Direct contact information at an early stage: A good thing for everyone?
Obtaining direct contact information at the earliest possible opportunity is usually one of the core pieces of advice given to men seeking to date a Russian or Ukrainian girl. (For Americans, this would only be after any IMBRA obligations are fulfilled.)
By so doing, one reduces the possibility of writing to a corrupt translator in some agency in the FSU and/or that your correspondent is a big hairy-arsed Yuri. Sounds good on the face of it, yes?
I was recently chatting to a guy connected to the international dating industry. We discussed this very topic. He gave me a few very interesting points to ponder on, that I thought I might bounce around here for sensible discussion.
Many of the guys who imagine they might like to be married to a Russian woman are, in reality, far from ideal candidates from the women’s perspective. 95% of those men who initiate contact never step on a plane, it is claimed by some in the industry; a believable figure. There are the “all agencies are evil” camp who dedicate a great deal of time seeking out free sites, ways to circumvent agency restrictions, trawling Odniklassniki hoping to seek out the profile of a woman they saw on a pay site, etc. “What’s wrong with saving a few dollars?” you may ask. Well, on the face of it — nothing. We all like to save a shilling where we can and spend our money wisely. However, this behaviour is often indicative of a “greedy” (in the Russ-glish sense) trait in many men. Greedy men women don’t want! Many women like the buffer that their agency provides in that it keeps her at arms lengths from possible creeps and cheap-arsed guys in the early stages.
Translator fraud: Guys writing to translators as opposed to the actual woman are an often heard complaint when working through agencies. Lets spin the coin on that one for a moment. Olga Maslova of Ladagirl.com, has had many women ask her to “weed out” the unsuitable men by writing on their behalf in the early stages. She refused to do it, insisting that women reply to all mail personally, and as a result, some women pulled out saying, “I have no time to talk crap to fat old guys/poor guys/losers/guys with no passport/guys who are not ready to step on a plane. Find me a nice professional guy who isn’t too old, isn’t a whack job, and doesn’t look like a bulldog chewing a wasp and I’ll take over then”. Is that so unexpected? You may be a well-adjusted, normal dude, but consider some of the otherblokes who enter this endeavour. Isn’t it sensible that some women use their agency as a kind of PA to weed out the no-hopers at first base? Women have told us that most local agencies will do this for them.
Early stage contact information for everyone may subject her to an avalanche of nonsense ranging from “scam checks” involving someone pounding at her door with a droopy $3 flower hoping to thrust a camera in her face to “prove” she is real, through to flurries of SMS messages in free Google translated garbled Cyrillic that makes no sense. Sex tourists and would-be stalkers at her door are a far smaller, but quite possible consequence of her address being for sale. Men posting her personal details on so-called scam sites — simply because they were rejected — is something that is quite likely. Olga Maslova from Ladagirl.com has found with certain ex-members of her site, that some rejected men are more than happy to publish a woman’s information all over the internet as a “scammer”. For the women, the upsides to initial direct contact information being available are minimal. The advantage to early stage direct contact information is mostly beneficial to the men.
On the subject of numbers and addresses being for sale: There are several conversation points to this. When you use a local dating site, lets say eharmony or similar, can you buy women’s numbers and addresses? No. Why do we expect the right to simply buy them — buyer not validated in any way — simply because the woman lives in Russia?
Lets take this a stage further. Guys, how would you feel if a woman close to you, maybe your daughter or sister for example, by signing up to a dating site, had her number and address sold to men for twenty bucks a shot? Would that give you a warm fuzzy glow inside? Probably not. Would you be concerned about the kind of guys who might buy that information and what they may use it for? I would.
Lets also look at the agencies and what’s in it for them. As with any business, agencies want to show a profit. They are not charities. They have invested money in not only building a nice website, but advertising, recruiting FSU based affiliates, paying translators and other staff, sometimes upgrading the FSU based agencies infrastructure at their expense to allow video calls and other facilities. They take your dollars, pay greedy 3%-5% merchant fees and US income taxes, and figure out how to get the share of that money to the FSU based affiliate in local currency. The big aggregator sites with thousands of women will work with dozens of FSU based agencies who in turn must pay their staff and overheads before they make a profit. Isn’t it reasonable that they want a few dollars beyond an address sale for locating women and all the resultant marketing involved in getting you to find her? Some kind of lock in deal is the only way to achieve that and stay in the black. At the point direct contact info is exchanged, the agency is usually out of the loop thereafter and their revenue for that lady often stops right there.
This is quite an interesting subject. I have always fell into the “exclude the agency ASAP and get direct contact info” camp. However, when you consider the other side of the coin; the view from the industry and the women’s side, what advantage does it offer them?
In my view, in order to protect the women from creeps and afford agencies a profit margin, a delay in obtaining direct contact information seems necessary. The inherent risk to this is you are writing via some corrupt local agency to a woman that doesn’t exist. To that end, it is the current industry business model that must change in order to protect the interests of both sides.
© Copyright 2010 Stuart J. Smith, author of The Russian Bride Guide.