Do online dating background checks give false hope?

WCTV.tv ran this piece by Whitney Ray about the recent legislative attempts to disclose whether online dating services conduct background checks on their users.  

Opponents say if sites start claiming they run background checks, the disclaimer could give users false hope.

The problem is the quality of the background check.  What type of identity verification do these sites conduct?  If you are able to lie about your age when you sign up, how can a criminal background check be successful since most county criminal searches and nationwide criminal searches run off a name and date of birth match?  Also, in a simply world, some of us might want to fudge a little on our birthdays.   In this age of identity theft, why would you want to give a company our full name and real date of birth when it seems like databases are getting hacked everyday?

True.com back in the news about online dating background checks

David Crary of Associated Press wrote an article about the recent New Jersey legislation requiring online dating sites to disclose whether they perform background checks and discusses True.com and Match.com’s response.   Predictably, True.com was “elated” by the legislation (which provides them with an opportunity to trumpet their usage of background checks).  Match, on the other hand, said they were “disappointed” in the legislation.  

“Match.com is disappointed New Jersey has enacted a flawed and unconstitutional law and we will explore opportunities to challenge it,” a company statement said. 

Strangely enough, the law doesn’t require background checks, just that company disclose whether they are performed. 

As we have discussed before, all background checks are not created equal.  Running names through a criminal database is helpful but is far from complete.  The real problem with online dating is identity verification.  What steps are these companies using to verify a user’s identity?  They should need to run the minimum of a social security trace or possibly a motor vehicle records search to confirm identity.  This can also create more problems, as some states have stricter requirement for accessing DMV records and have different turn around times.  Other users as well could provide stolen SSN numbers to defeat the system.   Perhaps the best way is make all the background check conducted totally transparent to all users.  Perhaps the user should be allowed to choose how complete of a background is run on himself.   Perhaps the market forces will define the standard. 

 background checks, online dating, background check legislation, true.com, match.com 

PC World wants your online dating yarns

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PC World is looking for online dating war stories for an upcoming Valentine’s Day article. 

“We’ve seen the happy endings, now let’s hear about the wacky hijinks . . .  You know, like the time your online date showed up with her/his/its pet ferret and kept calling her/his/its mother every five minutes”

Sounds like they really needs some good stories because these examples are horrible.  I have noticed many female 30-somethings expressing the symptoms of “eHarmony Fatigue” and are unmotivated to re-up for 3 more months.   Why?  They state that it is a lot of work!   They are tired of filling out the required online match questions  and then going out on lunch dates and Sunday dinner dates with boring guys. 

Perhaps this has addressed something that everyone is unwilling to state: the type of guy motivated to signup for eHarmony is not very interesting.  Allowing a software program to send you matches is an emasculating experience.  It is the same as getting set up by your mother; for a real man, this is not optimal.  At a most basic sub-textual level, men like the thrill of the hunt and women want to be chased.  eHarmony, while innovative, removes the danger from dating.  When you remove the danger, both men and women end up unsatisfied. 

 

 

 

Want to date (buy) me?

 J DATE LOGO

 According to JTA Breaking News the parent company of Jewish online dating site JDAte.com is current for sale.   The stock (AMEX: LOV) closed today at 5.48 (down 3%), and apparently has a market value of $131.4 Million.   Reuters says that the sale could go for as much as $185 M.  

Reuters also mentioned that “Spark Networks posted a 5 percent drop in revenue for the first nine months of 2007 to $49.2 million as its Web sites geared to a wider audience lost ground to larger rivals.” 

Is it a good time to buy a parent company with a basket of niche dating sites?  In a possibly rocky financial 2008, will online dating pan out as a consumer necessity or a discretionary purchase?  Maybe everyone will ditch the 3 month re-up and start getting out to bars more.  At least, for women, the drinks are free. 

 No matter what, make sure you get that background check on your next date.

  online dating  online busines sales