Mamba.ru Review – from a Western man’s point of view
A little bit more than a year ago, Krystyna, did a quick review of the freemium dating site Mamba.ru, which you can find here. In the meantime the mamba user base has increased exponentially from 6 million to 23 million profiles in 15 countries and I think this begs for an update of the original review. The term Freemium means that contacting and communicating with members is free, but you can buy credits for premium services like VIP status and the like.
Features of Mamba.ru
In terms of functionality the site is one of the most innovative dating sites I’ve seen, giving the site a very playful touch. For example you can use this site to find travel buddies besides of the usual love, friends and dates.
Registration is incredibly easy as you can login with your vk, google, twitter or facebook profile. I tried out the Facebook option and it even imported my Facebook profile pictures. The site also features a REAL-status function, where mamba send you a confirmation code to your cell phone number thereby confirming that you’re a real person. REAL status is a protection feature and most ladies require you to have real status.
It seems that most Russian language people think that filling out a personal profile is for losers. Most people only care to fill out the most basic features of their profiles. Most people only care to write something in their speech bubble connected to their main photo and what many ladies write there can be quite blunt, e.g. one girl I had a date with, writes in English, “I’m looking for a new love” and underneath in Russian, “if you live in the ex-soviet-union, don’t even bother to contact me, I will not respond”.
On Mamba.ru the quality of your photo is everything that counts
There is a TOP100 functionality which always presents two pictures of the gender you’re interested in and you select the one you like more. By choosing one girl (A) over another (B), the system awards 1/20 of the points of girl B to girl A.
The TOP100 game primarily selects girls living close to where you live, and it’s therefore a great way of getting yourself acquainted with girls you’re possibly interested in. The girl which you voted into the TOP100 gets notified that you voted for her, and she can then contact you or vice versa (if a girl voted you into the TOP100 you get notified).
There is also a leader game, where you pay money to be the leader in your region (thereby being featured dominantly in the leader box) until somebody else pays more money. Other uses of credits are sending virtual gifts to draw the attention of this woman to your profile. This might be useful for contacting women who are swamped by messages, mostly women in the TOP100. The last use of credits is VIP status, which gives you the possibility of more search options, being featured at the top of the search results and being able to be invisible.
Dating on Mamba
For centuries the Russian Empire has been ruled by either one of two warring castes, on the one hand the westerners / modernisers and on the other the siloviki. Currently Russia is run by Vladimir Putin, a siloviki and that’s why many ladies (and gentlemen) identifying with the westerner caste want to leave the country. Or they will at least tell you, the westerner, how awful siloviki men are.
I’m mentioning this because Mamba just had a Gentlemen’s Contest, which is a combination of the gift / leader game. The guys who spent the most money and the girls who received the most roses are siloviki. You can easily recognize a siloviki guy by his pictures with a cell phone on his ear or a siloviki girl writing, ‘she’s looking for an alpha male’ or having received many gifts.
On the one hand I was quite shocked that there are many more siloviki (supporting people) than I thought, on the other I was relieved by the sheer number of women despising siloviki behavior. This is best exemplified by the ladies’ comments on a photo of the user “Sergey Sergey” who won the Gentlemen’s contest (in parentheses if the lady has received gifts or not, all ladies are stunningly good-looking):
This is how a man should look like! [many gifts] – Alpha-male! [no gifts] – Superman! [many gifts] – Ladies, he’s married! [no gifts] – Handsome! [many gifts] – Brutally handsome! [gifts] – Yes, a brutal man and intelligence in his eyes… [no gifts].
Most ladies and gentlemen are not looking for a partner abroad, but with 23 million profiles, you will soon find out that there are more men and women who are actually looking for contact abroad than you might wish for. They might be looking for marriage, but also for a conversation partner or whatever. Contact is very easily established, but just as easily lost.
Good pictures are quintessential for dating ladies on mamba. I would suggest to my fellow gentlemen to start taking pictures with a good camera and to ask your best buddy to take pictures on your next skiing trip with your face clearly visible in the foreground and you thinking, you will be sending those pictures to a supermodel.
If you’re not interested in girls from your city you can always set a different city in your profile, like Odessa or Kiev (e.g. for voting in the TOP100). But if you do such a thing, I recommend mentioning in your profile that you’re actually not living in Odessa or Kiev.
Disadvantages of Mamba.ru
In order to better understand the advantages of the site, it’s better to discuss the disadvantages first. Russia and Ukraine have a lot of talented and good looking people, but mamba is maybe a good example why there are also plenty of reasons why they are economically where they are right now.
I’ve never used any of the Freemium services, because you need a Russian credit card for buying them. I was told that payments with international credit cards should work in the near future, so you need to check. You could also pay for them with telco micropayment services, but for one reason or another this does not work in my country.
