So, we finally get to iDate.

First order of the day was breakfast.  We’re paying good money for this, so we’re gonna make the most of it.  I have to say, after the great breakfasts we were having in Crawley this was a disappointment in comparison.  After breakfast, it was back to the hotel room to load up on business cards and pens to hand out.  Part of the fun of the conferences is to see how many freebies you can get, and this time we were going to be a part of the freebie giving.  I should say that the pens are the exact same type as the ones I received from Crimewatch.  The conference wasn’t exactly well marked, but we found it OK and proceeded to get our ID badges and start mingling.

One thing iDate does is a “speed networking” session.  Honestly, I’m not overly fond of these as it’s crowded and very loud, which isn’t helped by the fact I’m partially deaf.  Cards were exchanged, contacts were made and we had the added advantage of being three people.  Being a group of volunteers I think find of throw people off when it comes to dealing with us as there’s no financial motivation for what we do.  However, we seemed to be pretty well received and we got our name out there some more.  We also got to speak to Marc Lesnick, who organizes the conferences.  Firefly got a hug and I got an invite to the next iDate in Miami next year.

A lot of what goes on at iDate doesn’t really have anything to do with what we do on our site.  There’s obviously a lot of talk on getting more customers and making more money.  We get to skip that part, so we took a stroll around for a touch of souvenir shopping before lunch. The good thing about London (or bad thing, depending on your point of view) is that every third shop seems to sell souvenirs.  We never had to stray more than about 200 yards from the hotel to get everything we needed.  I will say that lunch was much better than breakfast.  They did a pretty good carvery.  I was speaking at 3:30, so after lunch we did a bit more mingling before going back to our room.  I say “our” room, but we weren’t all three in the same room.  BA and I shared a room and FF has her own room.  We worked on adding some extra notes to the presentation before doing some more mingling, card exchanging and pen giving.

So it’s finally time for my talk.  At this point we hit a pretty big problem.  My laptop has a HDMI output, but the projector worked on VGA.  My plan was to do a practical demonstration partway through my talk that would show how the sextortion scammers create their fake webcam footage and record their victim’s webcam.  In the end I used the laptop that was already connected and spun mine around to show the fake footage.  That actually got a pretty big reaction, when one person in the audience suddenly shouted out “Hey, I’ve had her!!” much to our amusement.  The three biggest reactions were to that incident, the fact that scammers target people on linkedin and a slides that showed the scammers claiming the victim was masturbating in front of an 8 year old.  They’re not, but seeing that on the web is enough to scare many into paying.  We refuse to help anyone who knowingly engage in sexual talk with a minor, and this is why we put the date of birth from the scammer’s profile on our forum.

After my talk we had to split up.   Monica Whitty was talking more about scams right after me, but I’d already promised Svetlana I’d attend her talk as it was her first time giving one.  FF and BA stayed to listen to Monica though, and I’d had a chance to speak to her before my talk.  After Svetlana’s talk, I rushed back to listen to Dave Wiseman from Scamalytics give his talk, completing a 90 minute block on scammers.  I must say it’s good to see the dating industry willing to talk about these things as it’s a major problem for them.

With day one complete, we got to chill out again after doing some more mingling.  There was a party in the evening at a place called “The Library”, which was – oddly enough – a converted library.  After some more mingling, the three of us found a quiet corner where we could chat for a while before making our way back to the hotel for a well deserved sleep.

Next time I’ll talk about the last day and TV interviews.