Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dream Connections Exposed - 7 Problems Mark Davis Isn't Telling You About His Quest Tours




So you've seen the enticing video promos for Dream Connections and the amazing gorgeous Ukrainian women you can meet on their Quest Tours. You've heard Mark Davis, its founder, speak on video with such enthusiasm, positivity and confidence that is contagious. His smooth talking charisma captivates you and makes you believe everything he says. Mr. Davis presents a polished, smooth, perfect image of his romance tours. It sounds like the perfect way to find your foreign dream bride. But it doesn't come cheap though, for it comes at a hefty price of $5,000 which doesn't even include airfare. So you might be wondering: What's the catch? Are there any downsides that Mark is not telling me? Is Mark's picture-perfect image of Dream Connections accurate? What's the truth behind the facade?

We hope to try to answer this by addressing some of the drawbacks and weaknesses of Dream Connections. So if you are thinking of going on their romance tours and joining their "tribe", here is the other side that you should know first before paying the super high fee (plus airfare) to join. Most of these drawbacks and weaknesses can be verified if one digs deeper and makes inquiries. We hope this will give you a more complete picture of their Quest Tours and help you make a more informed decision. We believe in truth, and that means that both the pros and cons of any particular endeavor or operation should be brought to light, not just the pros as Mark would prefer. After all, a good researcher will examine both sides of an issue before drawing their conclusions. Let's begin.


1. First of all, Mark Davis' "80 percent success rate" claim is misleading and uses the wrong barometer and criteria to define "success".

If the primary goal of the romance tour is to find a bride, as DC claims, then the measure of success should be the percentage of clients who get married. It's simple logic. That is the primary purpose of the DC Quest Tour after all. You can see Mark's 80 percent success rate claim on his website here:

http://www.dreamconnections.com/about-us 
"Mark and Anna now host groups of men on “Quest Tours” with their company, Dream Connections, with an 80% success rate."

But Mark does not use marriage as the standard of success. Instead, he defines success as "the percentage of clients who find a woman to begin correspondence with after the tour". He openly tells people this online and even stated so himself in the Happier Abroad Forum here.

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=59562#p59562 
"We're experiencing an 85% success rate from our first two tours - meaning that 85% of our clients met someone they had a real connection with, who felt the same way in return, and they pursued getting to know each other as potential life partners. Some did exchange rings and some are in the K-1 Fiance Visa process."

Also at the beginning of Mark's YouTube video below, he also defines what he means by an "80 percent success rate": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4iLz7Yvd3M 

But this definition is a very LOW BAR, because anyone can get a 100 percent success rate using that standard, and for FREE too. All they have to do is go to a free dating site like DateinAsia.com, for example, and there one can find scores of Filipina girls that will gladly begin a correspondence with them. I've done it, so I know it's super easy and only takes minutes. So I can beat Mark's success rate using a free dating site, if I go by his criteria for "success". Either way, the point is, Mark is obviously using a misleading and inaccurate criteria for defining his "success rate".

Now, Mark refuses to disclose his actual success rate, which should be calculated as the number of marriages resulting from the tours, divided by the total number of clients that attend. So for example, if 1 out of 10 guys on the tour get married, then the success rate would be 10 percent. If you ask Mark about the true success rate, he avoids it. Obviously, the real success rate must be LOW, because if it were high, he would flaunt it happily. So it must NOT be to his advantage to disclose it. This means that it probably is a low figure, and if made public would discourage clients from joining. This is the most logical conclusion. Simply put, it is a RED FLAG if a company refuses to disclose its actual success rate.

