A Foreign Affair - Review
A Foreign Affair (AFA)
is owned and operated out of Phoenix Arizona by three American men who found their wives in Russia. It is one of the largest, most well-known companies in the business.
From my personal experience with AFA, it has some good points and some bad points.
A Foreign Affair Group Tours
I should start by pointing out that the "Group Tour" is the primary approach PUSHED by A Foreign Affair
. And I mean PUSHED. If you call them they're going to talk you into the group tour. If you complain that their letter service is scammy, they'll say, "Well, writing doesn't really work anyway, you should just take the tour... that's the ONLY way to go about this!" (but they won't give you a refund for any fraudulent letters sent/received through the letter service).
There is ONE thing of considerable value that A Foreign Affair
's group tours bring to the table: A start-to-finish hand-holding tour.
If you've never traveled internationally, or if your only foreign travels have been to popular tourism destinations like Cozumel, London, Paris, and/or Rome, then Russia/Ukraine may be a difficult place to visit without some help, and that's where a "hand holding tour" adds value to the mission.
You pay one price (** the tour prices posted used to include airfare, but I don't think that's true now), show up at the designated U.S. airport at the designated time, look for the guy with the "A Foreign Affair
Tour" sign at your departure gate, then just follow him the rest of the way. Your airport pickup/drop-off at the Russian/Ukrainian airport, hotels, city-to-city ground transport (for multi-city tours), and the parties are all covered and pre-arranged. Obviously food, dates, ground transport within cities, and other entertainment are not covered.
I'm not sure if it always works like this, but for my tour an American A Foreign Affair
representative accompanied the tour. For the duration of the tour the local AFA office in the city of the tour (Kiev for the tour I took) relocates to a room in the hotel where all the tourists are staying so that there was always someone available to answer questions and provide guidance.
That's the upside to A Foreign Affair
... they get you there and back, arrange everything, and provide hands-on help and orientation while there.
Now the downsides... As far as the A Foreign Affair
tour goes, you need to temper your expectations with a little cold hard reality...
Adjust your expectations of the Russian/Ukrainian women you will see at the socials on their tours. Of the guys I know who have been on A Foreign Affair's group tours (including myself), one very consistent opinion among them was that they were disappointed with the women that showed up at the socials.
Let me put it this way... Look at the girls pictured on A Foreign Affair's home page and on the pages promoting specific tours. Those pictures rotate all the time, but they're ALWAYS HOT. Well, NONE of those girls are ever going to show up at an AFA group tour social - at least not in the tours to Russia/Ukraine.
AFA also allows you to specify up to 25 women from the website that you would like them to invite to the socials. None of those girls are likely to show up either. At least none of the ones I listed for my tour showed up. And I have spoken with many men over the years about their experience with A Foreign Affair tours and none have seen the women they requested show up at the socials.
From the hype on A Foreign Affair's site you'd think all the girls at the socials were carefully selected, marriage/family-minded, sweet-hearted, pre-screened swimsuit models. Well, it's really nothing like that! Some quality women usually attend – attractive, decent, sincere women. But it's very different from the expectations A Foreign Affair sets.
Don't get me wrong. I personally don't believe that a Russian woman needs to be runway-model-hot to be worth meeting or pursuing. I just think that when AFA puts gorgeous, scantily-clad women all over their web pages promoting tours, and in the text description of those tours talk all about meeting beautiful Russian/Ukrainian women, they're insinuating that at least SOME women like THESE might be there. It's MISLEADING! If they put pictures of the girls that would actually be at the socials, sales would drop through the floor.
If you read their site, listen to their video blogs, and/or contact them by phone or email, they usually try to give you the impression that you'll have a reasonable chance of coming back from a group tour engaged to be married. Shoot, the group tour even includes a "Free Fiancee Visa Kit" (for U.S. residents). This is purely a prop to make you think there's a chance you could be engaged by the end of your tour.
No one on my AFA group tour to Kiev came back engaged. And it didn't happen on other AFA group tours other friends have told me about. It didn't even happen in their nationally televised Bachelors Abroad show that followed an AFA tour to Ukraine.
John Adams, president of A Foreign Affair, narrating the Bachelors Abroad documentary sums up the tour covered in the video by admitting that it didn't really happen for any of the guys on THAT tour, but explaining that it takes all kinds of luck and timing, etc.
But that's most definitely NOT what you hear BEFORE you book your tour! Before the tour you hear "It's AWESOME! There are more gorgeous model-like Russian/Ukrainian women there than you can shake a stick at... the socials are 10-to-1 hot women to men... it's like shooting fish in a barrel... Finding a super-model is as easy as tripping over a log..." And BEFORE the tour you get this "FREE Fiancee Visa Kit", and put it together that maybe - just maybe - on your tour you might end up engaged to one of these super-models.
