Community Monitoring: The Dating DNA Community Decides Who to Reject

April 10, 2009

Some of you may be familiar with some of the early controversy with eHarmony’s acceptance practices.  eHarmony didn’t let just anyone join their site, and they “rejected” a good number of applicants.  Match.com jumped on this to poke fun at eHarmony with a series of commercials.  Many spoofs cropped up on YouTube about eHarmony’s policy of rejecting users.

I always thought it was a mistake for Match.com to poke fun at eHarmony for rejecting users. All this did was promote eHarmony and the fact that they didn’t let every weirdo on their site.  How is that a bad thing?  (Unless, of course, you’re a weirdo. =)  Match.com was PAYING to tell the world that eHarmony users were a cut above, since they weeded out all the nuts who Match.com welcomed in.  Something tells me eHarmony was grateful for the free advertising.

See this YouTube spoof to see what I’m talking about:


Anyone who has had ANY social interaction on the Internet knows there are some crazy people on the Internet. Fakes, frauds, spammers, porno peddlers, perverts, and just plane loons.  This is why I support eHarmony in their efforts to keep these people from their site.  The challenge for eHarmony, however, is that they have to play judge and jury as to who to boot and who to let in.  That’s a pretty heavy job for any one person or organization, and you have to spend time defending your decisions.

At Dating DNA, we too believe not just anyone should be part of our community here, but WE (employees at Dating DNA) have no desire to play judge and jury with who stays and who goes, so here at Dating DNA we let our community decide who to “reject.”

Throughout the website, we make it easy to “report” a user. For example, anytime you receive an email from a user, we provide a convenient link to quickly, with just a click or two, report the user for any number of reasons.  If enough users report the same user they are automatically deleted and sent the following email:

Subject:  Account Deleted

Your Dating DNA account has been automatically deleted based on feedback from the Dating DNA community.  Also, any messages you had sent have been deleted from the inbox of those you emailed.

The Dating DNA system allows users to flag others if they feel they are behaving in some inappropriate, offensive, fraudulent, or off-putting manner.  If enough users report the same user, the system automatically deletes that user’s account.

Users will report other users for any number of reasons, including things such as:

– Using profanity or offensive language in profiles, emails or on the Forums (The site and Forums are “G” rated)
– Posting nude, suggestive or offensive photos (Photos must be “G” rated)
– Posting a fake photo that’s not really you
– Indiscriminately emailing users who live in other countries or far away
– “Cheesy” of vulgar come-on lines, or over familiarity with people you’ve just met on the system
– Being under the age of 18
– Suspected fraud or scam
– Using the site to sell products or services
– Posting personal information, phone numbers, etc. on the Forums.
– Rude comments or behavior
– Or just plain creeping someone out

Regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is that you, in some way, offended enough of our users that your account has been deleted.

Because we are a free site, we are quick to allow the community to remove users who they find off putting.  We let our community decide who fits in and who doesn’t.

Dating DNA

It may seem harsh that we just automatically let the community delete users, without any warning or probation.  Yes, it IS harsh, but we have zero tolerance for people who try to disrupt our community. There are plenty of other places on the Internet for those who want to pull all the nonsense listed above.  Our requirements to be accepted here are pretty simple and straight forward:  be respectful, real and keep it clean, stuff anyone should have learned by 1st grade.  I think it’s a good thing for Dating DNA users to know that if they go around offending others in the community, that their account will automatically be deleted, along with their answers to the questionnaire, their Friends List, and all their emails.

I would encourage you to please report users who you feel have crossed the line.  You won’t be able to toss them on your own, it will take other users reporting the same person, but where there’s smoke there’s fire, so please add to a user’s black checks if you find them behaving inappropriately.  I think Dating DNA has done a good job of keeping our community free from the less desirable elements, by nipping them in the bud early and quickly.  Your help to continue to do that is appreciated.  This is YOUR site, so please help us keep it a comfortable place to spend time.