Update: After speaking to some DC clients who gave me stats on the percentage of clients per tour that actually get married, it would seem that Mark's true success rate - based on the percentage of clients who actually get married - is around 10 or 11 percent. So out of a group of 10 to 12 clients per tour, an average of one client gets married. Now, that isn't horrible, it's certainly better than zero. But it isn't great either. But it's very far off from the "80 percent success rate" that Mark alleges. Obviously, Mark isn't going to claim a 10 percent success rate, because it doesn't sound that great. 80 percent sounds much better of course. And since Mark is all about IMAGE, not reality, this is no surprise. But these clients have a right to know the actual success rate, in order to make an informed decision. Misleading stats are not ethical. Anyhow, what this means is that: If you are an average guy, your chance of success on the tour (getting married) is about 1 out of 10, or 10 percent. Just thought you should know. :)


2. The $5,000 dollar price tag of the Dream Connections tour is too high, exorbitant and unjustified. 

It's almost double that of the price of his competitor, A Foreign Affair (which offers a wider variety of countries to choose from at 2k or 3k per tour). But Mark refuses to explain why he charges $5,000 for his tours. Such a steep price is not reasonable or justified, and Mark refuses to discuss it, citing confidentiality and privacy reasons. Obviously, if it's due to pure greed, he's not going to say that.

The thing is, most of the DC tours are in Ukraine, a country where prices are dirt cheap and a dollar can go a long way. So there is no way such an extreme price can be justified based on cost. The main features of the DC tour include speed dating events, a standard class hotel room, and a personal translator. Airfare is not even included. I don't see why all that would cost anywhere near 5k. Especially in a country where prices and wages are very low. Furthermore, such an unusually high price for the tour is discriminatory in that it excludes a large percentage of men who can't afford it, or who don't like to be overcharged. It only allows well off unfrugal men to join. Regardless, the tour price certainly seems unreasonable and unjustified as well.

DC claims that the high price of its tours is justified by its act of screening the ladies on the tour, which provides higher quality women that have been interviewed and put through a filtering process that ensures that only sincere, good quality, marriage-minded ladies join the DC socials. They claim that since their competitors don't do this, then they provide higher quality and value for the higher price.

However, this claim is unproven and unjustified, as I will explain in a later section below. In fact, some men on the tour have been scammed, used and deceived by the ladies they met on the tour, thus the ladies could not have possibly been properly screened. Moreover, DC has been known to use other local marriage agencies to provide ladies to the socials when not enough women show up, and these ladies, since they have never met Mark or his staff, could not have been screened by them. More on this below.

In addition, DC tours do not even include basic meals such as lunch and dinner, except for some catering events. You would think that for $5,000, they would at least feed you some basic meals at least. Especially since a decent meal in Ukraine costs under $5. Geez, I wonder where all that money went?! And DC puts you in a standard class hotel in Nikolaev that costs $16 a night if you were to book it on your own (which has been independently verified by expats who contacted the hotel directly). Geez. You'd think that for $5,000, they would put you in a higher quality hotel room, above standard at least. In contrast, AFA puts their clients in higher class luxurious hotels, for less than what you pay DC too.


3. Clients of Dream Connections do get scammed, used and deceived by the ladies on their tour sometimes, regardless of what Mark claims. This has been reported and testified to from various sources, thus their tours are not scam-free as they claim.

Despite Mark's claim of having screened the ladies to weed out all scammers, some of his clients do end up getting used or deceived by the ladies on the tour, who turn out to be gold diggers, users, or leeches who are only seeking free money and gifts. This happened to a friend of mine in fact, named Steve Neese. He posted about it in the HA Forum here when his fiancee from DC asked him for money:

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=277886#p277886 
"Some things have come up lately, especially last night. She asked me for money to help support her while we are apart. My heart dropped into my stomach when I heard that. It's not about the money of course, it's about what it might mean in the sense that is my support ability the main driver in her attraction with me? 
Anyways, I spoke to Mark about the asking for money thing and he said not to worry, that this is considered quite normal for a Ukraine girl to do once a guy gets serious with a girl with expectations of a potential marriage in the future. He said it shows the parents and family that this man will take care of her. But I never saw any videos or writings on the subject stating this."

