AnastasiaDate is an international online dating service website that primarily connects men from North America to women from Eastern Europe. The company was founded in 1993 by a Russian-American couple. In March 2013, AnastasiaDate was ranked as the 29th most popular dating service website in the world.
AnastasiaDate was founded in 1993 by a Russian-American couple, Elena and David Besuden. David met Elena in 1992 through an introduction service and the couple married that same year. The brand AnastasiaDate was named after the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, who was seen as role model for young Russian women.
In the early 1990s when the company first launched, it used catalogs to introduce men to Russian women. The company launched its first website in January 1997 and expanded its business in more cities throughout Russia and the Ukraine. By 2003, it experienced global growth beyond northern Asia.
Following the growth of AnastasiaDate, the company spun off three websites during 2007, each connecting western men with women from different areas of the world: AmoLatina, AsianBeauties, and AfricaBeauties.
AnastasiaDate was featured in the Canadian documentary film Love Translated in 2010.
In 2011, AnastasiaDate was sold by Anastasia International to a private investor. AnastasiaDate, along with each of the three spin-off websites, became independently operated. The company and its sister sites are now owned by Social Discovery Ventures.
Fortune reported that the company earned $110 million in 2012. The website's traffic also grew by 220% in 2012.
In 2013, the company hired Mark Brooks, whom Anne VanderMey described in Fortune as "a prominent online dating industry consultant", as its Chief Strategy Officer. In the Fortune interview, Brooks said that his goal was to improve the reputation of AnastasiaDate and the international online dating industry as a whole, saying that the industry is "on the cusp of respectability".
In 2013, AnastasiaDate launched its first mobile app on iTunes and Google Play for Apple Inc. and Android devices. The company alleged in a US Federal Court in New York complaint that EM Online (d/b/a Elenasmodels) had created two websites-–anastasiadatefraud.com and ruadventures.com—to broadcast fabricated, negative testimonials but the complaint was dismissed.
AnastasiaDate is one of the largest international dating services. Users can register for an account on the internet or through its mobile app. Notifications are sent to users when their profiles are viewed or if they match another user's search results. AnastasiaDate site contains over 8,000 profiles of women from Eastern Europe to browse or search through.
The site features various communication services such as email correspondence, live chat and video chat.
The site is mostly used by wealthy American men between the ages of 35 and 60. The site makes money by charging users who want to meet Eastern European women. As of 2012, such users buy credits "priced on a sliding scale, starting at $15.99 for 20 credits, and going up to $399.99 for 1,000. Each minute of simple, instant messaging-style chatting costs one credit. Special, premium smilies – like a vibrating, multi-color LOL – cost extra. Cam share (audio not enabled) costs six credits a minute. Video chat with voice costs even more". The Fortune article observes: "And thanks to people like me willing to pay to talk with beautiful young women like Anastasia – who was paid to respond – the trade is doing pretty well".
With the growth of online services like AnastasiaDate, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act was passed in 2005 to regulate the industry. News outlets call AnastasiaDate the leading "premium international dating" website and have observed its efforts to seemingly rebrand the mail-order bride industry, within which it is grouped. The Guardian journalist reported that "none of the men I became close to on my tour ended up in lasting relationships, and the majority appeared to fall victim to a number of sophisticated scams". A girl on the site who was interviewed "explained the whole sordid array of techniques, from a light impersonalised online-chatting version to a full-service chauffeur-driven platinum fraud, where men are rinsed of cash for a full week in Odessa, thinking they are cementing a lifelong relationship while actually they are being strung along on platonic dates that end with them dispatched to the airport with heavy hearts and empty wallets". The same article added that "AnastasiaDate insists that it weeds out scams whenever it finds them, and has banned some women from the site".
Even acting within the regulations, international dating sites like AnastasiaDate could potentially exploit women in less-developed countries and male suitors in developed countries. A 2014 report in The Guardian found examples of exploitation for both genders.