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When Dates Attack

Dating 'alert' sites allow women to put an 'ex' on trial without rebuttal

If you thought clicking on a URL in an email was dangerous, try going out on a date these days.

According to a report published yesterday in the Australian newspaper The Age, some single men have found some of their most sensitive information exposed recently on a new class of "alert" sites that let women warn their peers about men who turned out to be bad dates or boyfriends.

U.S.-based sites such as dontdatehimgirl.com and datingpsychos.com allow women to post warnings about men they've dated, according to the report. Some women have gone as far as to publish the addresses and phone numbers of their "exes," along with detailed descriptions on their personal flaws and mistakes.

The anonymous postings leave the "losers" with no legal recourse, because claims of abuse or defamation can only be made when the offenders can be positively identified. In a sample case described in the report, a man tried to take legal action, but was denied because the women he accused of doing the postings flatly denied making them.

The sites themselves cannot be sued because of U.S. law which states that information services providers are not responsible for content posted by their members. As a result, sites such as dontdatehimgirl.com can continue to operate without fear of legal action, the report states.

No word yet on whether there will soon be a similar site for men who want to warn others about the women they go out with. Until then, date carefully.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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