At first, Mark told Steve that this was normal in Ukraine in that a man is expected to show he can support his woman in advance. But then he flip flopped and claimed that it was a mistranslation from the translation app they were using. (Yeah right) You can read the details of this at the link to the thread above.

Another DC client also knew some guys on his tour who ended up getting duped by the ladies. He wrote about it in detail here. http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=297060#p297060 (it's too long to quote, please see the link instead) There was even an incident involving a MARRIED woman that attended the DC tour who deceived a male client about her "serious intentions" in order to extract money and gifts from him: http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=284744#p284744


4. The claim that Dream Connections screens the ladies to ensure that the tours will be scam free - and hence justifies its high cost - is iffy, vague, unproven, unjustified and misleading. Especially when dishonest women and scammers on their tours have been reported, thus proving the opposite, and hence the higher cost is not justified.

Mark tries to justify the higher price of his tours (2k more than his competitor A Foreign Affair) by claiming that for the extra 2k you pay him, he will have staff screen the ladies for honesty, good character and genuine intentions. But there are several problems with this:

First, as noted in the previous section, some clients do get scammed, used or deceived by the ladies on the tour, which clients have reported. So obviously whatever screening process is used is not airtight or efficient, and most likely is more hype than reality.

Second, Mark refuses to explain exactly how the ladies on DC socials are pre-screened. One can only wonder why. It begs the question: How good is the screening process? Do they just ask the ladies during the interview: "Are you sincere? Are you a good woman? Are you marriage minded? Do you have good values? Are you honest?" and then if the lady says "Yes" then she is approved? LOL. If so, anyone can say yes and pretend to be nice and get approved. That's not much of a screening process.

DREAM CONNECTIONS : Are you a scammer?
GIRL : No! 

We should also wonder: Who does the screening or interviews? Is it someone who is good at reading others? Only certain people have that talent of being able to size up others and read people. It takes an eye for body language and subtlety, as well as strong intuition. Not everyone is good at that. Even a person with a masters degree in psychology may not be good at reading people. It takes a certain innate ability and intuition. Does Mark's screener or interviewer have such capability? If so, where is the evidence for that? We simply can't verify that.

I certainly hope that Anna isn't the one screening the ladies on the tour. That would be bad news if so. I wouldn't trust her ability to screen women for several reasons:

- On camera Anna does not seem wise or mature. She acts like a simple and shy teenager who just says polite things. There's no depth or personality to her. Nor much emotion or expression. She does not seem like a person with wisdom, maturity or experience in life. I would think that an older lady with more maturity, wisdom and life experience would be better at reading others and judging character. A younger lady, like Anna, would simply be polite and agreeable and probably give every applicant the benefit of the doubt. Young women after all, tend to be politically correct and merely follow whatever is popular or trendy. They go along to get along. And are not good at reading others accurately. They prefer to just try to be agreeable. Therefore, I wouldn't trust such a person to screen out "bad apples" or scammers and liars.

- I've heard from multiple sources that Anna is cold and unfriendly to the clients. (more on this later) She won't talk to them and when they try to talk to her, she walks away. Obviously, she is lacking in social skills and basic social etiquette. And it is rude and unheard of to treat high paying clients like that. Therefore, if she has bad people skills, then I definitely wouldn't trust her to screen people, since people are not her forte at all.

- Anna is also not very personable, as one can see from her personality on video, so it may feel awkward to meet her or talk to her. Thus she would not be a good interviewer since she lacks the ability to engage others, make them feel relaxed, and get them to open up. Hence she lacks the basic skills to screen or interview people.

Note: I heard recently that one of Mark's managers, Irina, screens the ladies.

Third, regardless of who or how DC screens the ladies, I don't see why that would justify the price of the DC tours being $2,000 or more higher than a competing AFA (A Foreign Affair) tour. I mean, wages and salaries in the Ukraine are very low. I could easily hire a panel of 3 or 4 women to screen the ladies and interview them, and it would only cost a small sum for a few hours of work per day. It wouldn't cost that much, certainly not an extra 2 thousand dollars per client, which adds up to a lot when there are 10 or 20 clients. Even if there are only 10 clients, that's $20,000 USD extra!

