For those of you who are dating online — and I know there are many of you — you probably know how it feels when you meet a potential date in person and they don’t quite look like the picture. Often they are:
- Older in person (i.e. they posted an old photo)
- Heavier in person (they posted a photo from when they were thinner)
- Less attractive in person (they posted a photo that’s over-glamorized or otherwise not a realistic portrayal of them)
I know. It gets old, dealing with these deceptive people. Time and time again I encourage people to be honest in their pics and profiles. They’re going to find out the truth anyway! And when they do, they will only see you as, at best, insecure about yourself, and at worst, delusional. I say, have some damned pride in yourself and accept that you aren’t perfect. But, alas, not everyone listens to my sage advice.
Less commonly, but even more importantly, a person’s online dating profile pic may not only be outdated or unrealistic, it can be someone else entirely. Yes, online dating sites do have users who post photos of other people. The photos are usually ripped off from Facebook or somewhere else where photos are easy to steal. These are people looking to do “research” (“Look at how many more messages I received when I posted a picture of a better looking person!!”), to catfish or trick other people (“Look at the relationships I can build when I pretend to be someone else!”), or to attempt to defraud them (“Hey, I love you and I need $1000 to come visit you!”). Sometime, for fun, check your Facebook messages (the “other” folder); it’s probably filled with these. Mine has a series pics portraying all-American looking men in the great outdoors and often posing with a child, each telling me how lovely I am and that they’re looking to date. These are frauds. I wrote an entire article about spotting a fraud in online dating.
So… Zoosk, the online dating site, has come up with a way to deal with this problem, as discussed in a recent Wired article. Just as celebrities on Twitter can get their Twitter handle verified (most famous people have Twitter copycats using their name and image), online daters on Zoosk will be able to verify their pics and their photos will show a checkmark that says “verified.”
How will Zoosk do this? Users will submit their photo(s), then they’ll submit a video selfie showing themselves at a variety of angles. It’s up to Zoosk’s moderators to decide if the pic is a decent representation of the video. If it is, the pic is verified.
This is a new thing, and it will be interesting to see if it succeeds… and if other sites begin doing the same thing.
What do you think? Will it work? Would you verify, or look unfavorably upon someone who hasn’t? Can you think of any holes in this solution?