After her marriage broke down, Jenny Beard knew finding love again wouldn’t be easy.
Not only was she 42 and the sole carer of her six-year-old son Will, but her demanding career as an accountant left her with precious little time to socialise.
Worse still, her picture and profile have been plastered across tawdry dating websites belonging to ‘lads mags’ such as Nuts and Loaded that are more associated with scantily-clad girls in semi-pornographic poses than professional, middle-aged women like Jenny.
Unbeknown to Jenny, justsingle is run by a parent company called Global Personals — a legitimate company most members never will have heard of, but which passes members’ details freely between the 7,500 sites it owns, meaning they are inundated with unwanted and inappropriate advances.
Disturbingly, their deception has proved an unqualified success.
Nonetheless, she didn’t want to be alone forever, so when she heard about an internet dating site for single parents like herself, she joined without a second thought, Jenny told Channel 4 News in a programme that will be aired tonight.
Describing her interests as ‘going to the theatre and restaurants, enjoying country walks as long as they feature a tea shop’, she was hopeful she would meet mature, like-minded men who understood the difficulties of bringing up a child alone.
It is called ‘white-labelling’ and happens when a product produced by one company, such as Global Personals, is rebranded by other companies — in this case dating websites.
What she didn’t expect was to find herself posted as a ‘hot date’ on cheesy lads’ magazine sites, and bombarded by spam emails from people who didn’t even exist — or if they did, had anything but a country walk in mind.Over the course of the four years Jenny has been on the site, not one of the men she met has been a member of where she originally posted her profile. Alarmingly, half were not parents at all and only one had a child the same age as her son.