There is no way a panel of screeners can cost that much. No way at all! Google "average wages and salaries in Ukraine" and you will see what I mean. The numbers don't add up. There's no reason to charge an extra 2,000 dollars over AFA and Mark will not attempt to justify it. That's not a good sign. People tend to hide secrets if it makes them look bad or is an "ugly truth". We all know that. In general, harboring "secrets" is a red flag. So it's a good bet that if Mark refuses to disclose something, then it's because it would look bad and unfavorable, not because he simply values his privacy.

Most likely, Mark knows that the 2,000 dollar price increase over AFA is unjustified. But he just uses the "screened ladies" feature as an excuse to raise the price more. In his mind, any added benefit or value is an excuse to raise the price by thousands of dollars, even if the added value doesn't justify it. Its marketing after all.

Finally, DC has been known to use other local marriage agencies to supply them with unscreened ladies for the social events at the last minute if not enough women show up. And the thing is, these women have NEVER MET Mark or Anna, so they could not have possibly been screened! (contrary to their claims) One of DC's clients who went on the tour described this below:

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=295972#p295972 
"Two more are "screening" and that DC simply uses local marriage agencies to provide women for the socials. 
The screening has been mentioned plenty on this site, and much of the cult still swears by DC claims, but I can add my own personal experience to the contrary. During my DC tour, I asked multiple women how they ended up at the event. The answer was that their agency had called them that morning. They had never met Anna Davis, Mark Davis or anyone else at Dream Connections until they arrived at the event. So, obviously this refutes the claim that these women are screened and also that Dream Connections has an exclusive database. 
DC acknowledges that it's human nature that not all women show up for both days. But, when this happens, how can an event organizer still fill the room so the promotional photos and video show a room full of women? The answer is that they use local agencies to make last minute calls for unscreened women. Ask any DC client if they remember a delay to the start of their event, especially the Sunday when more women have to be called. Of course, DC does not say which girls were not screened, because they claim all have been screened. Not only that, but Mark's coaching is that you don't have to screen the women and you can let your guard down. Well, that's a disgusting combination, in my eyes. The priority is on the full room of women for promotion and future events instead of the experience and protection of the current clients. I know multiple men from my event who were duped by a woman they met on the tour, and I know for sure that at least one of these women was one of the unscreened, last-minute girls. 
Also, there are websites of the local marriage agencies which post their successful couples, the marriages. Sure enough, they are the same couples DC claims."

You can verify for yourself that DC procures unscreened ladies from other local marriage agencies by following the links described below:

"Here is one of the local agencies they use: https://rumba-agency.nethouse.ru/posts/year/2016/1 . It is easy enough to track down by visiting Anna Davis' VK page and checking her friends. Among them is Ekaterina Zaporozhenko, Rumba International Marriage Agency. From her VK page, I visited her local website. From there, the above link. Two couples on this page are also claimed as DC couples. Check out DC's promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNpRn2VTo1M and see them at 1:48 and 2:29. 
Here is the website for another local agency they use: http://nikolaevapartments.com/?item=ladies . This agency is known as "Slavic Girls" or "Slavyanka". It is listed here: http://nikolaevmarriageagency.net/list.html . Here is a DC promotional video where I was actually dumbfounded to hear the girl (Tatiana, on the left) actually say she came from a local agency "Slavyanka". Marina in the interview translated it as referred by one of their business partners or something. Anyways, here is that girl's profile on that local marriage agency's website: http://nikolaevapartments.com/?item=show_profile&id=603 . There are many others from this agency. 
If this isn't proof that DC gets women from local agencies, I don't know what is. Hell, DC promotional videos even admitted it, unwittingly, of course. 
Here's a question for your readers to ponder: If DC gets their women from local agencies, then why not simply contact these local agencies yourself, spend about $50 per introduction and avoid paying nearly $5,000 to be introduced to a bunch of women who are not even close to your age range."