Oh, and Match.com, if you want to spend millions promoting the fact that Dating DNA rejects users, we’d welcome the help!

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)

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Video Tutorials for Dating DNA

November 23, 2008

I put together a few short video tutorials to help uses quickly see how the site works. By investing just a few minutes, it will bring you right up to speed on the most important aspects of the site.

You can find the tutorials here.

Quickly Learn How Dating DNA Works with Video Tutorials

Quickly Learn How Dating DNA Works with Video Tutorials

You will find tutorials for the following five topics:

Basic Layout | Home Tab | Matches | Friends List | iPhone App

The iPhone App is being submitted to the App Store this week, and will be available soon, but you can take a sneak peek at it in these tutorials.  =)

As always, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts about the new video feature and hope you’ll discuss it with me and other users on the Chat Walls here.

Thanks,

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)



Adding Video to your Dating DNA Profile

October 10, 2008

When it comes to online dating, if a “picture is worth a thousand words,” then a video is worth a million.

Today, digital video cameras and web cams have made it extremely easy for anyone to quickly and easily create videos.  The phenomenal success of YouTube (currently the 3rd most popular website globally, behind only Yahoo! and Google) is evidence of the popularity of video in today’s culture.

For online dating, a video goes well beyond photographs in getting to know someone.  It can let you see someone’s personal style and demeanor and hear their voice.  Watching someone on video could save you a lot of uncomfortable hour-long coffee meetings with people who simply aren’t your cup of tea (pun intended ;-).

This week, Dating DNA started allowing you to quickly and easily attach videos to your profile.

Here is what watching a video of a Dating DNA user looks like on the site (click to play below video):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There are three simple steps for adding video to your Dating DNA profile:

1. Make a video (if you don’t already have one).

There are lots of ways to capture your video, either with a digital camera or using a web cam with software or the “Quick Capture” feature of YouTube.  Just start recording and say hello.  The video doesn’t need to be long, just enough to give people a sense of what you’re like.  Maybe tell us about your hobbies, show us around your home, let us meet your dog, just anything that let’s us see and hear YOU!  (NOTE:  If you don’t have a video yet, but you still want to try attaching video to your profile, just use one of your favorite YouTube videos to give people a sense about you.  For example, I attached this video to my profile as it’s one of my favorite movies.)

2. Upload your video to YouTube or another video hosting site.

YouTube is free and is the most popular site for hosting videos.  It’s easy to use and has lots of features that work well with the Dating DNA site.  There are also lots of good tutorial videos on YouTube that show you how to create and upload videos to YouTube, like this one.

3. Attach your video to your Dating DNA profile.

Once you have a video you want to share, you then cut and paste the “embed” code from the video hosting site to your Dating DNA profile.  This video shows you exactly how to do that (click to play below video or click here to view larger version):

Vodpod videos no longer available.


POWER USER TIP: If you embed a YouTube video and want it to automatically start playing when someone clicks on the video link from your profile, simply add &autoplay=1 just inside the quotation mark before type=” as shown in this example:

Dating DNA should support embedding from most video sites, but if you can’t get it to work, you can simply save a link to the video instead of embedding it.

Next week I’ll be announcing a fun contest for users who add the best videos to their profile.  So, get those videos started!

As always, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts about the new video feature and hope you’ll discuss it with me and other users on the Chat Walls here.

Thanks,

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)


Using Browse: “Yes, No, Maybe So” (Find and Filter—Part II)

August 21, 2008

A few weeks ago I did a blog entitled “Find and Filter” — The Heart of Online Dating.  In that blog I explained the process of every online dating site, and their two major goals:  1) FIND–have the largest database possible of potential dating partners, and 2) FILTER–have a system to sort through that large database to find the best matches for you.

Below is the graph that I used in that blog.  The part in blue is what a dating sites helps you with, and then you take over by actually meeting, dating, and then selecting who to enter into a relationship with.

