ST. LOUIS, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A website offering services called Invisible Girlfriend and Invisible Boyfriend said lonely hearts can receive texts, phone calls and even handwritten notes for $25 a month.
Matthew Homann, a self-described "recovering lawyer" with "idea surplus disorder," said he purchased the InvisibleGirlfriend.com domain for $7 following his divorce several years ago and the idea was further developed during a 2013 hackathon in St. Louis.
Homann said the website is now accepting beta users to test out the $24.99-per-month service, which allows users to choose their faux significant other's picture, name and age. The basic plan includes 100 text messages per month as well as phone calls and handwritten letters.
Homann said he partnered with a firm that supplies employees to author the messages and make the phone calls.
"There has grown this amazing multinational workforce of people willing to do microtasks for a very small amount of money," Homann told CNN.
Homann told Valleywag some of the users who have signed up on the site so far include soldiers who want others to believe they have a girlfriend waiting for them back home and gays and lesbians who don't want their conservative families to find out about their sexual orientation.
"What we're seeing is potential user cases are all over the board," Homann said. "It's not just, I want to convince my parents I'm in a relationship."
Similar services have previously been offered by eBay users who offered to personally pose as girlfriends and boyfriends in exchange for a fee, and a Shanghai man sought late last year to rent out his girlfriend for iPhone 6 money -- but he insisted no "funny business" would be allowed.