Beware of dating sites with big ambitions and no privacy restrictions

If you're planning to share your most intimate details with a dating site, be sure to bring (privacy) protection

Anyone who’s been around the Internet block a few times knows there are dating sites for people of every peccadillo and persuasion. There are sites for little people, tall people, stoners, farmers, prison inmates, Ayn Rand fans, and fangbangers (aka wannabe vampires). There are even dating sites for adults who like to parade around in Pampers. (Note to my wife: See? It could be a lot worse.)

Now there’s a site for men with a little extra south of the border. The name is 7orBetter, and the motto is “Take the guesswork out of dating.” Do I need to draw you a picture? I thought not.

I normally don’t

write about dating sites
, especially those on the seamier side of the street, but this one deserves special attention because it’s kind of a hoot. (There’s also a privacy angle here, so bear with me.)

I immediately signed up as both a man and a woman. The site actually vets your application to determine if you are worthy. Needless to say, it asks for some fairly intimate information, though as far as I can tell there is no way to verify one’s, err, credentials. (I also have to say, I think some of these guys are exaggerating just a tad. Otherwise, it’s like “Quick, call Guinness, I think we have a new world’s record” every five minutes.)

Well, they approved my application as a female, but not as a male. No, not for the reason you’re thinking. It’s most likely because my profile description was a bit too direct for their liking. It seems 7orBetter also requires its members to be well… spoken. It also doesn’t allow nude photos, any direct conversations about making the beast with two backs, offensive or vulgar language, or the use of terms such as “money slave,” “mistress,” or “goddess.”

They even have this disclaimer on the registration form:

Before you complete this form, please keep in mind that this is NOT a sex site, even though the site's purpose is to make sure our members are sexually and physically compatible.  This site is NOT for casual sexual hookups, threesomes or open marriages.  This site is meant for single women that are looking to date, but want to make sure the man is not lacking physically when it is time to be intimate.

Kind of prudish for a site that’s all about the angle of one’s dangle, don’t you think? 

Here’s the rub, so to speak. There is no privacy policy whatsoever for the site. All you get is a terms of service, which includes the following fascinating bits:

Any information posted on 7orbetter.com’s website must conform to reality and be accurate in its description and content, in both a literal and visual sense.

OK, no fibbing about you know what. Like that’s gonna stop anybody. And what is the difference between literal and visual, exactly?

All information must be verifiable and known to one individual other than you.

This one has me scratching my head. Are they going to ask for verification from your doctor? Significant other? Locker room buddy? Your mother?

Here’s the bit that should trouble anyone who cares about their personal privacy.

All information posted will be deemed as non confidential and non proprietary. We hold no obligations to such material, and are also free to copy, disclose, distribute and incorporate all text, sound and images for all global commercial and non commercial purposes. This pertains to, but not limited to all information gained from registered members through the process of the membership sign up e-mail to the company, and the public facilities and services provided on the web site.

OK, you signed up for the site to brag, or maybe to find someone worth bragging about. I get that. But do you really want this information buttered all over the Web? Dating sites don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to privacy, but this is easily the worst I’ve seen.

I asked a company spokesman what 7orBetter’s business model is, and he replied “advertising.” I also asked if they planned to sell users’ information, why they had no privacy policy, and what the language in the terms actually means. I’m still waiting for an answer a week later. (If I get an answer, I’ll update this post.)

For what its worth, 7orBetter employs only a handful of Web trackers, most likely because the site has very few advertisers at the moment. But unless a site explicitly states otherwise, it’s safer to assume they’re selling your data to any and all comers (no pun intended) and respond accordingly.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld onTwitter and Facebook.

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