5. Mark's wife Anna, who is co-owner of the company, has been known to be cold, distant and unsocial to her high paying tour clients, and is lacking in people skills and social skills.

According to multiple DC clients, Anna Davis doesn't talk to the DC clients or socialize with them, and if they say hello to her, she walks away rudely. That's bad, very bad. It's unspeakable. I've heard this from DC clients and also read about it on YouTube in the comments section of Steve Neese's videos. So it's well corroborated by multiple sources and eye witnesses, and also easily observable from DC videos where you can see Anna's personality and expression on camera. I don't know about you, but to me something seems a big "off" about her vibe. It's hard to put a finger on. Mark on the other hand, is easy to read, as he is a smooth talking salesman.

I put together a bunch of quotes from those who have met Anna and attest to her being a "cold fish" here: http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=279756#p279756

The thing is, Anna is co-owner of DC with Mark. So in effect, she is like a second CEO. It's simply UNHEARD of for a CEO or co-owner of a company to refuse to greet clients or talk to them. Such a person should not be in an executive position in any company, let alone a CEO or co-owner. It's not only rude, but it shows that she lacks basic social etiquette. She definitely is not a people person, and is severely lacking in basic social skills. I certainly wouldn't want someone like that as an executive in my company. Without Mark, she would be nothing.

Anna may be a great wife and partner to Mark, as Mark claims, but she is cold and unengaging with clients, which is unprofessional and makes the company look BAD. What kind of a company has an executive or CEO that refuses to greet and talk to its high paying clients? That is unheard of in the business world. Maybe Anna is painfully shy and doesn't like talking to strangers, or she is a misanthrope and doesn't like people unless they are among her loved ones. Either way, she has no social skills and on camera does not even appear to be personable. She acts like a shy teenager and doesn't even seem bright, intelligent, mature or aware. She could never get a managerial or executive level type job on her own merits. So overall, she doesn't seem qualified to manage a romance tour company. She has no charisma to match or complement Mark's charismatic personality.

This reflects badly on DC and is poor public relations and a weakness to the company. Of course Mark is gonna say that she is "great and just perfect". But what do you expect him to say? She is his role model trophy bride that he must tout as the symbol of an ideal "dream bride" to his clients, so he must claim that she is "wonderful and amazing" always.


6. Mark has used deceptive and misleading advertising in his promos, and has even taken credit for AFA's successes and media appearances.

Mark has taken existing matched couples from AFA (including himself) and tries to pass them off as his own "successful clients" on his website, which is blatantly dishonest. For example, Mark and his wife Anna met on an AFA romance tour, and his partner Law Jackson also met his wife Alona from an AFA romance tour too. Same with his other partner, Peter, and his wife. And several of the other couples on the Dream Connections testimonials pages were AFA couples as well. Yet Mark puts them up on his site as though they met through Dream Connections. So he is taking false credit for another company's (AFA) achievement. That is blatant fraud. It's clearly dishonest and unethical. There's no way around it.

Mark also takes credit for media appearances that are not his own, which is a form of misleading advertising. For example, he boasts on his site that he was on "The Today Show" on NBC with Matt Lauer. However, the fact is that while he was indeed on that show, he was brought there by AFA as a guest of theirs, to showcase his marriage to his wife Anna as a testimonial of the success of AFA. So he was on the show as an AFA testimonial, not due to any achievements by DC. In fact, DC didn't even exist yet when he was on that show. At the time, he was promoting AFA as one of their partners. And that's why, if you watch that show, you will see that AFA's president, John Adams, was on there with Mark, because John was the main guest, not Mark.

