Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Major Problems Call for Major Changes in Online Dating Industry.

Miami, FL (PRWEB) November 19, 2004 -- Just a few weeks ago, a woman met a man from a dating site. The man she met, raped her. Naturally, this isn't the first time someone was harmed, due to a chance meeting on a dating site, and rape isn't the only thing someone has to worry about. There are many problems associated with the dating industry. Obviously, we can't forget about the child molesters, who tend to run rampant on them. How about the scammers, who take people for their money, on a daily basis? Is there a way to stop this from occurring? Getogethersafe.com (GTS) thinks there is!

The dating industry is growing at a rapid pace. Various companies are constantly introducing new concepts, in order to enhance the online dating experience. However, GTS believes their competition simply isn't doing enough, to protect the clients from harm. The lack of safety, is a primary concern for all subscribers, who join these sites. "It's not like the problems are going to go away, by themselves", said Rana Adamchick, CEO of Getogethersafe.com. "We may not be able to stop them, completely, but, we can certainly minimize the risk, by taking action". If we do nothing, the problems will just get worse, and it could potentially place those who join the sites, in "serious danger".

Identifying the Problems

"Since the industry is growing quickly, the problems have to be dealt with", said Michael Butler, VP of GTS. "So, we decided to do a tremendous amount of research, before opening our site". GTS staff, personally joined many of their competitors' sites, in order to keep an eye on the situation. During this research, they found, it's not just the safety issues, clients had to deal with. In fact, they were able to see exactly what was happening, from a consumer's point of view.

Besides safety issues, they also found quirky software on the majority of the sites; search capabilities weren't exact (if, and when, they worked at all); email problems ran rampant amongst many of the sites; confidentiality issues were rarely taken into account; the majority of chat programs had multiple problems (as pointed out by many of the participants), and naturally, the list goes on and on.

Time for Change

Hence, GTS ( http://www.getogethersafe.com) knew exactly what they had to do. They took each problem, and broke it down, step by step. The first order of business - setup the necessary safeguards, in order to stop many of the scams from occurring. Of course, GTS had to be able to eliminate the problem, prior to the crime taking place. That was the tricky part. GTS’s programmer, Maureen Larsen, solved this problem, using what she calls, “keyword triggers”.

Is it working? "Yes, it definitely is", said Ms. Adamchick. "GTS has already caught 5 scammers, since our inception". "The information was sent to the proper authorities, and the scammers' accounts suspended." "In addition, clients were informed not to send out any money to anyone." "For a change, it was the scammers who were burned, not the clients".

"Mind you, this happened within the first 24 hours of the individuals joining the site," said, Mike Butler, VP of GTS. Considering GTS has only been open 2 weeks, can you imagine how many scammers are accessing other dating sites, on a daily basis?

Client Confidentiality Solved

Client confidentiality was also a concern for the GTS staff. Obviously, other sites allow you to purchase products and services. However, it's normally necessary for the clients to use the recipient's real name and address, to have the item shipped to them. This transaction could potentially place the recipient in danger, if the person sending the item, is less than desirable.

During the construction of their site, Getogethersafe.com altered their online store software, to avoid the confidentiality problem. Instead of using a client's real name and address, GTS subscribers can send their "prospective other" flower bouquets or gifts, simply by using the recipients' id number or username. This allows the site to keep their member's information safer, from those that might use it for illegal purposes.

Safe Meetings

GTS also anticipated their client base to grow at a phenomenal rate. Once the site obtained enough clients, they knew they had to have the capability to offer a venue, for their members to meet each other. They realized, this venue had to be in a safe location for both parties, and it also had to be cost effective, not to mention enjoyable.

So, GTS decided to join with Sodexho Catering Partners, who agreed to provide banquets all over the U.S., for minimal amounts. Sodexho has catering partners within a 50-mile radius of every city, which will make it easy for all their clients to meet, safely.

High flight costs to the events were also taken into account. Through one of the major airlines, GTS was able to obtain less expensive flights for their subscribers, for each event. However, providing a safe meeting place, good music, dancing, good food, companionship and reasonable prices was just the beginning.

Criminal Background Checks

GTS also realized their clients would be safer, if they were able to check a prospective partner's background, before dating them. Naturally, GTS felt it was very important not to invade anyone's privacy, during this process. While the company, does not conduct the actual background checks, they permit the individual members to do so, if, they so desire. "After all, the members will be associating with each other, not us", said Mike Butler, VP of GTS.

The charges for this type of service can normally range all the way up to $99.95, depending on the type of search. However, GTS was able to obtain the lowest prices possible, through http://www.criminalsearch.com. Mike Butler said, "If the criminal search costs are kept minimal, it will allow everyone to do searches of potential mates and friends, and may even encourage the clients to check on each other, regularly." Some of the background checks and their rates are listed on the site, as follows:

National Criminal Records and Sex Offender Search Combo- $8.50 per search;
Federal Criminal Records - $8.00 per search;
National Sex Offender Search - $4.00 per search;
National Criminal, Sex Offender and Federal Criminal Combo - $15.00 per search.

Virtual Dating?

Additionally, Getogethersafe.com is in the process of developing a "Virtual Dating" arena, which will allow clients the ability to have their first date, online. During these 'virtual dates,' GTS clients will be able to download legally streamed videos. They'll also be able to use their own IM (instant messenger), so they can communicate with each other. This will allow the clients to know how a potential partner might act on a real date. As well, subscribers will be able to listen to new music, provided by new artists, and they'll even be able to vote for their favorites. In addition, free and shareware software will be provided for download, on the site.

The GTS website also links to a complete restaurant guide, which allows clients to search for restaurants, by town and state. Services and products are being added to the site daily, and each should enhance the lives of their subscribers, even after they meet - which means the clients will be more inclined to return to the site, continually.

Named Scammers and Additional Capabilities

To solve some of the other problems, GTS added search capabilities to the email area, so clients could search through their own messages for that long lost phone number, or any other word they might wish to locate in someone's email. Animated Smilies are available in the chat client. Getogethersafe.com is also working on making auditory smilies available for the email area. GTS clients can even check to see if the recipient read their messages and when, or if, that message was deleted.

The chat program was another problem area, until their programmer came up with another great idea. Their chat program actually allows you to make your own private rooms. No one can make contact without an invitation from you - instant privacy.

A forum was also added, to allow clients to warn each other of certain questionable individuals. Even safety areas were linked to the site. These safety areas allow clients to research how and what to look for and naturally, what to avoid, when attempting to find a potential mate, online. GTS also linked to several other sites that actually list names and emails, of those who have already scammed others.

Getogethersafe.com plans to become the top-dating site on the Internet and they're going out of their way to achieve this. They're aware the dating industry is growing at a very fast pace, and the potential for harm is increasing, daily. They're getting ready to take their place, in the online dating industry, as the most innovative dating site on the Internet and they're taking their clients' safety very seriously, indeed.

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