Concerned that my friend was being scammed, I did some investigating, and came to the conclusion that yes, he was. Here, then, is my research, to warn those considering using against wasting their time and money.
Recently, due to a friend's involvement, I had cause to investigate the authenticity of an Asian dating site.
A sample of some of the first few messages "Michael" received, along with my commentary, if any, in grey, follows.
I did not take screenshots of any of these chat pop-ups, but you don't have to take them on faith - you can perform the same experiment that I did, and see for yourself that these are the sort of messages that you receive.
Below is a screenshot of the letter in question, in which I have circled the smoking gun in red.
Please take a moment to consider the implications of this. Presumably, your letter is assigned to a paid member of the team, who, with the help of software, with minimal effort crafts a passably "personal" response to your letter, which you pay between and to read, and another between and to respond to.