You can see all this for yourself by simply watching that interview on NBC's "The Today Show". Currently a copy of it is hosted on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/33095188 (Note: In case it ever gets taken down, do a search for it on YouTube or Google) However, in spite of this, Mark makes this misleading statement on his website:

http://www.dreamconnections.com/about-us 
"Since that first book was published in 2009 he and Anna have appeared on Dr. Phil, The TODAY Show, Women’s Entertainment Network, and conducted over 50 radio interviews."

As you can see, the above is worded in a way as to give the viewer the impression that Mark was invited on The Today Show due to his book. But in reality, he was there with John Adams, President of AFA, as his guest and testimonial. The things is, this kind of thing simply doesn't speak well of Mark's character. In addition, Mark's interview with Dr. Phil (which was never aired) and his appearance on the Women's Entertainment Network in a documentary about foreign brides, were also courtesy of AFA as their guest and testimonial. But of course, he won't tell you that.


7. Mark's tour doesn't offer any variety of countries to choose from, unlike AFA.

The DC tours are mainly in Ukraine in a town called Nikolaev. Mark has tried to start tours in other countries like Thailand and Colombia, but they haven't worked out so well. Very few have expressed interest in joining them. And Mark himself doesn't even mention them anymore in his updates, which is an indication that no progress has come about, otherwise he would be boasting about it of course. This means that with his tour, your only choice is Ukraine. But the problem is, Ukraine is not for everyone and Ukrainian women are not for everyone. Some people are more suited for finding their bride and soulmate in other places, like Asia or Latin America.

In contrast, Mark's competitors, such as AFA (A Foreign Affair) offers a variety of many different countries to choose from in their romance tours. And at lower prices too. AFA tours range from from $2,000 to $3,000 and on up, depending on the package. See here for more info: http://women.happierabroad.com/tour  In addition, AFA romance tours offers a larger quantity of women to meet.


Conclusion

Well there you have it. We hope this outline of the drawbacks and weaknesses of the DC tours gives you a broader perspective and helps you make an informed decision about whether or not you should join. As they say, knowledge is power, so we hope this info empowers you to make better choices. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't go on a DC tour or that you won't find your "dream bride" there. I'm merely asking you to consider the other side of the super positive image that Mark Davis presents to you. After all, a good researcher will study both sides of an issue before drawing their conclusions.

If you would like to consider or explore an alternative to Dream Connections, check out the vast list of countries that A Foreign Affair does romance tours in, which cost less than DC, here:
http://women.happierabroad.com/tour

Here is a summary list of the advantages that AFA offers over DC:

1) AFA offers tours in a lot more countries than DC. See list here.
2) AFA's tour prices are lower than DC's. They range from $2,000 and on up, depending on length and package.
3) AFA romance socials have a higher quantity of ladies that attend, due to their vast network of partnerships with local agencies in each country. So there are more women to choose from than in DC.
4) AFA puts their clients in upscale luxurious class hotels that would normally cost a client $50 to $100 if they paid on their own. In contrast, DC puts their clients in a 16 dollar stand quality hotel room in Nikolaev (which has been verified via direct hotel with the hotel). So the accommodations that AFA provides are superior in quality and class.
5) AFA was established in the 1990's when the romance tour industry began. Thus they have much more experience, expertise and industry contact networks, than DC does. And they are more established and stable too, since they go way back and have withstood the test of time. In contrast, DC is a relatively new company and is thus more volatile.

* Disclaimer: AFA did NOT ask me to write this article. I am writing this article of my own accord, to bring balance to the AFA vs. DC issue, and to show the other side of Dream Connections that you won't get from them.

Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you all in your search for your dream bride or other half.

If you would like to discuss Dream Connections in an open uncensored forum, or share your experiences as a DC client, you may do so in our active DC topic thread here: http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=9751

For some alternatives to DC, see our Dating Sites Hub Page here.
http://www.happierabroad.com/MeetForeignWomen.htm



1 comment:

  1. Blah, not going to read all that. I booked an awesome Ukraine tour from http://culturewhiz.org/experiences that met all my expectations.

    ReplyDelete

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