In today’s blog, I want to explain in more detail the blue area, and how Dating DNA works to help you find and filter potential dating partners.  So, let’s start by looking a little more closely at that blue area and see what the find and filter process looks like at Dating DNA:

Dating DNA starts by using compatibility scores to filter out most users, and then presenting you with possible matches in your Browse results.  This is where you step in and have to help with the evaluation process.

Using Browse Results – “Yes, No, Maybe So”

One at a time, look at the individuals in your Browse results and ask yourself if you have interest in that person.

YES — If the answer is Yes, then you should add this person to your DNA Strand. When you do this, several things happen.  1) The user is removed from your Browse results and placed into your DNA Strand, so you can quickly find those individuals you’re most interested in.  2) The system automatically adds you to that person’s DNA Strand as well, and 3) An email is sent to the other user, letting them know you have added them to your strand.  This is the very first step in the “getting to know you” process.  You’re basically saying to that person, “Hi!  I have some interest in getting to know you better.” Once in your strand, you can send them emails and start communicating with them directly.

NO — If, however, you know this is someone you’re not interested in, you can click the Remove button and they will be removed from future Browses.  This is a great feature of Dating DNA that you don’t find on most other sites.  This has two big advantages:  1) You don’t have to keep reviewing the same people over and over again that you know you’re not interested in, and 2) not only does the system remove that person from your Browse results, BUT it also REMOVES YOU from THEIR Browse results. The logic here is if you’re not interested in someone, then there is no point in having the other person be bothered with wondering if they are interested in you.  So, when you remove people from your Browse results, not only does it save YOU time, but it saves time for the person you remove as well.

MAYBE SO — If you’re not quite sure yet if you’re interested or not, then you can simply leave the person in your Browse results for the time being.  For example, perhaps they haven’t uploaded a photo yet so you don’t want to rule them out, but you don’t want to add them to your strand either.

So, that’s the simple process of filtering users from your Browse results.  You can then start communicating with those in your DNA Strand.  In a future blog I’ll talk more about the DNA Strand and how to further use that as a tool in the filtering process.

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts about this blog, and hope you’ll discuss it with me and other users on the Chat Walls here.

Thanks,

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)


9 Tips for “Newbies” at Dating DNA

August 13, 2008

I received the following email from one of our users:

Hey Kevin,

I happened to notice that you are instrumental in this site being here. I was wondering, what advice do you have for someone who is new to this like me? What ways can someone make their profile stand out? Thank you in advance for taking your time out to read this message!

-Mandi 🙂

Rather than just answer Mandi’s question to her, I thought it was good enough to answer it in our blog so everyone could perhaps benefit.

First off, it’s important to note that all of Dating DNA’s users are pretty “new,” since the site is quite new.  This is our biggest challenge, as it would be for any “dating” site or service—to get enough users in the database to create critical mass with lots of people using the system.  The more people with Dating DNA Numbers, the greater chance of finding people you’re compatible with, so spread the word!

That being said, here are nine “tips” for new users wishing to get more responses:

1. Have a Photo!

This is a MUST if you want other compatible users on the site to find and contact you.  Users with at least one photo in their profile are TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET RESPONSES than those who do not have a photo. If you’re only using the site to create Compatibility Scores with others from your social network pages, this will be less important, BUT if you want to be contacted by other compatible Dating DNA users from the site, the more photos you have, the more responses you can expect.  Use photos that are clear and show a good representation of yourself.

2. Post Your DNA Number Everywhere.

Visit the “Tell Others” page to see how to add our widgets, buttons and applications to your postings and pages on other sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Craigslist, etc.  Not only is this a great way for you to find more matches, but it helps the site grow (thanks!).

3. Login Regularly.

Browse results are usually sorted by the date people last logged in.  We do this in order to push those who rarely log in to the back of the line.  Therefore, the more often you visit the site, the higher up you will appear in Browse results.

