Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Online Dating Story Du Jour

So yesterday was the day that everyone wrote about .com’s new screening policy: Starting soon, they’ll be checking their users against the sex offender registry. So not so much du jour as d’hier.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see this as a huge deal. I’m not going to feel any safer knowing that all of Match’s millions of members have been cross-checked and that they’ve tossed out the sex-offenders (which is, I assume, what they’re planning to do).  I won’t date any differently.

I mean, I assume there are a few criminals lurking in the datapool, and that most-likely, some of them have never been caught.  And I date accordingly.

1) The email address I use for my communications is not connected to my name and/or business in any way. I am untraceable until I choose to be traced.

2) I do not give out my last name or phone number to everyone who asks. I am very picky about who gets complete access to me.

3)  I do not connect with dates via or twitter right away.

4) I use an online dating username that is unique, not the same as my username on any other site(s).

5) I always meet first/second dates in public places.

Will doing all of these things guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to me on a date?  Nope. But I am reducing my exposure to harm and making it really hard for a man to get more access to me/my life than I’m comfortable with.

Which touches on my issue with the screening thing. My concern is that there might be people who suddenly assume they’re safe and let their guard down. Which would be the wrong assumption. There are bad people in this world. Bad things happen. That’s a fact.

Anyway, I felt like I had to write something about this.. being that it was everywhere.  I’d love to know what other people think of this. Will this move make you feel safer?  Do you think other companies should similarly screen?  Would it affect your choice of an online dating provider?

For more on this topic:

Sex Offender Screening on Dating Sites is Messy – But it Needs to Happen; Gizmondo
Match Sex Offender Check: Online Dating Site to Check Users Against Registry; Huffpo bans sex offenders – feel safe now?; Salon

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17 to “Online Dating Story Du Jour”

  1. Jessica says:

    We are so on the same page because this whole thing made me think as well (and I am planning on posting about it later today or tomorrow). Not to give away too much before I actually post on it. But, yeah, I don’t see it as all that big of a deal either.
    Jessica recently posted..Infographic from Matchcom- The real cost of datingMy Profile

  2. Ross Felix says:

    Great piece — and follows my thoughts exactly.

    What’s one of the first lessons women learn in college from their sorority or friends — never leave your drink alone. The same is true with online dating, or even when meeting someone through an event, a bar or friends. Be on your guard. All of the scanning and such aren’t going to help much if you aren’t at least somewhat cautious.

    And I agree — while many will and should welcome sites doing some sort of check, more people will get into troubles if they assume that because the checks were done, their date is safe.

    If I had to look into the future there’s going to be another lawsuit leveled against one of the sites — you did your check, and I got assaulted — and it’s YOUR fault.

    My heart truly goes out to anyone who’s experienced any sort of pain, harm or emotional torture at the hands of someone they met online, but this type of screening is not the full answer, it’s merely the start of an idea as to how to improve things.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks. The thing is, and I know you know this, meeting and dating someone from an online dating site is in no way safer or less safe than meeting someone at the library. Or in a bar. Or in a class. People don’t walk around, in real life, with signs that say, “I’m a sexual predator.”

      As long as we’re meeting new people, some of those new people are going to be potential harmful.

  3. Jolene says:

    Agree with you…a good measure but doesn’t really change how I’d feel safe-wise. It’s about common sense and being careful, all the way around.
    Jolene recently posted..Raging against perspectiveMy Profile

  4. I completely agree with you on this. While I think Match is trying to be helpful I don’t feel that it will in any way make me feel safer when it comes to dating. In my over analytical mind I see many ways for a true sexual predator to circumvent this new safety hatch and can only imagine how many predators out there have yet to be caught. I think it still boils down to common sense and the basic safety precautions one should take when meeting somebody from the internet.
    Miss Melisa Mae recently posted..When Teenagers and Sexual Curiosity Collide with TechnologyMy Profile

  5. Queen Esther says:

    Think about it this way. If you are able to conceal your true identity,until you desire otherwise, wouldn’t others be able to do the same on those dating sites? Quite a few of those people create anonymous profiles, so how will idenitfy those people in order to screen them properly? Just a thought!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well, the way I understand it, Match will be using the names on the credit cards used to pay for the account. Which is the one thing that is relatively “real” for all of us. Doesn’t make me feel any safer, though.

  6. Ross Felix says:


    Match used to advertise that they had 15 million members. As per Match’s recent financials, they only had about 1.8 million paid members. That means that give or take, 13.2 million members don’t have credit cards on file with them. For example, Match gave out 60,000 free accounts for life in 1995 when they launched the site. They don’t have credit cards for those people. They also don’t have any credit cards for people who signed up because “It’s ok to look.”

    Mind you, these non-paying members can’t typically send or receive emails. But some of those slip through the cracks too. (i.e. slipping their email address into their profile).

    The point is, step 1: You need a site with one tier of paid membership. Only then is it cost effective to run checks on everyone. That would also mean that everyone’s using their own credit card — no one’s trying identity theft.
    Step 2: You need a better way to scan for more than just sex offenders…

    I think that there’s a far far better way to do this. If I could just get some funding I could make it happen.

  7. Charlotte says:

    Great post, Simone. I agree… These safety measures don’t make me feel any more or any less safe, but I also believe it’s always a matter of practicing common sense. I imagine there are going to be many loopholes in this system.
    Charlotte recently posted..guest post- mr right now- not mr foreverMy Profile

  8. Yvie says:

    Great online dating tips!

    I came across an article about a woman who was almost killed by the a guy she met on Match. I think it was somewhere in Arizona (or something like that). They also thought he’d murdered another woman he met through the site months before who’d also broken up with him.

    Guess this type of thing happens often, which is a little scary since I’m already paranoid as hell!

    It’s a decent attempt on Match’s part, but I don’t think it will stop the crazies from joining the site.
    Yvie recently posted..The Booty Call- The Not-So-Sexy SideMy Profile

  9. You nailed it. I was going to write something similar. I am so nervous that people will have a false sense of security with this change at You can never be too careful and I always tell people to assume nothing, do not let your guard down and be smart. My rule is at least 3 dates in public and I always have an escape plan. Anything can happen but only you can protect you. Great post! -SG
    Weight Loss & The Single Girl recently posted..Touch MeMy Profile

  10. Jerrard says:

    Ha this is so true. That whole thing with “throwing out sex offenders” isn’t gonna help at all. Sex offenders pop outta the blue all the time. I honestly don’t think anyone who has any sense would get piece of mind from this statement -_-
    The steps you take when dating is the best way to go. I agree with them completely (although I normally go on blind dates with people from facebook, being a horny bi 18 yr old will make you do those stuff xD)
    First time I’m reading your blog and I love it so far. I just had to add you to my blog list. Looking forward to more great posts.
    Jerrard recently posted..The Fated EncounterMy Profile

  11. This is very important details that a lot of us don’t consider while dating online. I met one crazy guy on a dating website (I won’t mention any names) and he used to locate me using my email address and facebook profile. I read a lot of posts on various tips for dating, but this issue might be the most important one.

  12. jessica says:

    in economics–they call this “moral hazard”–having the screen creates a false sense of confidence..

    Simone—what are your thoughts on getting paid to go on a practice date with someone?..i mean..both sides basically don’t expect the practice date to go anywhere..but hey it gives the guy something fun to look forward to for the weekend..and get some dating experience under his belt…and as a girl, i wouldn’t mind getting paid for my time

    what do you think? might be worth a blog entry on this topic..i’m trying to get into this site called –it’s invite only though—that’s where i heard of this concept..