Hey, you think I'm exaggerating? OK, I may be exaggerating a LITTLE, but visit their tour pages and read what they say. Or, better yet, give them a call. Their number is published on their website.
That's all just misleading sales hype. Sure, it may happen now and then, but if it does, it's the rare exception.
Another very significant factor to consider regarding A Foreign Affair's group tours is that A Foreign Affair passionately believes in and pushes a model for finding and meeting Russian/Ukrainian women that is seriously flawed (flawed for you, but profitable for them). They push you to NOT settle in on any one girl that you may come to like, and all but insist that you attend the socials and meet many more women, even if you have met a girl with whom you really clicked.
Hey, depending on the person, that may be good advice. But you ARE there for the purpose of finding ONE, right? If not, you're on the wrong website here. And if every time you think you found THE ONE someone is behind you saying, "but you gotta meet more, you gotta go to the next social, you gotta go to the next city, etc., because someone ELSE there may really be THE ONE", well, you can see how that might just work AGAINST you actually finding THE ONE!
If you're taking the AFA tour for the "hand-holding" element I describe above, then most of the downsides listed so far don't really come into play. Who cares whether the women that go to the socials aren't what you expected if you were mostly in it for the perk of simply having all the arrangements taken care of for you? But the thing that probably will matter to you is COST...
For all practical purposes an AFA tour is a very expensive way to go about this, and probably the least likely to succeed. The average cost of an AFA tour in Ukraine in 2016 averages around $300/day, and these are the "ground-only" prices which do not include airfare. They include airport pickup/drop-off, lodging, socials, and unlimited introductions.
By comparison, if you booked an individual tour with a local agency like Daisy Bride in Kiev (but there are a million others, this is just an example), they'll provide a BETTER tour for $180/day, which includes airport pickup/drop-off, lodging, and unlimited introductions (no socials, but trust me, the socials aren't worth the difference in price). And that $180/day is a Kiev agency price. Agencies performing similar services in most other Ukrainian cities will charge even less. There really is no comparison.
BUT, if you can afford it, their tours can be fun and possibly successful if you set your expectations realistically, avoid their "propaganda", and follow my advice on group tours
. Preliminary Hint: "Unlimited Introductions" come with the tour package. This means that while you are on their tour you can go to their "hospitality suite" (that's the hotel room where the office operates while the tour is in session) and request them to attempt to set up appointments with any girl from that city in their database. Do that the minute you get there and try to keep your calendar full with dates set up that way and forget about the socials unless you couldn't plan anything else.
So that's all the good side of A Foreign Affair
... If you absolutely need the hand-holding, you have the money, and you understand and accept the "adjustment of expectations" I describe above, then an AFA tour may be good for you. But I would recommend against using ANY OTHER SERVICES of A Foreign Affair
Actually that header is redundant... Pay-Per-Letter is practically synonymous with agency fraud. As you may read in other parts of this site, I strongly advise against using ANY PAY-PER-LETTER services, and usually against using ANY service from a company that offers pay-per-letter services.
One of the following things are happening in almost every pay-per-letter operation:
- The women are not actually writing (the agency is writing you on their behalf).
- The women are paid a share of the letter revenue to correspond with men.
This is fraudulent, in my opinion, because it is presented as though the parties to the correspondence, the messages, and the motives are all authentic when they really are not by almost any reasonable definition... Here's what I mean...
You receive an email from a foreign dating site where you're registered. The email has the subject line "You have received a letter from Natalia", but "Natalia" has no idea who you are, has never seen your profile, has not selected your profile, and has not actually participated in any way in writing or sending the message, but you have to PAY to read that message, and you have to pay even more to reply to that message.
Or in the case of ongoing correspondence, you and "Natalia" are writing back and forth through the letter service. It's clearly presented as though Natalia is real, and sincere, and is communicating with you. Well, in many of these cases you should keep in the very front of your mind that Natalia probably isn't really the one participating in this correspondence at all. She probably exists, lives in the city noted on her profile, looks like her pictures, etc., etc., etc., but she hasn't seen your profile, read any of your messages (probably isn't even aware of them), or written you any messages.
This is - AT BEST - how nearly ALL pay-per-letter operations work. At worst, the girls ARE actually writing you, but they are paid to do so, and in some cases they will even lure you to visit their city to scam you face-to-face. For a great picture of how that works, see My Experience With Anastasia Date
written by a reader of this site. That's a textbook description of how the worst pay-per-letter scams work.
Well, despite A Foreign Affair
describing themselves as "the world's ... most respected Introduction and Tour service", almost all of my personal experience with A Foreign Affair
's pay-per-letter services have involved these kinds of things (the first kind of pay-per-letter scam, where the agency writes on behalf of the women, not the second kind where the women lure you to their city to scam you in person).