4. Check Your Browse Often.

Why wait to be contacted?  Why not use Browse to find those you’re compatible with and contacted them?  Browse will show you everyone for whom you match their Compatibility Threshold.  Because new users sign up daily, you should check your Browse results on a regular basis to see who’s new to the site.  As pointed out, new and recently logged in users will appear at the top of your Browse results, so it’s easy to spot new users.

5. “Yes, No, Maybe So” — Understand how Browse and your DNA Strand Work.

The best way to think of other users on the Dating DNA site is in terms of 1) Yes–you are interested, 2) No–You’re Not Interested, or 3) You’re not sure yet.  The way to do this is by looking at your Browse results and if you are interested in someone (“Yes”), add them to your DNA Strand, or better yet, send them an email as well.  If you know you’re NOT interested (“No”), you should remove them from your Browse results, so you don’t need to keep passing over them time and time again.  This also removes you from the other person’s Browse results, saving them time since the system now knows you’re not interested.  If you’re not sure yet (“Maybe So”), then you can leave them in Browse until you decide if you want to add or remove them.

6. Post on the Chat Walls.

When others are viewing the Chat Walls, they will see not only your photo, name, what you posted, etc., but also their compatibility score with you.  This can be a good way to stumble upon someone you’re compatible with, or to have them stumble upon you.  The more active you are on the Chat Walls, the higher chance someone will spot you there.

7. Review Your Answers to the Questionnaire.

As you know, it can take a little time to answer all of the questionnaire to get a Dating DNA Number.  Sometimes people will rush through that process, anxious to get their number.  Now that you’re a little more comfortable with the system, how the questionnaire works, etc., it can be a good idea to go back and review your answers.  The more finely tuned your answers are, the more accurate your compatibility score and matches will be.

8.  Adjust your Threshold.

Remember, the higher your Compatibility Threshold is, the fewer people you will be shown to in other’s Browse results.  If you want to get more responses, we’d suggest setting your Threshold no higher than 6.0.

9. Make Sure Your Preferences Are Set Properly

To make sure you’re appearing in other’s Browse results, login and click on the “Your Account” tab along the top of the page.  Then click on the “Preferences” button in the Account Control Panel.  Make sure the second question is set to “Yes, but ONLY if the user meets my Compatibility Threshold.”

If you have other ideas, I hope you’ll share them with us and other users on the Chat Walls.

Thanks,

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)


Zero Tolerance for Perverts, Fibbers, Fakes, Spammers, and Scammers

June 28, 2008

I am always amazed at how many people try to use the anonymity of the Internet as a means of deceit.  On a dating site, these “frauds” will send out 100 emails for every 1 sent out by a “real” user.  This means, that if even only 1% of a dating site’s users are frauds, 1 out of every 2 emails you get will be junk!  If not kept in check, these frauds will overrun a dating site, quickly rendering it completely unusable by real users.

For this reason, here at Dating DNA, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for Perverts, Fibbers, Fakes, Spammers, and Scammers.

What are each of these groups?

Perverts – These are individuals who aren’t really here to meet anyone compatible for dating or relationships, but rather to get their thrills with casual “hook ups,” nude or suggestive photos and/or obscene messages to others.  There are already a million sites like this on the Internet.  Dating DNA is NOT for this group.

Fibbers – These are individuals who embellish their profiles so you’ll be interested in them, in the hope that one day they can meet you in person, and THEN convince you what they lied about doesn’t really matter.  Typical examples of this are lying about one’s: marital status, age, weight, profession, income, living situation, and so on.  At Dating DNA we believe there is someone out there for everyone, and if you’re simply honest about your situation, you’ll find your compatible match.

Fakes – These are sociopaths who create completely fake profiles to engage others in some Internet-only fantasy creation of theirs, with no intention of ever meeting you in person.  This is the 50-year old man who pretends to be the 21-year old woman.  It’s a strange phenomena that only a psychologist could truly understand, but I’m always amazed at how many of these sociopaths there are on the Internet.

Spammers – These are those who just join to “mine” for your personal email address so they can flood your inbox with junk mail for Viagra and home mortgages, or worse, viruses to infect your computer.

