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FriendFinder introduces new payment system that allows direct billing by mobile operators; PSMS proves to be an instant success in the U.K.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – August 16,, the leading online dating and social networking operator, has launched a new payment system that permits its members to be billed directly by their cell phone operators in the United States, Australia and most European countries.

The system uses the Premium Short Message Service (PSMS) protocol. It was recently rolled out in the United Kingdom for all programs, including and It will be introduced over the next few weeks in Australia, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Korea, Taiwan and China. In the United States it will be available for and members only starting August 21.

"We are turning on a PSMS billing system that enables members to buy special services or upgrade to a premium membership without using a credit card or other payment system,” said Legendary Lars, Vice President of Marketing for Various, Inc., parent company of, and “Members can handle the entire transaction directly simply by entering their mobile phone number in a box on our billing page.”

Lars said that the new service proved to be an instant success when introduced in the U.K. “We are seeing very quickly that this is what people want,” he noted. “Immediately after putting the PSMS payment option provided by on the billing page of just one site we received transaction requests that averaged $250.00 every 15 minutes. The best part is that we achieved this reaction without any advertising or marketing at all. We simply put a link on the bottom of our payment page and let the surfer pick the transaction method.”

Under the PSMS system a billing confirmation message is sent to the member’s mobile phone. When the member replies to the confirmation alert the cost of the service they requested is charged to their telecommunications provider, providing a convenient alternative for people who do not wish to use a credit card.

Service upgrades that can be purchased with PSMS provide benefits such as placing a member at the top of lists so that visitors can spot them quickly when browsing the site. Premium members also get personalized lists of suggested member contacts, a "super search" tool to find people with specific profiles or body types, speedier photo and profile reviews and ICQ, AIM, YIM and MSN instant messaging. They also get access to the "Cupid" service highlighting new members with matching profiles.

About FriendFinder is a division of Palo Alto-based Various, Inc., and is the world's largest operator of dating and social networking websites. With a staff of more than 200, Various, Inc. manages more than 20 multicultural and multilingual personals sites, for which over 130 million members have registered, with over 140,000 new sign-ups daily. The FriendFinder network includes and AdultFriendFinder for more intimate social networking. Privately-held Various, Inc. is distinguished by its marketing leadership, technological innovation and financial strength. It is the trend-setter in the online personals sector, using its core expertise to drive both its owned and operated sites and dozens of popular co-branded partner sites. For more information visit

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