Why online dating sites don’t verify their users?

Getklex pointed me at a link about online dating in the east.

Online dating site OKCupid has found an inexplicable number of men happen to be exactly six feet tall and there are four times as many people who claim to earn $100,000 per year as there should be. False advertising, or misrepresentation, is standard in any marketplace; the dating market is no different.

While American dating sites have taken a laissez faire approach to lying, Asian dating sites have implemented serious measures to keep users honest.

China’s largest site, Jiayuan.com, ran into a huge PR problem in 2011 when a man swindled a woman he met on the site. This incident intensified Jiayuan’s more general reputational problems due to lying on its site. So Jiayuan developed a means for people to verify the claims they make on their profiles. Users can provide documents to the site, such as government-issued ID cards and paychecks, to back up their claims. Those willing to pay additional fees can have an in-person interview that gives a higher verification rating on the site.

Verification is one method of insuring who your about to contact is somewhat genuine. And its not just eastern dating sites which use it. There are a few paid dating sites which do verification and one or two other types of sites including AirBnB. Actually in AirBnB its a big advantage to have many pointers to your true and social identity including a verified ID.

Verification online dating sounds good, so why hasn’t happened?

Simple answer…. Greed!

The third explanation, which I think is probably most important, is driven by the economics of the online dating business. Dating sites (and, for that matter, other online markets) are largely a fixed cost business. A company has to design the site, the user interface, and the matching algorithm. Though a site needs to add more servers as it grows, scaling is a relatively easy and low cost proposition if customers start arriving in large numbers. But verifying individual users’ height, income, education, and the like has to be done customer-by-customer. Verification kills the scalability of a dating site.

Its too costly and only the serious ones who can afford to do verification. This means your skinnychristianmodeldating.com derivative won’t have the resources to do this. But more importantly from there point of view why should they? Oh sorry did you think the site was on your side? Oh sweet how naive you are… As many say, you are the product. They couldn’t care and why should they? Even the Eastern sites have done it under PR pressure. Maybe the rising tide of complaints will do the same in the west?

It can be as simple as Paypal’s take one penny from a credit card?

I like the idea because even on my dating profile I have a link to my personal blogging (maybe one of the reasons why I don’t get as many visitors as I use?) This for me proves I am real, the pictures are real and you can get a better sense this person your connecting with is real. In the face of catfishing and scammers, this has to be a good thing right?

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

1 thought on “Why online dating sites don’t verify their users?”

  1. You are right. Most good looking women can find sex anywhere without going to a dating site, but have you seen the men on those sites? Most of them are not exactly Don Juans. Most of them are a bunch of creeps and nerds, and no woman in her right mind would want to date them anyway! I wouldn’t say that all the women on some dating sites are good looking. Some of the women on Friendfinder look like grannies. I don’t know why that is. Maybe they want to add some realism. Everybody knows that every women who joins a dating site is not good looking. You would think that they would want to date anyone, but I couldn’t even get a response from the old women. That is the reason I am fed up with all the dating sites.

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