Thursday, October 05, 2006


by Dave Evans

Mark Brooks over at onlinepersonalswatch thinks liars are hurting not only themselves but also the online dating industry.

Lies are always good for the short term and bad for the long term. Singles need to hold themselves to a higher standard of integrity. I advise anyone who goes on a date and finds themselves in front of a liar to immediately excuse themselves from that date. "Sorry, I'm not comfortable continuing with this date because you lied to me. It was a pleasure meeting you however. Thanks, bye."

Can you imagine if people did this? Bars and coffee houses around the nation would be littered with overturned chairs by people leaving in a huff.

Approximately 35 million people have tried online dating in the US. Taking various reports (research and anecdotal) into account, about a third of them are lying through their teeth, a big reason why online dating is foundering against the shoals of social networking.

One would think people paying for dating sites would be more truthful, such is not the case.

This is the primary reason why social networks can be more effective than dating sites to meet people. People tend to be more honest about themselves on social networks.

Here's what I think is going to happen. Dating sites will drag their feet until they are forced to offer background checks. In the meantime, the spammers, scammers and wackos are migrating to social networking sites. Because Myspace is owned by a global conglomerate which must squeeze as much revenue as possible before fickle kids move on to the next big thing, they will adopt privacy standards, terms of service and security measures far beyond anything the dating industry is willing to implement at this time.

Interesting that a romance coach is the only commenter who used the word trust. I'd rather see people argue the merits of establishing trust as opposed to approaching the issue from the white lie perspective.

A background check may keep you from having coffee with an ex-con, but hardly make people more honest. Background check companies (clients of mine), have been working to develop a value proposition that appeals to dating sites as a win-win situation.

Dating sites want to see the money, they are not interested in increasing the level of trust and the overall quality of members on their site. This somewhat myopic yet understandable perspective will gradually shift as dating sites begin to take into consideration the quality and reputation of their members. Especially when it comes time to be acquired.

As I have stated often, the dating industry need to establish a set of common trust protocols, sharable across different sites. Several companies are close to coming up with various solutions which all sites can use. These are not the typical rateadate sites currently vying for people's attention. Rating sites, while fun to peruse, don't have the traction, features or reliability to be truly useful, although progress is being made.

Not many daters take advantage of profile services or romance coaches and they certainly don't take advice from dating columns on dating sites or newspapers. These are reliable source of information, and pieces of the trust puzzle, but the complete solution continues to allude the industry as a whole.


No comments: