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Shares in Scottish online dating firm crash amid concern over tactics

Shares in former stock market darling Cupid have plunged by more than 40% today as the Edinburgh-based internet dating company was again mired in allegations about the way it entices customers to subscribe.

Stock in the company co-founded by Scottish entrepreneur Bill Dobbie was changing hands for as little as 65p.

This is just a whisker above the company’s 60p flotation price in 2010 and little more than a quarter of the 250p they were trading at six months ago.

Cupid, which operates sites such as Be Naughty and Girls Date for Free, has faced allegations that customers have been lured into subscribing to its sites after receiving messages from users who later disappeared.

On Thursday, it pledged to investigate a claim that those who signed up to a three-day trial membership are encouraged through messages created by Cupid employees to move to a full subscription.

It said this would be addressed through an independent audit it has previously announced.

Cupid confirmed to investors that it employed a “motivation team” of 24 people. But it insisted that it does not communicate with members operating under free access.

The company said it does contact new paying subscribers “to help them get the most out of the site”.

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