On one occasion I did a little investigating and was able to verify that the AFA girl in Odessa Ukraine I had been writing had no idea who I was and was not involved in any communication with me. So I complained about it and received an email from John Adams (the top dog at AFA) who said that although they had some trouble with the local agency in Odessa, they couldn't verify that ALL NINETEEN of the letters sent back and forth throughout the exchange were fraudulent so they could only comp me for ONE MESSAGE.
I had some seriously suspicious correspondence in other parts of Ukraine and Russia that I didn't bother to investigate. It was largely through these experiences and the stories I heard from friends that I came to so distrust per-per-letter services, including those of A Foreign Affair
They ADMIT IT!
Now if you think I'm being a little overly cynical and paranoid, get this: AFA ADMITS IT!!! That's right, A Foreign Affair
ACTUALLY ADMITS that they write letters on behalf of the women! See their "Terms
" page! OK, maybe they don't COMPLETELY OPENLY admit it, but they do admit it behind some tricky, weaselly, slimy lawyer-talk... Here, read for yourself:
E-mail Forwarding.... There are two types of letters - the letters in green are replies from women whom you have already written. The letters in blue are introduction letters from women who may be interested in you based primarily on your profile information. With the assistance of our staff, women have the ability to send intro letters to men they feel they may have an interest in. An Intro letter may be sent to you directly by the woman OR with the help of office staff based on your profile matching some or all of her parameters, however, it is entirely up to the discretion of the office as far as what is considered a possible match, it is possible that some intro letters may not be a good match. Keep in mind that this is just an intro letter as a show of possible interest and may very well be sent to multiple men. Blue letter(s) are only $5.95 to open regardless of your membership status...
(bold, italics, and underline formatting added by me for emphasis. All wording and punctuation copied directly from site)
Carefully read that again... Does anything about it sound fishy to you? "An Intro letter may be sent to you directly by the woman OR
with the help of office staff..."
Why the "OR
" there near the middle? Why would it matter to anyone whether the girl wrote a letter with or without "help of office staff"? And what exactly does "help" mean?
Any reasonable, natural, surface reading of this would lead a reader to imagine that sometimes the female clients come to the office, sit in front of a computer with an office staff person who "helps" them pick guys and send messages. Isn't that the picture that comes to your mind at first glance?
BUT, when they add in phrases like "based primarily on your profile information", "based on your profile matching some or all of her parameters", and "it is entirely up to the discretion of the office as far as what is considered a possible match", it really starts to look more like the office staff aren't "helping" so much as actually doing the selecting and writing.
Maybe when a woman specifies on her application form (most of which isn't displayed on the online profile) that she seeks a man between 30 and 50 years old from the U.S. without children, the staff simply writes letters on behalf of the woman to men 30-50, from the U.S., without children, etc.
Maybe they inform the woman that they wrote on her behalf, maybe not. Maybe the woman checked a box on her application form that said "Please write intro letters for me to men matching my parameters", or maybe the woman signed a 5-page contract that in the middle of page 4 said "I, Applicant, authorize AFA to write letters to men on my behalf..."
Note all the "maybes"... I'm guessing here. I really don't know the mechanics of exactly how they pull this off at the local agency level in Russia/Ukraine, but the language in these terms clearly implies something like this, and it is very consistent with my experiences.
Note that these terms quoted above specify two kinds of messages, "blue" (intro) and "green" (replies from women you've already written), and all these tricky clauses specifically address only the intro ("blue") messages, and they devote no space to describing all kinds of tricky practices regarding "green" messages.
I would guess that this is intended to convey the impression that the "green" (ongoing, not intro) messages are authentic (i.e. The girl personally/directly participated in the creating the message), but they DON'T DIRECTLY STATE THIS. It seems like if they were going to go through all these verbal gymnastics to say that the intro letters may not actually be written by the female clients, then they would just throw in a few words assuring us that the "green" messages are all directly written by the women.
But my own personal experiences - as described above - would really indicate that it is also extremely common for the ongoing messages ("green") to be written by the office staff without the participation of the woman client.
If everything above hasn't completely convinced you of the nearly universally fraudulent nature of the pay-per-letter scheme (for the lawyers, "fraudulent" here meaning that "You have received a letter from Natalia" doesn't necessarily mean that Natalia had anything to do with it), allow me to suggest an experiment whereby you can prove it to yourself.
Sign up and create profiles at AFA and at any membership site where you pay for a membership for some period of time during which you can exchange unlimited messages with unlimited women at no additional cost. The best site like this is Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com
. It has over a QUARTER MILLION profiles of Russian/Ukrainian women, many very beautiful, and many of whom are very active on the site.
