This week I met up with Shawn Broderick. Shawn and I met for a burrito a few years ago when he was launching TrustPlus. Since then he went on to run Tech Stars Boston. Tech Stars accepts a handful of startups every year, providing $18,000 in seed funding and an incredible amount of assistance and mentoring. Shawn left Tech Stars last year. Interestingly, Katie Rae is the Managing Director of the Boston program now. Katie used to work at Meetcha.
Then I learned about WeGoLook.com, which claims to help Avoid Online Dating Scams and Misrepresentation. WeGoLook.com is an online service that dispatches a real person (background check verified) to the location of the online dating match in order to check their ID, take current photos and video beginning at only $49 anywhere in the US. Obvious fit for Craigslist and eBay, wondering how singles would react to the service and the price point.
After that, I heard from Dave Gordon, who’s Tru.ly identity verification service launched a new home page. I’ll post about them soon. Suffice to say, that Tru.ly understands to the core what Trufina, Backgroundchecks, Honesty Online and all of the others failed to miss when it comes to identifying online daters. It looks very similar to its counterparts, but I’ve spoken at length with Dave and this is just the beginning.
But wait, things get even more interesting. Venessa Miemis writes in The Bank of Facebook: Currency, Identity, Reputation:
Every time you upload a photo, make a comment, add a friend, click a link, or make a purchase, that data is being harvested to create a map and a simulation of you….By analyzing even slices of this data, a wealth of information can be extracted and predicted about you. As a related example, Google vice-president Marissa Meyer was said to have claimed at this year’s SXSW festival that credit card companies can look at spending habits and predict with 98% accuracy, two years in advance, when a couple is going to divorce.
If the trend continues where logging in via your Facebook profile is the simple method for verification, some speculate this could lead to Facebook evolving to being an actual utility for identity.
Absolutely. What a fantastic article, which goes on to talk about reputation as currency, mentioning Klout and PeerIndex, which are social versions of akin to Don’t Date Him Girl and Date Raters and all the rest of the sites that attempt to provide off-site feedback about online singles. But much more comprehensive and useful; no bitch sessions about a jerk guy you went on a date, just machines parsing your social output and assigning you a score. I’ve been talking about Klout for dating sites for five years, and yet all I hear is crickets.
Klout takes your twitter feed and gives you a ranking from 1-100. They will surly add in other datastreams in the future. My personal twitter Klout is 27. @datinginsider is 33. I have work to do.
Venessa also works on The Future of Facebook Project, which is absolutely fascinating, just look who is involved.
Dating sites are going to have to step it up and embrace startups who are charging ahead with innovative social tools that rank, rate and bring people together. For every dollar that gets invested in dating sites a million seems to go to the next new hot social startup.
The dating industry is absolutely horrible at anything even resembling a partnership. It’s not wonder that the entrepreneurs are going social these days. Thats where the action and the innovation and the funding is. I wish this was not the case.
To make matters worse, at some point singles are going to get sick of the online dating status quo. In fact, the noise on the web about “going back to the bars” is louder than ever. While in no way representative of the entire industry, look at these stats. Granted seasonal and ad-spend influences color these graphs, but still, when you look at industry stats across the board, something is going on and its not good.