Friday, March 05, 2010

Sex and the Internet

One day, my friend was at the receiving end of this message on Skype, from an unknown 'person':

"There are thousands of unhappy married women and men in every city, but they DO NOT want to leave their spouse. They want to stay married, but they want to have an affair without ever being caught. Our dating community is extremely popular!

Having an affair can be stressful because you never know if the other person involved is going to get attached to you. You just want to have an intimate encounter and nothing else.

A great thing about this Discreet Dating Community For Married People is that there is no cost to join. You can check it out, see if you like it, and then begin contacting married people for secret intimate encounters.

Press here if you want to have an affair with a married person: "

Now, what are your first thoughts on reading this? I had many; and that is exactly why this blog!

First of all, I can't help notice how they are trying to empathize with the reader. It's a very innocuous message which says that you are a very dedicated, loving spouse; but don't you want to have some 'harmless' fun? (read: one night stand) They egg you on to try out their "dating site" where you can have 'intimate encounters' (or, in short, sex). Notice how euphemistically they put the whole thing so that it doesn't sound sleazy. They are actually trying to offer you a 'guilt-free' ride and justifying it for you, just as your mind would! It actually manages to sound like a sophisticated dating site. But it's not

Out of curiosity (and no other compulsion!) I tried the link. (By the way, it's not actually I intentionally didn't put up that link over here.)

And voila! A whole new site loads, which doesn't bear the name given in the link! How clever. 
The site's actual name is a really sleazy one. "Sex personals and beyond" - reads the tagline of the site. And there were scores of profiles (of both women and men) with no names (remember, they are cheating!). I didn't want to overstay my welcome there, and hence closed it soon enough. All I noticed where the labels "man" or "woman" written for profiles, some with pics (more or less slutty ones, at that!), with details like age, location etc.

It's disgusting and revolting. There were and are many such sites on the internet, but why should this make any difference, you ask. Well, the whole modus operandi is very clever, but wicked too. For instance, their call to 'married' people. Is there any guarantee that only married people will register or use this service? For all you know, this is just a pretext to target people who wouldn't otherwise click on any such sites, by making it 'sound' decent. Further, they are trying to lure married people into committing adultery 'without being caught'! Like this was the answer to 'unhappy marriages'! As it is, infidelity needs no reason; and such sites market excuses to have flings!

And the fact is, it's not dating or an affair... just plain sex! And all the yarn they spin: "Having an affair can be stressful because you never know if the other person involved is going to get attached to you. You just want to have an intimate encounter and nothing else...." My foot!

More than anything, I am amazed at the genius who put Skype to use. As is well known, Skype is growing in popularity, with it's Skype-to-Skype free call facilities. Although Gtalk and Yahoo have started offering call facilities, Skype dominates in this segment. What's the worst thing about Skype is, you can send messages to people without adding them. So, segmenting and targeting online couldn't get easier! If I want to target it at say, youth of the male gender, in so and so country, all I have to do is run a search in their search facility and millions of profiles pop up. I press the send button and it's done! Sure, the recipients might block me; but all it takes is to make another fake profile. My friends also report having got other 'neat' ads, like investment services, etc. So it's a marketing medium in the making.

This again raises the eternal debate of privacy over the internet. You are never hidden from a roving eye, and there are many waiting to put you in jeopardy. So how safe is Skype? Or any online site/chat messenger/or mail facility?

Technology, like anything in this world, can be put to uses, both good and bad. Look at it from one perspective, it seems like a marketing breakthrough. Look at it ethically, and it is not in the one bit amusing. 

It's very evident, isn't it. Even sex sells on the internet!

Thought for the day: "Promiscuity is like never reading past the first page. Monogamy is like reading the same book over and over."


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