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What's the Best Way to Find Love Using Tech?

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intelius logoDating-focused startups are being lauded by both VCs and bloggers alike these days. At the DEMO conference this week, startups Intelius and Gelato showcased dating-focused products that are intended to equip love seekers with tools to vet potential matches based on their online reputations. Earlier this month, fbFund startup Thread raised $1.2 million in funding for its site that uses Facebook Connect to help people find potential love matches. Thread users can search through a list of their Facebook friends’ single peers. But the concept behind these startups’ offerings assume that people’s online reputation translate into real life. As we saw in the case of “_why,” an influential Ruby programmer, writer and cartoonist who disappeared from the web without a trace, it’s possible to be a well-known online presence without people knowing your true self. So how useful will these dating products really be, and which offering will pan out best for people to weed out bad dating matches?

gelato_logo_with_sloganGelato has been compared to a dating-focused version of FriendFeed since it streams your latest web activity, such as the latest song you listened to on or the last tweet you posted, and uses that information to create a profile for you. It runs on a points-based system that rates how credible your profile is based on whether the information listed in your social network profiles line up. Intelius’ Date Check mobile app for the iPhone, on the other hand, can compile a report on a potential suitor by scouring publicly available records. The startup claims the app can show whether a future date has gotten a DUI or been convicted of drug possession or sexual assault. Yet having a mobile private investigator on hand may raise some privacy concerns. So will Intelius’ public records database trump Gelato’s reliance on people’s virtual personas? At the end of the day, it comes down to which service will draw the largest audience.


Images courtesy of Intelius and Gelato.

6 Responses to “What's the Best Way to Find Love Using Tech?”

  1. Gelato is just too much!!! It invades privacy. I can’t imagine using gelato even though I have nothing to hide. I wasnt my profile to reveal enough information to help someone to know if we want to meet. It is the face-to-face meeting that tells you whether a relationship is a possibility. Who wants to do a background check on everyone they meet through online dating. What a waste of time and effort. Maybe it is my age that leads me to be against gelato, for I am in my 60s and I have dated women in their mid-fifties to upper-sixties and found no need to check into their criminal background.

    • Tony Sabbadini

      Gordon, I’m with you (and I’m 25). As technology keeps advancing my generation seems to lose a commensurate amount of humanity and basic social skills. I have no interest in such a technology as a user, let alone a target of someone else’s search. Gattica, here we come.

    • Gordon, If you actually tried the service you would see that you have complete control over what information is displayed and you can use an alias instead of your Facebok name. This is the kind of knee-jerk reaction that is way off the mark but completely understandable.

      That said, Gelato have some deeply troubling technology and privacy issues to deal with, but thats par for the course for a startup.

  2. I found the concept pretty interesting, I do feel that leveraging the facebook or twitter database to get users is a great way to expand business, especially the ones that use online profiles for users.
    However, I wonder how Gelato plansto cater to users who are either not on facebook/twitter account or are not interested in opening an account with Facebook/Twitter. Also, when startups link themselves with social network sites such as Facebook or Twitter, do these startups get the permission to use the twitter/facebook for free as it will only help facebook/twitter get more users or are these startups going to pay some kind of cut for using the database in facebook/twitter?