A new exposé from the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit combines two common local gripes — the notorious difficulty of the Bay Area dating scene, and Silicon Valley companies’ constant desire to charge thousands of dollars while providing virtually nothing in return. In this case, however, the company called “Silicon Valley Matchmakers” is not really a Silicon Valley company. And despite their promises of a “local office” and “real, local singles,” they appear to be operating the exact same stock-photo website in multiple different markets and coordinating the entire scheme out of Oklahoma.

I normally refrain from linking to businesses who may be operating on the unethical side, but this is just hilarious. Here we see the website for Silicon Valley Matchmakers. Boy, does it look similar to something called East Bay Matchmakers. Just for fun, let’s copy and paste the boilerplate verbiage from the website and see if any other “local” matchmaker sites pop up.

They do! Singles, get ready to meet Vegas Matchmakers and Capital City Matchmakers, both of whose websites brag of local offices and phone numbers, but are otherwise the exact same damned website. NBC Bay Area tracked down the company’s vice president of operations Mike Carroll, who apparently runs this network out of Oklahoma.

It gets funnier. “A testimonial from [alleged human customer] Blake, thanking Silicon Valley Matchmakers for introducing him to his soulmate Kristie, also appears on East Bay Matchmakers, and even on a website in Nevada, where Blake praises Las Vegas Matchmakers for introducing him to his soulmate Kristie,” NBC Bay Area reports. “And a quick search of those pictures of happy couples reveals they’re stock photos.”

It gets less funny when you realize people paid up to $8,000 for 16 months of this “matchmaking”, which is organized via phone by people hundreds of miles away, and in at least one case produced a total of four dates over those 16 months.

“Ultimately, what it is is very little service for a lot of money,” one jilted subscriber told NBC Bay Area. “I’ve been totally taken advantage of. Taken to the cleaners.”

I’m too cheap to even pay ten bucks a month for OKCupid, so this all seems pretty out of the ordinary to me. Wealth is surely relative, and on one hand I cannot feel anything but sympathy for people cheated out of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if a tiny office in Oklahoma is scamming Silicon Valley’s riche with a Wordpress template and a batch of stock photos, well, I have to swipe right on their pluck.

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