On both sites it is free to create a profile and to see the profiles of the women who write you. On both sites you have to pay to send/read messages (on AFA you pay for every message, at Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com you pay once for the membership but nothing additional for each message).
and Ukraine Date
are also large membership sites with MANY profiles and would be equally useful for this experiment.
Now, after a week on each site (AFA and whatever membership site you choose) what kind of women wrote to you from each site?
You can do this experiment if you want to see it with your own eyes, but if you want to save a little time and effort I can just tell you what your experience will be... On A Foreign Affair
every day you will receive messages from only insanely gorgeous, young women. On Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com mostly older, heavier, not-so-attractive women will write.
If you choose to take the experiment further and actually spend the money on each site to communicate, you're going to find that if you initiate contact with the most beautiful women on Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com, maybe 20% will reply. If you write to the most beautiful women on AFA, over 90% will reply.
Now let's analyze the results of the experiment... Ask yourself a few questions, like WHY DO ONLY GORGEOUS YOUNG WOMEN WRITE YOU ON AFA, and why do mostly older, plainer women write you on Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com?
Does A Foreign Affair
have the magical source of all the young, beautiful, slender women who don't care about a man's age, looks, health, or money, but no other site has this (other than Anastasia Date
)? Seriously, WHY THIS DIFFERENCE between AFA and Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com
? Take your time, and don't skip ahead to the answer :-)
The answer is simply that in most cases the women on AFA who are contacting you are NOT actually contacting you, but rather representatives in the local affiliate agency offices are contacting you because there's PROFIT in it for them for EVERY MESSAGE you read or send. So they aren't going to send you many intro letters from unattractive women because they know that there's less chance that you'll pay to read them.
Since there's no one in the revenue stream at Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com who earns more money if you write and read more messages, the results look a lot more authentic.
"Profiles That Sell"
You ever notice how "flowery" profiles are at A Foreign Affair
, especially for the really attractive women? And have you ever noticed that women on AFA almost never state the age range for the men they seek?
Most sites have a field for a woman's age preferences, and in some cases a girl may enter a preferred age range in this field then even reiterate that preference in her text description of the men she prefers. Is it just the case that women on AFA do not care about a man's age, but women on other sites (where women enter THEIR OWN details) care about age?
I think the reason for this is somewhat obvious. If AFA allowed women to state their age range preferences, or REQUIRED that they state this preference (AND presented the women's declared preferences accurately on their profiles), they would lose a lot of business from really old guys who think they can score with a 22 year old super hottie.
Here's another observation... Go to the home page at LoveMe.com
and click on the hottest picture in the top banner (I would link to one but it could change and break the link). Now in her profile text pick out a 10-15 word phrase - ideally a phrase containing unique wording, copy it to your clipboard, and paste it into the Google search box surrounded by quotes. The quotes force Google to find matches only for the entire phrase.
In many cases you'll find that exact same 10-15 word phrase on HUNDREDS of other dating sites! Admittedly some of them are just AFA affiliates, so it isn't really duplication in those cases, but most are not AFA affiliates, and most are not the same woman, in the same location, same age, same name, or same anything.
For example, I just copied this string out of an AFA profile, "He is able to make decisions, to be a leader, to love and respect a woman, to take care about her", and pasted it into Google. Google found 549 results. That's too long a phrase for 549 different people to come up with it independently.
I can only apply common sense and reason, but I would speculate that they're all copying from the same source.
Wouldn't you hope that at "the world's largest and most respected Introduction and Tour service" the women's profiles would be authentic, and that the women at least participated in writing about themselves and what they seek rather than having the text of the profiles copied out of a "hot web profiles" database somewhere?
EuroClub Individual Introductions
If you are traveling to a city and want to meet just a few women from A Foreign Affair
's website in that city, GOOD LUCK! As I understand it, if you want to meet a girl from AFA's network who does not live in one of only a few big cities where they run an office (not an affiliate), then the only way to meet those girls is through their "Euro Club" program, which is exorbitantly expensive compared to any other approach.
You can't just walk into the office of a local A Foreign Affair
affiliate in Kharkov, Ukraine, as you can with any normal local agency and pay $25-$50 for an introduction. Instead you need to pay them $795 for a week-long program where they'll introduce you to up to 3 local women per day from their site. Airport pickup/drop-off are included, AND they'll offer suggestions on where you might go for your dates.
So if you see a girl on A Foreign Affair
in Ukraine that is not in Kiev or one of the cities where they run their own office (you would need to check with them for that list), I would forget about her unless she is also on other sites (in which case I'd usually recommend using the other sites to meet her). The only way you can meet such women through A Foreign Affair
is through their overpriced Euro Club plan.
A Foreign Affair
offers well-organized group tours and they can be fun if price is no object and you have realistic expectations and manage it right (and if cost is no object). All their other services are scammy or overpriced.