Membership was opened in December 2013 to all online dating service providers in the product categories covered by ODA (See “Scope of ODA Membership” below).
Online dating in the UK had moved from being a niche activity to a part of everyday life.
It is enjoyed daily by millions and is the largest single source of new relationships.
Proving dating services online has some exciting, stimulating but also challenging and sensitive issues.
People are, by definition, looking to make new contacts, new friendships and new relationships.
This can create uncertainties, vulnerabilities as people hopefully move into those new friendships and relationships.
The feeling within the sector in the last few years was that it was time we took some collective responsibility for our market and our users as well as exercising responsibility as individual service providers.
In summer 2013 a group of dating site providers took and acted on the advice that this is a market where players should not rely solely on the framework of privacy, data and consumer law to protect the market and those in it.
The law and regulations applicable to the sector clearly matter and should be respected.
But laws and regulations have to deal with the generality of industries and businesses to which they apply and our statutory regulators are often thinly stretched and not able to do much other than react to consumer harms.