CheckedProfile is out to verify that fake dating profile of yours

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How do you know if someone’s online profile is real? The question has plagued us for some time now, but it’s become increasingly problematic as vast swatches of the mainstream of society goes online and joins a social network, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or whatever. The problem is of course rife on dating web sites.

One of the ways celebrities who arrived early on Twitter verified their profile was to Twitpic themselves in front of their Twitter profile. But now a new startup has taken this verification idea to its logical conclusion. CheckedProfile launches today in the US, but is actually the brainchild of long-time UK entrepreneur Ben Way, who is now based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Here’s how it works.

You upload your profile picture. The site then provides a custom identifier that is unique to that picture. You then write the identifier on a sheet of paper and take a picture of yourself holding that page. With those two pictures uploaded and a flled-out CheckedProfile account, an “expert profile checker” verifies that the person in both images is the same. You are then free to use your CheckedProfile verified photograph any where you want to prove your real identity online. CheckedProfile is even looking to have other levels of verification such as date of birth, name and address, though I’m not quite sure how.

The sting is that while it’s free for women and children, it’ll be $1.99 for men. Additional photographs are $0.99 for everyone. “Priority verification” (verification in one hour or less) is $0.99 per photograph but normal E-mail address verification is free for all.

Sorry guys. I guess no-one really believe that online dating profile of yours, right? In fact, the site says over 80% of online daters have suspected that the profile images being used online are fakes and over a third have actually discovered that a person’s identity does not match that of their online persona. No. Kidding…

CheckedProfile claims it has patented this whole process – although to be honest it sounds pretty replicable. And what I don’t get is why they can’t apply a facial recognition technology to this process or perhaps crowd-source it – because having humans checking profile does not scale.
But Way insists that they “have an incredibly efficient back end” that takes on average 20 seconds to verify a photo, and that other facial recognition technologies are not up to the job yet. Plus, this is quite Mahalo-esque – trained checkers can work from home and get paid per check.

Update: I wasn’t previously aware of Validize which is more aimed at bloggers, but is an interesting contrast.

  • Matt

    I don’t get how they justify charging men more.

    • Jay Cuthrell

      It’s revenge for shirt laundering pricing.

    • pops

      “The sting is that while it’s free for women and children, it’ll be $1.99 for men.”

      Can the author get a legal opinion on the legality of this?
      Doing so would would elevate this posting from a pr piece.

      • jonny

        What the hell could possibly be illegal about that pricing scheme?

      • pops

        Really white Republican Wall Street types should be charged the most, don’t you think?

        Johny, first off the business idea is very good.

        On the pricing:
        As someone else pointed out, in some locations it is illegal to charge a woman more than a man for dry cleaning.

        But at the same time, in bars and clubs there are different pricings as well.
        I do not know why one is legal and the other not.

      • Timothy

        Salons often have different pricing for women and men. If they can do that why can’t CheckProfile?

      • mediumsizedrobb

        I dunno, maybe because women usually take a lot more effort in a salon than a man. Of course there’s your aunt Billie and Uncle Fran, but in most cases women’s styles take more time to do than men’s. So, different prices.

    • antje wilsch

      women are prettier to look at? :) (start team is probably mostly male??)

      • Chad Smith

        Either that or it’s just one really creepy guy who likes pictures of women and children.

  • Zvi Band

    Sounds a little far-fetched, especially if all it is doing is verifying your face. is already doing what these guys are hoping to do.

  • waha?

    I say stick with the old method. It free and works exactly the same. Why pay for what you can do free?

  • Mark

    I have one word for them: Photoshop.

  • Missing something?

    So let me get this right, at the end you get a verified image you can use? So what is stopping bots locating and downloading all “verified” images they can find?

    • Ben Way

      Just to come back on a few of your points :

      Charging men more, this is a little like charging men more for insurance; the reality is that men a far more likly to try and fake their picture for immoral purposes than woman are. does not check your photos checkedprofile is more of a mass market product and hence the price point is significantly less.

      Photoshop/downloading other verified pictures; this does not work because we run a closed loop system which means that your photo is linked to a profile; so when somebody checks a photo they can also enter your username for the site they are trying to check and confirm that is the username attached to that photo.

      As for sticking to the old method, in certain circumstances(such as dating) you want to use your best picture; allows you to do that the old method does not.

      But thanks for your interest!


      • jud

        “Charging men more, this is a little like charging men more for insurance;”

        How so?

      • Ben Way

        Its based upon risk, the risk of a man having a crash is greater than a woman, therefore insurance costs more for men.

        The same for us; the risk of having a man try and game the system is greater than a woman; so we charge men and woman get it for free.

