Is your date a 'stud or dud?' Ask your phone
Hamilton Spectator, Doug Gross, November 25, 2009
In a move that is sure to make playboys everywhere nervous, Internet
company PeopleFinders has created iPhone applications that let users
check on potential dates.
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
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.
Five qualities of a great iPhone app
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
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."