Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Dating Site Tries To Force Laws To Hurt The Competition

from the lobbying-as-competitive-effort dept

It's not just large telcos or the entertainment industry that lobby the government to create laws that favor their business models. Apparently, small startups can get away with it as well. There's an online dating site whose main differentiating point is that they conduct criminal background checks on all members. This has gotten them some attention in the past -- mainly for the novelty of it (and the amusement of their ads that seemed to suggest you're likely to end up with a felon at any other dating site). However, the company has now taken things one giant step further and has convinced some state governments to offer legislation that would force all "social referral services" to put a large warning at the top of every person's page and any email saying: "WARNING: WE HAVE NOT CONDUCTED A FELONY-CONVICTION SEARCH OR FBI SEARCH ON THIS INDIVIDUAL." Considering the statement (in at least 12-point type) shows up on the top of the page, it's likely to scare a few people. Meanwhile, as the article points out, the site starting all this up isn't particularly foolproof in their background checks. All a felon needs to do to get around the check is (you guessed it) use a fake name. Of course, the silly part is that should this go through, all of the larger competitors to this dating site would likely add the background checks -- taking away this company's one tiny differentiating point.

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