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Hi Joe,
I thought this recent article, that made front page of a number of national newspapers in South Africa, would be of interest to your readers. Mobile and Internet in South Africa has become very well established. Our company runs a very popular service called Flirtnet, which now has a user base in excess of 200,000 users with an gender profile of 45% Female and 55% male with the core profile between 20-30. With reference to your article, we also have a large number of users older than 40.

See news article below:

“When Frikkie Met Irene” - By Gus Silber

How Flirtnet’s 21st Century Technology Helped Two True Lovers Meet Their Match, Just In Time for Valentine’s Day

Giddy with glee, dizzy with the scent of perfume and roses, the season of love is upon us. And that means lots of work for Cupid, the chubby little cherub whose mission on this planet is to set human hearts aflutter.

But even in the timeless tradition of Valentine’s Day, the times they are a-changing.

These days, Cupid is no longer obliged to reach into his quiver and aim his weapon of choice at starry-eyed couples whose destinies will forever be intertwined.

After all, why send an arrow, when you can send an SMS?

For proof of Cupid’s new matchmaking strategy in action, look no further than Frikkie Jacobs and Irene Malherbe, engaged to be married only a year after they first gave each other a ring.

Well, not quite a ring...

More like a BEEP.

Thanks to Flirtnet, a mobile phone dating service run by MyBeat Interactive, one of IT billionaire Mark Shuttleworth’s energetic young start-up companies, Frikkie and Irene found true love after a series of SMS conversations led to a tentative get-together at Johannesburg International Airport.

Frikkie, a retired (auditor) and former Springbok boxer from Kempton Park, knew he had found his soulmate as soon as he laid eyes on Irene, a gentle-hearted widow from the small town of (Patensie) in the Eastern Cape.

Now the couple have set the date – March 19 – for their wedding in Pretoria, with invitations going out by (you guessed it) Short Message Service.

“We are very much in love,” says Frikkie. “This is the best thing that could have happened to us. And to think it all started with a `Please call me’ message on my phone!”

Like the more than 100,000 other members of Flirtnet across the country, Frikkie submitted his concise profile (“Single pensioner from Kempton Park, 60 years old, who loves animals and outdoor life”) and awaited responses via the swift and convenient medium that has come to set the pace for interpersonal communication in the 21st Century.

On the other side of the network, Irene liked what she read. The couple SMSed each other for a while, confining their courtship to text messages of no more than 160 characters at a time.

Then they decided to meet face to face, at a neutral venue where love, like a jet-plane, was in the air. And that’s when things really started taking off.

“It was love at first sight,” says Irene. “After only a week, we decided to get married. We carried on courting on the cell-phone in-between visiting each other.”

For Flirtnet director and co-founder Rodney Kuhn, this is a love story with a simple message for us all: “Sometimes,” he says, “fate and destiny need a little push...and nothing pushes buttons faster than a message sent by SMS. We’re delighted that Frikkie and Irene are getting married to each other, and we hope it’ll be the first of many successful relationships brought about by a technology that knows no boundaries.”

And as for that chubby little cherub who set the whole thing off? Well, like everyone else in our fast-paced age, Cupid is now contactable by cell. Just SMS the word FLIRT to 34356, and watch him work his magic in this season of love…and beyond.

*For more information, visit www.flirtnet.co.za, or contact Rodney Kuhn on +27 83-456-7224.

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