Industry Standards Body, The Online Dating Association, Launches

Online Dating Association
The Online Dating Association, a standards body for the online dating industry, has launched.

Its formation was announced last September, and the association has now released their new website, code of conduct, and are welcoming new members.

The ODA has been warmly received by the industry, and they already count Match, eHarmony, MySingleFriend, Lovestruck and Guardian Soulmates among their founding members.

The Chief Executive is George Kidd, a former Cabinet Office Director – dealing with regulation, risk and compliance policy in Whitehall – after which he was Chief Executive of PhonepayPlus.

Speaking to GlobalDatingInsights, Kidd said that calls within the industry for such a body had been bubbling away for a while.

He said: “Online dating is part of everyday life, and when you get to that level of ubiquity, it is right that an industry starts to say that we should take responsibility for our futures.

“We aim to be eyes, ears and voice for members; building political, media, regulatory understanding of the industry, influencing their actions and making sure members know of developments that affect their businesses.”

These principles are set out in the code of conduct, which details policy regarding honest and clear communications, consumer protection and data privacy.

Kidd said: “The Code is short and outcomes-based. It sets outcomes rather than prescribes what members must do at every turn. 

“This matters given the variety we see with national brands, niche providers and white label set-ups.”

Also on the board are Jackie Elton, founder of Christian Connection, Duncan Cunningham, director of The Dating Lab, Karl Gregory, MD of Match UK, Julia Porter of Guardian Soulmates and Dan Winchester, founder of

Chairman Duncan Cunningham said: 

“I am very proud that the founders of the ODA come from a wide cross section of companies, both large and small, yet they have all been prepared to set their own commercial priorities to one side and to come together in an effort to craft the highest standards for the industry as a whole, and to develop it in a responsible way.”

The ODA has also talked to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and will be producing guidance on data retention and pooled information on problem users.

Workshops are also planned this year on changes in consumer laws and data security.

Anyone from the industry interested in joining the ODA should visit their website, where they can find the code of conduct and membership form.

Visit the website here.