iPhone apps run background checks on your date
Network World, Brad Reed, November 18, 2009
In a move that is sure to make playboys everywhere nervous, Internet company PeopleFinders
has created two iPhone applications that let users perform background checks on their
The apps, known as "Stud or Dud?" and "Are They Really Single?", utilize data culled from
countless public records to give users a more complete picture of whom they're going out
with. PeopleFinders President and COO Bryce Lane says his company collects data from "thousands
of sources" across the country from "federal governments to the very smallest city
governments." He says the company then uses algorithms to sort through the data and make
comprehensive files that will give users a reliable picture of who the person is.
From there, the data is placed in PeopleFinders' database and is put up for sale. While both
of the applications the company debuted today cost a mere $0.99 to download, users can only
access records by either paying $9.95 per record or by paying an annual subscription fee of
$24.95. In the case of "Stud or Dud?" users have the option of using simply by a person's
first and last name, by their age and hometown, or by their phone number. From there, the
program gives you a list of potential matches to choose from.
Once the user thinks they've found their match, they can then access all of PeopleFinders'
records on them and learn whether they own property, whether they have a stable address
history, whether they've ever gone bankrupt, whether they're married or are in a possible
relationship and whether they have a criminal background or are registered as a sex offender.
Lane cautions, however, that the program cannot guarantee 100% that all of its information
is accurate, especially in cases where the person you're searching for has a relatively
common name. Lane says that like any search engine, "Stud or Dud?" will work better the
more information you put into it.
If "Stud or Dud?" is meant to be a comprehensive background check, the "Are They Really
Single?" app is more tailored to answering the specific question of whether someone is
either married or potentially in a long-term relationship. It could surely make those
with philandering lifestyles like that of Mad Men's Don Draper more than a tad nervous.
Much like "Stud or Dud?" the app combs through thousands of marriage records, divorce
records, common addresses and wedding dates to provide users with information about
whether the person they're seeing is really single.
Lane says PeopleFinders decided to debut this application on the iPhone because it was
the most popular consumer-focused device on the market and because the App Store had the
greatest reach of any other application market. If the application is successful in its
iPhone incarnation, he says the company will explore bringing it to other mobile operating
systems, such as BlackBerry or Palm's webOS.
When asked about privacy issues PeopleFinders' two apps could raise, Lane says the
company will take anyone out of its databases who requests to be deleted. However, he says
people should be aware that this information is all public and that anyone can find it if
they're really determined.
"We take people out if they request it but we really do acquire our data from purely
public places," he says. "The population that calls us the most are usually the criminals
who want to hide fact that they've murdered someone or something."