An Invisible Girlfriend Update: Our Predictions Were Correct
In that post, I made two predictions: first, that the Invisible Special Friends, who give you 100 personalized texts per month as part of your $25 package, would be staffed by gig economy freelance writers.
Second, that people would inevitably fall in love with these writers who are being paid to simulate affection and interest.
Are we surprised that both predictions came true?
Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post took Invisible Boyfriend out for a test run, and wrote that she “might be falling in love” with her fake bae. What tipped her over the edge? First, that the boyfriend, whom she named “Ryan Gosling,” was so quick to respond to her texts; second, that he appeared to be a true Downton Abbey fan:
Hoping to trip up the automated chat technology I thought was responding to my texts, I told my “boyfriend,” Ryan Gosling, that my plans for the evening included “Downton Abbey” and crying myself to sleep.
“Why the tears, beautiful?” Ryan Gosling responded, before launching into a discussion of his favorite Downton character. This was a red flag: Bots do not know about “Downton Abbey.” And if bots did know about “Downton Abbey,” they would certainly not pick Thomas as the highlight of the show.
“HA man you are better than my real boyfriend,” Dewey texts Mr. Gosling, after he continues to perform basic entry-level relationship behavior such as “responding to texts quickly” and “showing interest in her interests.”
But who is behind Ryan Gosling’s texts? Turns out it’s one of the many freelance writers working for CrowdSource. I was delighted to hear this, because I spent a lot of time working for CrowdSource during my content writing days, and at one point was one of their top earners of all time. I have nothing but good things to say about CrowdSource — yes, the pay is a lot lower than what I’m making now, but they also had better rates and better jobs than many of their competitors — and it feels good to know that the Invisible Boyfriends and Girlfriends are in their hands.
How do CrowdSource writers maintain consistency? The role of “Ryan Gosling” may be played by many different writers, after all. As USA Today explains:
Your text message appears in a dashboard that allows the responder to see your previous texts and the backstory you created about how you met.
I still have a CrowdSource account that I could probably reactivate. I wonder if I could be somebody’s Invisible Girlfriend or Boyfriend. I could skim the AV Club reviews of their favorite television shows and offer opinions about the characters. I could text things like “I wish I was there eating takeout with you.” I could text “Well, what do you think?” and then let them respond and then text “LOL, you’re so right.”
I would be the best Invisible Boyfriend or Girlfriend.
Support The Billfold