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HOT TAGS: To Begin Screening For Sex Offenders

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If you've been toying with the idea of joining, hang on. Try the site again in three months, by which time it will be screening for sex offenders.

That's right -- the company has been around since 1993, and was purchased by IAC in 1999, and it's only getting around to sex offender checks now. announced its plans to start filtering out potentially dangerous members over the weekend, following word last week that a California woman was suing the company after she was assaulted by a man she met online. Had the company demanded a background check and cross-referenced its members with a database of sex offenders, the woman's assaulted could have been prevented.

According to the NY Daily News, "the woman was allegedly raped in her home by Alan Paul Wurtzel after the two went on their second date at a café in West Hollywood last year. She said after the date he followed her home and forced himself on her ...
Wurtzel was previously charged with two felony sexual assault counts in Los Angeles last year. He pleaded not guilty, and the case's next court date is April 26."

The woman's attorney described his client as an entertainment executive.

This weekend Mandy Ginsberg, president of, sent the Associated Press an email saying that the company had discussed sex offender screenings in the past, but “their historical unreliability has always led us to conclude against it.

“We’ve been advised that a combination of improved technology and an improved database now enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to move forward with this initiative, despite its continued imperfection," said Ginsberg.

Seriously? The old reasoning was that the technology wasn't good enough, so why bother? And it took outside experts to let the cutting-edge tech company know that a reliable database could be created?

Let's look at the company's first initial response to the law suit, as reported in the NY Daily News:

Robert Platt, an attorney for said the company is not responsible and shouldn't be expected to screen all its users.

"Then you'd have to ask for people's social security numbers, which they don't want to do. And of course you'd have to pass on the cost to the consumer of doing this," he said.

Platt pointed to a stipulation on the website saying the company is not liable for such situations.

"It lets people know that they're not providing this service and people use it at their own risk," said Platt.

In other words, risk is cheaper, which is ultimately better for shareholders. is owned by IAC, which also runs and OKCupid.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.