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Blind dating on your WAP phone

'Obviously we are aware that the service is open to abuse...'

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A Web- and WAP-enabled chat and dating service - an online lonely hearts column in other words - will go live early next year. The site will be called findablinddate.com.

Users will be able to input their details from either a numbered inbox or an alias, and their messages will be posted where all other users can find it.

SCi, the company behind the site, is keen to stress that this is not just about dating. The service will be directed at the 16-24 age group, and is intended to be used for fun.

So the spectre of dirty old men making dates with impressionable young things looms.

One of the services is called "Who fancies who?" where users can leave anonymous messages for anyone who's number they know that they fancy them. If the feeling is mutual, the system will alert both parties.

There is also scope to arrange meetings, either romantic or just for networking.

Mark Knutton, COO of mobile entertainment at SCi, commented: "Obviously we are aware that the service is open to abuse, and while there is nothing we can do physically to prevent users from doing whatever they want to, we will be advising people to be very careful. Although it is about fun, we are going to be making users painfully aware of the safety aspect."

SCI should be able to look after itself if this business plan proves to be too controversial. It was responsible for the computer game Carmageddon, a Death Race 2000 inspired entertainment, which caused a stir by encouraging players to score points by -virtually - running people over.

SCi is in talks with telephone companies about the service provision and the distribution of call revenues. Analysts predict that the group will record pre tax profits of around £1.8 million in the year to end September, rising to £5.5 million next year. ®

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