Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

A week ago I told you about, the social network-enabled virtual girlfriend site that I suspected was a U.S. version of the popular (in Japan) Japanese dating sims.

Turns out I was wrong, sort of. The following is a note from Cloud Girlfriend’s founder. It indicates that the site will use real women. (Thus avoiding Facebook’s injunction against fake profiles.)

So it appears that in the not too distant future, men will be able to pay to have a real woman be their fake girlfriend in the increasingly alternate reality game-ish world of Facebook. If only the fictional Zuckerberg in The Social Network had access to this sort of thing in the first place, maybe he never would have built Facebook at all.

Here’s the full email from David Fuhriman, co-founder of

There has been a lot of interest in the since we put up our launch page. We are currently building and will launch soon.
The site provides two main things:

1: Social Proof’s tagline is, “The easiest way to get a girlfriend is to already have one”. Providing social proof is important part of the dating process. We all look to cues to help us navigate through life. Blogs discussing have commented about only socially awkward people needing a site like this. This isn’t true, but does prove the need for the site. People who use the site don’t want to be labeled, so they can use the site to jumpstart the process of changing social perceptions about themselves.

2: Placebo Effect
The users of the site will get a therapeutic effect by using the site. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs the base of the pyramid is physiological which is followed by safety and then love/belonging and esteem. is not a new virtual porn site or an adult chat service. Those services attempt to fill a physiological need, but it does not satisfy intimacy and friendship. Those things do not build self-esteem or confidence. can fulfill Maslow’s higher needs, even though the users know that the interaction is virtual. They will interact with a real person and see real profile images of the girl with whom they interact. This interaction can build confidence and esteem as well as provide real training experiences in navigating a friendship and a relationship. is a service and we have a network of real people, not bots to manage the interaction. There will be no distinguishing features on social network profiles. will enhance and not dilute the experience of users on social networks. We expect log-ins, time spent on site and page views to increase for people who are connected to a Cloud Girlfriend. Besides, there will always be more profiles of dogs and cats on social networks than there will ever be of Cloud Girlfriends.

Co-founder of

Follow Mims on Twitter or contact him via email.

4 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Web, Facebook

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me