Mamba.ru is there to make money and they want to be international, but I cannot imagine an American based dating service refusing to take my European credit card.
Rule of Law / Good Governance
My profile has been blocked three times, and I’m still figuring out why they did it. I’ve got one hunch, I posted twice a link to personal pictures, nothing special; but the links were mistaken for posting links for personal gain (which is forbidden). Instead user support told me that my pictures did not comply with their posting standards and deleted ALL of my profile pictures. They say in their user terms that you’re not allowed to post pictures which have (significantly) been modified in a graphic editor or are of poor quality.
Together with the requirement that the pictures can only feature you, this more or less disqualified all of my pictures, because most of my pictures were cropped. There are however a lot of pictures of people on the site, which have been taken by a professional photographer and therefore have been modified in a graphic editor (e.g. Photoshop). Interpreting the user terms in this way also defeats the purpose of importing Facebook profile pictures, as Facebook acts as an image editor for the purpose of cropping pictures.
I’ve contacted Mamba.ru corporate several times to clarify this point, but they never got back to me. This incident is especially disheartening because a deactivated profile gives other people the impression that you’re a shady / dishonest person. And it leaves you with an aftertaste that mamba.ru judges not everybody equally, meaning that you as a westerner are not particularly welcome there.
Fraud / Scamming
This incident also implies that there must be scammers or at least dishonest people on this site. Or at least people who have pictures who do not correspond with what they are in reality. To be fair, it should be mentioned that there are now many Africans on this site trying to contact you with questionable profiles and pictures. For example, one (white) English girl contacted me and proposed to move the conversation on skype, I then googled her first and last name and Google only found black women with that first and last name.
Krystyna mentioned that the „no reply“ rate is high, having to write hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian ladies on Mamba.ru to find prospective candidates for relationship and marriage. If you want your girl to be good-looking. But this point also applies to all dating site in the western world.
Russian / Ukrainian ladies in your area are less inclined to date you, the westerner. They might have had bad experiences with Western men and are on mamba.ru to find Russian men. And you might find them not of the same quality as the ones you can find in Russia and the Ukraine.
Personally I find it hard to start a conversation with someone who doesn’t write anything in their profile. Most women contacted me, writing: Hello. Or: Privet. Then I stare for a long time onto the white screen and wonder how Russian and Ukrainian men would start a conversation.
Advantages of Mamba.ru
Test how attractive you are by uploading pictures. If your pictures are accepted into the TOP100 contest, you’ll see how much you’re worth on the market. Please remember what I wrote above, the best advice is to have a fairly good camera and get some pictures taken. Good pictures with your face in the foreground will get you an excellent response. And this is independent of being a member of mamba or of any other dating service.
Russian / Ukrainian women write messages to you. During the first two weeks I only had my facebook pictures on my profile and the response was miserable. Then a female friend said, oh, on this picture you’re sooo attractive. So I thought, I’d put that up, ladies voted it into the TOP100 and I got literally swamped by messages.
Who is this dating site for?
I primarily recommend using Mamba.ru for anyone interested in dating a Russian language person, especially for men who are already communicating with girls from the other paid services.
In my case I wanted to meet Russian language girls who are already living close to where I live. My prime motivation was: Why go for all the trouble of importing a Russian language woman if you can also have one from around the corner? And also as a reality check if you really want to go for Russian language girls.
In conclusion I would rewrite Krystyna’s original statement followingly: Mamba.ru is a great free alternative to International dating sites that are pretty expensive and often powerless against Ukrainian and Russian dating scam (paid sites should still have better protections against scam, than mamba). But I think that for most Western men the dating process on Mamba.ru is going to be too much of a challenge, but a challenge worth considering. I especially recommend using mamba.ru to date a Russian / Ukrainian at home, and as a reality-check if Russian / Ukrainian ladies are (not) your thing without having to spend a lot of nerves and money.
Written by Ralph
Krystyna’s Note to Mamba.ru: If you want to use Russian free dating portals, you need to adjust to the fact that your profile can be blocked for no reason. I communicate with a number of promotion agencies in Russia and Ukraine, and I have to say that their communication methods are quite a bit different. This is simply a different culture.
And it’s not uncommon to have problems paying for Russian services with your western credit card, as Russia has its own methods: WebMoney, Yandex Dengi, etc. Russia is a different world – so be it. The Russians say: One cannot understand Russia with the mind. And I agree 100%. Dating on mamba.ru and other Russian free portals can also be quite hard, because your profile can easily be blocked without warning and justification. Good luck! 🙂
Questions? Feel free to ask Krystyna, your Ukrainian dating expert 🙂 (s. here: Contact Krystyna)