Risks of a website that lets users meet up?


1

I'm looking into creating a website which would be based on users meeting up (nope, not another dating site!). The obvious worry here is users meeting crazy people and bad things happening. Is there any way that other companies deter this, or is it just a matter of having a ToS or something that warns the user of the risks of meeting up with strangers? I was thinking of having users being able to rate people they meet up with so users can become more trusted, but this would make it hard for new users to meet people and make it hard for the website to get rolling when the early adopters don't have ratings. So yeah, any insight would be helpful.

EDIT: Looking into Match.com, it seems that their protection layer is found in their Terms of Use (though I'm not sure if they have other safety nets as well).

http://www.match.com/registration/membagr.aspx?lid=108 Specifically under, "7. Your Interaction with Other Members."

OkCupid does something very similar here:

http://www.okcupid.com/legal/terms Under "Personal safety".

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asked Mar 25 '12 at 06:55
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Mike Lentini
108 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


3

It's a risk with any online social network. I think there are a few key things to consider.

  1. Have the proper business structure that protects you personally from liability
  2. Don't do anything dumb or intentionally illegal or scandolous where someone suing you can pierce the corporate veil
  3. Have a good terms of service that all users must agree to. You found a couple good ones, also look at Craigslist - I think they have a section of their site for random hookups. That to me seems like a huge liability and they probably have enough warnings and notices for it to be 'at your own risk'
  4. Make sure people are over 13 (I think in the US) to make an account with your site. If it is adult in any way it should be 18.
  5. Depending on how serious your concerns are also talk with someone who deals with business insurance. You can get some coverage incase someone comes after you.
answered Mar 26 '12 at 00:43
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Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • Sounds like good advice, thanks! – Mike Lentini 7 years ago

2

What Ryan has said is very good, however, I thought you might also take a look at what http://www.couchsurfing.org/ does. They have serious safety concerns, seeing as the concept is to let a total stranger stay in your house. They have a good rating system, and I imagine their Terms of Use are also worth a look at.

answered Mar 26 '12 at 06:22
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Jeff S
374 points
  • Will give it a look, thanks! – Mike Lentini 7 years ago

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