The initial page of GaysMeetups.com shares a similar design with other websites that belong to the same company, which we have already visited. However, this time we immediately noticed the user is provided with additional information in an attempt to present a more reassuring impression of the portal and entice more members into the trap.
Registration is quick and doesn't require any payment. However, this alone doesn't enable a member to make any contact with other users. To send messages, a paid subscription is required. But as soon as we get access to the members’ area, we receive a lot of engaging messages. This is quite strange as our profile lacks any basic information and doesn't even have a picture.
Our experience teaches us this is a red flag since an empty account doesn't usually get any attention. The reason this happens is that the messages are not real. They are either created by fake chat operators or are computer-generated to simulate human conversation. In either case, this is a rip-off that encourages the user to buy the paid subscription needed to reply.
After carefully reading the Terms and Conditions, we found the explanation for this cheeky trick.
Here is the relevant passage
We may from time to time offer users the ability to “Promote My Account” through Account Settings. Activating this service will mean that we will automatically broadcast custom messages created by any user, or selected from a default list of template messages, to other users. We reserve the right to select members to use the Promote My Account service. Sending messages through this service will be free, however, recipients, who view and choose to reply to a Promote My Account message, will require to have an upgraded Paid Membership in order to reply to the sender.
That's not even the worst of it
At the exact same moment a user decides to purchase paid membership, he becomes the victim of a costly trap. Among numerous other options, GaysMeetups.com offers a 3-day trial package at a bargain price. But the subscription extends automatically unless it's terminated by the member at least 72 hours before it expires.
Since the required notice and the duration of the subscription are exactly the same, cancellation is not possible, and the trial period will be extended for at least one more month at a much higher price. The company responsible for this scam is Porticato Media Ltd and is registered in London, UK.