      • jud

        Ben Way,

        Are you saying that if someone beats your validation system you pay damages to anyone who was fooled and relied on your system?

      • Ben Way

        Hey Jud,

        No actually we are saying the opposite all systems are fallible and you must always use your common sense; this just lowers the risk of you meeting somebody fake.
        We have considered almost like an insurance policy in case you do meet up with someone who has gone through our system; but it is something we are reviewing as it is very hard to implement.

      • Melvin

        Because men are generally better in Photoshop..

      • Alex

        Oh please, women are much more likely to fake photos. Myspaces angles anyone?

      • Ben Way

        Actually from our research woman are much less likely to use fake photos, they tend to use old photos of themselves.

      • Gordon Gooch

        Hi Ben,
        You are incorrect, already partnered with Datingheadshots Inc. ( ) to create a full proof system to verify a persons identity and photo together. The end result is a verified credential that can be combined with the persons true photo and used not only on online dating sites but where ever the credential is accepted.

        I believe that your basic notion of verified profiles is correct and admirable and would eliminate many of the problems with online dating fraud. I’m concerned that you are offering a false sense of security whether it be for $1.99 or $199 since this process is to easy to circumvent.

      • Ben Way

        Thanks Gorden,

        We don’t claim to do anything else but verify the photo so I don’t think it a false sense of security; this tends to be the item people are most worried about according to our research.

        Soon we will be able to match a photo to almost any piece of data just like honesty online; but seriously have you gone through their sign up process; its hard work and still can be abused. Remember no technology is ever 100% secure you can only do things to lower your risk.

      • Larry Cynkin

        Ben, let me get this straight. Our process, where you fill in a few online forms, is hard work. Your process, where you take a photo of yourself, upload it, fill out a form, write down a code on a piece of paper, take another picture of yourself holding the piece of paper, upload it, and wait for an email confirming verification — is not.

        Larry Cynkin

      • Ben Way

        Hi Larry,

        Actually I think they both have flaws and are really for different purposes, I found yours particular intensive because you are trying to verify against a database; I know how hard this is because we are implementing similar procedures for our different levels.
        CheckedProfile level 1 was only ever designed as a quick instant way to verify photos, I think we achieve this(next revision will be even easier)
        But look this is a rapidly expanding market, and I believe in cooperation over competition lets have a chat about it, you know where to contact me.

      • jlw

        > Charging men more, this is a little like
        > charging men more for insurance;
        > the reality is that men a far more likly to
        > try and fake their picture for immoral
        > purposes than woman are.

        I have zero samples of men doing this, since I don’t date men, but this happens plenty with women. It’s extremely common for women to post pictures online that show themselves 5 or even 10 years ago, and in addition to that lie about their age.

      • Ben Way

        As I said above woman tend to have issues with their age not identity;

        Men have a much higher risk of using fake photos all together.

        Not to put a to finer point on it but a man walking into a situation where he meets somebody 10 years older than he is expecting is a LOT less risky than a woman meeting a complete stranger.

    • Clayton

      Oh C’mon, it’s the ladies night of online profiles. Let the ladies in for free and the fellows will follow.

  • Daniel Ha

    >> And what I don’t get is why they can’t apply a facial recognition technology to this process

    The same reason I don’t get why you just don’t build a robot to write your blog posts for you. Clearly that’s more scalable. :)

    • Alexandar Tzanov

      Actually that’s not so hard to do. It’s all up the quality you are looking for for the site and anyone can do it. They are called scrapers. There are plenty of those as WordPress blogs!

  • James Paden

    They’re just using Amazon Turk. It’s automated. Pay someone .10 to check the images, keep $1.89. Plenty scalable.

  • jerky

    you all know we’re definitely at the end of the cycle and headed for a crash when start-ups like this begin to pop up.

  • Alexandar Tzanov

    Charging only men … I doubt that will last long. What happened to eHarmony could as easily happen with, especially because they are in the US and because of the non-discrimination laws of the US.

  • Matt Gorden

    It is like getting your photo attested as attested true copy by a gazetted officer in British Raj in India.

    But then there is photoshop. That can be an answer to it.

  • Piet

    How do they check that I am a man?

    • abdo

      You have to write a number they give you on your genitalia and send over the picture.

  • Dan Contogiannis

    Charging men only? This sketches me out a bit.

    -Daniel Contogiannis

  • Ben Way

    Photoshop cannot break the system, remember that the photo you upload with the unique code is confidential you would have to have 2 preprepared photo of somebody holding up a blank piece of paper and a profile picture of them and then paste the code onto it; which would mean effectively the person in the pictures would be giving you permission to use their identity to use.

    • Mark

      Photoshop can trick this thing easily. What prevent you from claiming the identity of any other person? you send another person pic, then you Photoshop as if this person took a pic with the secret code and voila: you are identified with somebody else picture. and i hope he will be prettier.

