you put on a list for endless scammy upselling with fake messages from fake people" was always going to end up in this barrel. Do LinkedIn next!

The deeper problem with most of these sites is they're covertly optimized for engagement rather than whatever they're supposed to be optimized for (finding partners, finding jobs, etc).