Scammers – The most dangerous of the lot, this group is after your personal information to drain your bank account, steal your identity, and use your credit cards.  They may do this by trying to plant spy ware on your computer, or more elaborate schemes to win your confidence over until you start providing the necessary personal information for them to take advantage of you financially.  Scammers may also ask you to send them money (maybe for a flight ticket to come visit you, etc.), or facilitate in the transfer of money or products.

Wow, sounds scary!  Maybe I shouldn’t meet people online?

It’s only scary if you and the site you’re on aren’t careful.  However, if we work together, these frauds will go away and find a home elsewhere.

What does Dating DNA do to keep the frauds off the site?

As I mentioned, here at Dating DNA, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for Perverts, Fibbers, Fakes, Spammers, and Scammers.  We loathe and despise them, and work hard to keep them far, far away from our site.  This can be particularly challenging because we are a free site, so it costs the frauds nothing to use our site for their deceitful acts.  The good news, however, is because our site is free, this also allows us to hit the delete key on an account without a second’s thought.  If we suspect someone of inappropriate behavior on our site, their account is immediately closed. Paid sites have to do all sorts of “investigations,” since they took your money.  Not us.  If you cross the line here, we delete your account.  Period.  We don’t want the 1% of frauds to ruin it for the 99% of honest singles using the site.  If we suspect there is financial fraud involved, we also report them to the appropriate government and policing agencies. So, Perverts, Fibbers, Fakes, Spammers, and Scammers should be put on notice:  Dating DNA is NOT fertile ground for your practices. You will simply waste a lot of time creating a profile and sending out emails, just to have your profile and emails deleted.

Dating DNA has a very sophisticated system of early detection for frauds.  Most won’t get even a few emails out before their account is closed.  We’re constantly improving our system, and you can help…

What can you do to protect yourself?

As good as our system is, you could still get one of the few emails that sneaks through from a fraud.  There are six things you can do to help protect yourself, and help us keep the site fraud-clean:

1. Don’t give out your personal email address to anyone on the site until after you are very confident they are legit. Most frauds will give you their email address very early in the process, and encourage you to contact them there.  They do this because if you email them, they now have your email address and can start contacting you directly.  Dating DNA has a very good messaging system that protects your privacy, is easy to use, keeps a great history of your conversations, etc., so there is no reason to give someone your email address early on.

2. NEVER give out personal information to someone that could be used to gain access to your financial accounts (passwords, social security numbers, home address, date of birth, etc.).

3. NEVER send money to anyone. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to fall pray to the fake photo of a beautiful person who wants to fly to come visit you, but they say they need you to just help them pay for the ticket.  There is absolutely NO good reason to ever send money or goods to someone you don’t know.

4. Report anyone you even remotely suspect of being a fibber, fake, spammer, or scammer. There is a “Report” button just above new messages you receive.  If you get a message that sounds a little fishy, click the Report button and let us know.  We’ll investigate and remove the user if necessary.  Your help in reporting frauds will help keep the site clean of these annoying accounts.

5. Trust your instincts.  If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. If you’re a 50 year old man, and a gorgeous 20 year old girl living thousands of miles away is falling all over you, telling you how special you are, it just might be an overseas male scammer looking to take advantage of you.

6. Look for evidence that the person is for real. Does their profile have links to MySpace, Facebook, or other social networking pages with lots of their photos, friends, etc.?  Have they posted videos of themselves?  Will they let you have a live video chat with them?  A video call is a great way to verify that people are in fact who they say they are.  Skype and other free video call services are easy to install and use.

In conclusion…

The Internet is a great place to find an apartment, buy a car, find a job, sell your house…it SHOULD be just as great of a place to meet someone to date, and it can be, if we work together to keep the frauds off our site!

Thanks,

Kevin Carmony
Founder, Dating DNA
DNA# 123-456-789
(I intentionally keep my Threshold set at 1, so feel free to
add me to your strand and shoot me an email anytime.)