The Cambridge Analytica of Sex: Online service to manipulate your wife to have sex with you
It is not unknown for relationships to get strained over a period of time, and often many couples will find that their sex drives are at different tangents. Sex therapists usually advise such couples to open all lines of communication to be able to work through their problems.
A new solution to this problem seems to be getting a lot of attention these days. A online service called 'The Spinner' was launched in April this year, and it encourages dissatisfied husbands to avoid messy relationship complications and attempt to manipulate their partners on a subconscious level to initiate sex with them. For an estimated price of $29, husbands are sent a link which they send via email or text message to their "target".
The link can be accessed from a computer or a mobile and it looks like a hyperlink to an article or video. Once the partner clicks on the link, a small piece of code is dropped on and then via browser cookies, the partner will be fed a slow drip of content which has been specifically chosen for them with the sole intention of encouraging the partner to initiate sex. The content is presented in such a way that it looks natural and leads the partner to existing articles which are available on the web.
The articles are all real but the headlines and the descriptions have been changed by the Spinner team. The team manipulating the headlines of these articles include a group of psychologists from an unnamed university. As the prepaid ads run, the partner will see headlines such as "3 Reasons Why YOU Should Initiate Sex With Your Husband" or "10 Marriage Tips Every Woman Needs to Hear".
With the basic package, the husbands can expect their wives to be shown around 10 different articles around 180 times over a period of three months. Spinner's marketing copy states, "Let the brainwashing begin". This does not really count as new technology but a majority of people on the internet have been subjected to 'retargeting' via social media ads. This is a very popular and widely used marketing tactic which makes sure that a consumer is thinking about a specific product, even though they have left the original site. What tends to happen is the fact that these manipulative techniques can feel unethical even if they are conducted by large corporations.
Vice president of media and social at The Spinner, Elliot Shefler told the Rolling Stone, "We are giving these abilities to the common man. If you wanted to do this campaign two years ago you had to go to a big agency that had connections with public relations and make a campaign to target someone and now you just register, and you can have your own PR campaign for $29. The agency model was here for many years but now we don’t need the agency".
Spinner was launched in the month of April and currently has less than 500 customers. Shefler is very proud of the fact that his company has no competition at present, perhaps due to the controversial nature of the service. He also admitted that he does understand why this concept has received a few negative reactions and that it also has the potential to be misused.
"You can use this product to do negative things or positive things it depends on your position. The ‘Initiate Sex’ package is controversial, this is the first package we chose to promote in public because we know it has viral potential," Shefler shared. This service is like the Cambridge Analytica for couples and the company maintains that their methods are all legal despite many concerns. Shefler does admit that ethically, "it is a gray area".
The site's premise itself poses to be a problem for many who believe that the service is "unethical". The premise claims that married women tend to be disinterested in sex and their husbands should trick them into being intimate. A relationship and sex expert Kryss Shane explained that being resentful about your partner's libido will only make the problem worse and being more thoughtful and considerate in non-sexual matters could lead to more intimacy and of course, better sex.
"Try doing things for your partner to show them you love them. Do the house chores they hate or draw them a bath. Remember, your goal is not to make them feel coerced into sex but to show them you love and cherish them. Over time, showing you care will likely cause them to want to be more intimate more often," Shane shared.
The heart of the service lies in the curated content. Spinner's head of content, Avi Atias is responsible for the selection of existing digital content by analyzing the sites that the "targets" visit and then using that to create a profile of her user type. With that information, the team will manipulative the headline to get the "target's" interest. "[For a] young woman, we would use a short headline, or for an older woman a longer headline. And for a conservative woman we show how to strengthen the marriage life," Atias explained.
"We can understand demographic and geographic information, gender, religion, psychographic data — like what she purchases and what car she drives — [to] target the specific content that we want to the user," he continued. Both Shefler and Atias insist that there are no moral or ethical reasons as to why they should not use such marketing techniques, sharing that big companies operate in a similar way which just proves that this is an acceptable marketing strategy.