Love Letters in Germany's Cyberspace

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Letter writing for a fee -- as part of an effort to help tongue-tied young Germans who don't know what to say to their beloveds - has been spreading on the Web for several years.

The going rate for the missives is about $20. (Love Letters) offers letters that are "wonderful, wild, madly romantic, erotic or apologetic" and cites Cyrano de Bergerac as a shining model of how to do it for others.

But CEO Jeannot Lucchi notes that writing love letters is an art and not every man's cup of tea.

"It doesn't have to be," he says in his opening Web pitch. "If your heart flutters with desire, when butterflies in your belly cause that cozy tingling feeling, if you feel guilty and want to ask for forgiveness or if you just want to say thank you for a beautiful evening or a great year, you should turn to the pros at loveletters."

Lucchi told the German news agency DPA that he sent out 1,500 letters during the last three years. And he charges more than most -- about $30 apiece.

Romantic Letters ( tells potential customers "surprise your partner with this extra-ordinary present - love letters, apologies that work [and] romantic birthday greetings."

Mail from the heart ( goes more highbrow. It cites Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera" and tells customers not to wait as long as the hero did - 51 years - before achieving their heart's desire.

A Cyber Cyrano operates from (dearest one). He offers his services for free, but his site contains banner advertising. The site, complete with drawings of a long-nosed knight, claims that Cyber Cyrano has readied letters for "your beloved in every variation and he works for you day and night." The site also offers a chat room and tips regarding books and gifts.

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