They also figured out a way to circumvent Grindr’s blocking technology, hounding users with an additional invitation to join the webcam chat even after the user blocked the bot.
In April, fast-growing dating app Tinder began seeing spambots of its own, following a script similar to the Grindr bots.
Meanwhile, the editor of that on some sites, as many as 1 in 10 profiles are operated by scammers.
On Grindr, the app’s 6 million users are getting fed up with all the bots.
"All I ever get is spam messages," lamented one lonely reviewer in the App Store.
Some of the most provocative profiles on Grindr aren’t men at all, but spambots designed to lure credulous users into turning over their credit-card information.
The links all point to questionable webcam sites with names like My Passion Pit, My Gay Cam Crush and Gay Slice Crush.
Joining Grindr requires only downloading the app and opening it up — immediately, the user is greeted with profiles of dozens of nearby men.
Its profiles are essentially disposable, making it attractive to men who are closeted, cheating on their boyfriends, or who simply don’t like filling out profiles.
But even as they have fueled its rise, the disposable profiles have also made Grindr easier to spam.
Competitors like Scruff and Jackd have long required users to create an account, and seem to be less prone to spam. Verified accounts may help Grindr with its spam problem — but they’ll also make it feel more like the competition.
Spambots are not unique to Grindr; the world of dating apps is filled with scam artists.