  • Stefano Bernardi

    They just verify the picture, but I can actually use the Mike Butcher name if I please.
    Until they do something with government issued form of identifications, I guess they will apply just to dating sites..

  • Nikolay Kolev

    Patented… this cannot be patented as there is a number of sites already using those techniques. I remember a photo contest site in Bulgaria that uses this approach.

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  • Chloe

    Somehow I’m missing how this would prove anything… I’ve used sites that require members to pay for a background check to confirm identity. I’m not saying that things need to go that far but the photo method is ridiculous.

    • Ben Way

      On dating sites especially, men use fake photos to lure woman into meeting them; I have heard this story a hundred times over.
      What this proves is the person on the dating site is the person they say they are in the picture.
      So for example if you had been speaking to a guy on a dating site and were thinking about meeting him you could ask him to go through the process and give you his unique verification ID.

  • dave


  • Allen

    I’m sorry but this service is stupid. For regular people it can only verify the people are using real pictures of themselves. But so what if the pictures are right? It doesn’t verify any information people on their profiles, right? So how is that really useful?

    Besides, this would’ve been nice if this can check if some supposedly celebrity is really behind a Twitter or Facebook account. For example I’ve seen Lee Kaifu’s (head of Google China) profile on Facebook and have doubts about if it’s really him. Either way, why would Lee bothers with it???

    So at the end, this service cannot verify if you’re really dealing with a celebrity (or public figure of some sort) or the person is telling anything true about him/herself…

    Let’s see how fast this goes into the deadpool…

    I love people trying to be entrepreneur and come up with great ideas that can make big or small changes in our lives. And then there are people who do totally useless things like this.

    Sorry to be harsh but I’m just saying it bluntly…

    • Ben Way

      Oh no I like a good debate; this is a beta it is to learn what works and what does not in this field; obviously identity verification online is going to be a big part of our digitial identies this is just a small step into it; we are working on various products in this space; based on my background you should know that this is the way I work; we put high risk products into market some work some don’t; some we have to modify.

      And while currently it does nothing more than verify a picture(and in dating sites this is a really useful thing to be able to do) soon it will be able to verify any piece of information you submit.

      Also for instance if Lee Kaifu did it; you would have to believe that a person who looks exactly like Lee is trying to impersonate Lee; a very unlikely scenario.

      As I say on the site this is not to stop all situations where identity can be abused it is just another tool to help.

      It has already exceeded my expectations I was thinking that today mostly woman would sign up but actually more men have and have actually paid; that really has surprised me.

      • Allen

        good seeing that you can take criticism in stride.

        forget the celebrities for a minute… let’s just focus on the regular joes who will (or won’t) be your customers.

        say i post a profile on and claim to be a millionaire and drive a lamburghini. my point previously is that you can verify the photo i use but so what? for women who are debating if they should meet me in person… your service doesn’t protect them from any false information I may claim on the Internet…

        unless of course they only care about how I look…

        or maybe you could change the name of your service to “” =P

      • Allen

        it’s late at night where i am and missed reading the second paragraph…

        i’d be kinda interested to find out how you plan to verify personal information or if people would bother to go through whatever procedures there are.

        say you have some way to verify. what is the incentive for people to pay to verify if he’s telling the truth about himself? (obviously a guy who’s not telling the truth about himself won’t bother with it…) to get a better chance of hooking up? hmm….. not sure if it will sell…

  • Mark

    Charging only men? What if all men claim to be women? ;-)

    I can hardly believe there isn’t a better way to do this kind of verification than the archaic way described.

    • Ben Way

      When we verify we check if it is a man or a woman and what they signed up as if it does not match we reject them.
      Trust me we looked through all the options, the only automated way to do it would have meant an unacceptable 60% failure rate.
      It will come but ROI is not worth it at the moment; I am keeping ahead of developments in the field.


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  • J.C. MacClore

    Ben, what on Earth made you think of this idea?

  • Ben Way

    I have done a huge amount of work in the dating industry; it is crying out for a simple instant way to verify somebody’s picture.

    We will be directly integrating with dating sites; so this will be an optional component to registration or an added option later.

    Our research indicates that there is a significantly greater chance of a woman meeting a man if she can be sure that it is a real photo of him.

  • Que

    Why not charge all people; why discriminate against men

    What qualifies as a child in some countries it can either be anyone under 18, 20 or 21

  • Ben Way

    Its not about discrimination it is about risk; having said that we may well change our pricing model in the future, we make make it free we may charge for both; that is the whole point of a beta!

    We do not accept children at the moment as that is more complicated and requires additional protection layers; we are working on it.

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