back to article Guardian says dating site rivals violated database rights

The Guardian newspaper has sued two online dating sites in the High Court, claiming that the companies have violated its database rights by using profiles taken from its own dating service. Guardian News and Media (GNM) operates the Guardian Soulmates dating service and has claimed that Dating Network Limited and Xfactor …


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  1. Ball boy Silver badge

    The Guardian has a dating site?

    I can't imagine a rival would want to steal the profile of a Guardian reader; it is pretty unique ;-)

    What with their reputation for spelling errors, can you imagine how easy it would be to prove the data's nicked? And an advert? They look like this:

    "Mild manoured male teacher seeks luffing relationship with librarian or someone in educasian. Liberal or Labrador voters only."

    Maybe it's not fair of me to pick on Rusbridger like that - not when so many others do such an excellent good job of it already.

    1. LinkOfHyrule


      It's true! I have seen adverts for their "soulmates" service while pursuing their misspelt site myself and have thought exactly what you've just said, though I always imagine it being mostly made up of men who look and sound like Alan Bennett for some reason, not sure why that is???????

      1. Justabloke 1

        title here

        Now, I don't normally do this sort of thing but couldn't help myself on this occassion...

        "...while pursuing their misspelt site..."

        Should surely be "...while perusing their misspelt site..."

        I love a bit of irony I do....


        1. LinkOfHyrule

          What do you expect...

          What do you expect, I read the Gauirnaid!

          I think they might be rubbing off on me, better join their dating service in that case!

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Guardian "soulmates" dating is basically a scam in my opinion.

    The majority of profiles are not active members and both parties must be paying subscribers to contact one another.

    Seems to me many of those "profiles" are actually cleverly crafted aspirational advertisments designed to lure you to enter your bank card details.

    Is this simply a move to protect the IP they've created to facilitate a lucrative subscription racket?

    Also as of last year they offered a "one month trial, one off payment" then proceeded to sign you up to an auto-renewing direct debit subscription.

    My advice is to use one of the free dating services instead. Unless you feel inclined to waste £30-50 per month looking at ads and/or talking to an AI algorithm?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm no

      It's really not, I've used it several times (dive bars only have limited appeal) and have always had success with it. Depressingly my dates through that would tend to be cuter / more suitable than those that I have arranged after meeting in bars.

      Sure the 'majority' of those purported 150,000 aren't active, that's the same with most sites but an awful lot are within a week of signing up I'd usually have e-mails from 10 different girls and 80+ 'fans' and I'm below GSM's demographic age, if you're in your mid thirties the response levels are insane (experience of a friend).

      And you can recieve mail just fine without subscribing, you just can't reply except for some stock one liners to say you haven't got an active subscription. So you're just wrong there.

      Sites like Match are far far worse.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Erm, Yes

        > And you can recieve mail just fine without subscribing, you just can't reply

        So its an e-mail / social network service that costs you £30 each a month to access any messages!

        > Sure the 'majority' of those purported 150,000 aren't active

        They've realised its essentially a phising scam...?

        > I'd usually have e-mails from 10 different girls

        At least half of which are solicitations from "professionals", menu card offerings or cute but unsuprisingly "not active" ...?

        > my dates through that would tend to be cuter / more suitable than those that I have arranged after meeting in bars.

        Quelle suprise? Did booze have anything to do with that...?

        > Sites like Match are far far worse.

        Free dating sites that don't debit your credit card £30-50 per month are much much better.

        1. frank ly


          Is there a site anywhere that reviews and analyses dating sites? The reason I ask is that I want to study and check the validity of your comments; maybe even do some follow-on field studies, etc.

        2. Neil 51

          Erm, no, again

          Have to add that I'm using Guardian Soulmates at the moment and finding it very good so far (still chatting to girls in bars as well though, it's not an either/or situation) . It was recommended to me by two separate (female) friends who both found their current partner on there.

          Haven't come across any "professionals" or import-a-bride scams, but hey, maybe I'm not looking at the profiles of girls who's pictures are the kind you'd see stuck up in a phonebox.

          Free dating sites on the other hand are stuffed full of scams because there's no barrier to entry, bar a working e-mail address. Once you start charging the number of scams are of course going to go way down.

          For the record, I don't read the Guardian - in fact I don't think a lot of people on there do. It's just one of the more popular sites.

          Also - People sneering at online dating on a site full of nerds? Know your audience people.

        3. Sam Paton

          Oooo just how bitter

          "They've realised its essentially a phising scam...?"

          It's only phishing if you give personal info away, generally I just thought it was people not deleting their profile after not subscribing. I've seen two of my friends on there that haven't logged in for a year or more.

          "Quelle suprise? Did booze have anything to do with that...?"

          Er no, more that people in London are hostile to the point of contempt at least 90% of the time. I've lived here for 10 years, its incredibly difficult to meet people in a dating context, most of the time it's through friends of friends or house parties. Elsewhere in the country and especially abroad it is far far easier. Backing up slightly, if you don't meet them at a pub/bar and didn't arrange it through a site like GSM how would you suggest oh sagely master. Shall I try and strike up a conversation on the tube perhaps. That'll go well.

          "At least half of which are solicitations from "professionals", menu card offerings or cute but unsuprisingly "not active" .."

          Er no, all of them real. None of them copy and paste and referred to relevent things in your profile (here's where it differs to match). If I had a stereotypical profile, she'd be late twenties, reasonably attractive, middle class graduate, works in media, marketing or for a charity and is trying it because her friends have recommended it to her and she's either been too busy or is sick of only ever being chatted up by Hackett wearing popped collar, highlight sporting chav's that walk up and try and buy her a drink everytime she's out.

          So no it's not like dial a bride, you can quite easily get 3 dates a week until you're bored or broke and I've done that three times, getting a short term girlfriend twice and cancelling the third sub because I met my current girlfriend on holiday. All that was in the space of 7 months last year, in which I had dates with ~25 girls (see if you'd have said that a lot of the people on tehre are boring, I'd have agreed wholeheartedly)

          I honestly have no idea where your misconceptions have come from.3 of my friends who have found long term partners through it and many more that have had dates or short term girlfriends through it. None have ever moaned about solicitations to subscribe. Of the other sites I've tried it's painfull obvious the shills and I've honestly never seen it on GSM.

          I subscribe to that aphorism about not arguing on the internet, you have your opinions/experiences and I have mine. They differ, such is life.

          On the topic of the actual articile on the other hand, doesn't surprise me that a company tried this. it would definitely feel like an invasion of privacy if someone posted me up on another site, because I wouldn't know about it. That'd be a lovely conversation with the missus "My friend's just seen you on a dating site"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot, kettle

    "GNM takes the privacy of Guardian Soulmates members extremely seriously and is demonstrating its commitment to members by pursuing this matter at the highest level."

    Except when it was the profile of the "crossbow cannibal" when the passed the info to the paper to print!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your happiness is our wealth

    For god's sake, go to a bar and meet a woman, like the rest of us.

    The only data breach you'll ever need to worry about then is the mad old cow posting your phone number amongst the adverts for whores in phone boxes when you split up, leading to you receiving unsolicited calls at strange hours.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    is it a good idea...

    to let Guardian readers mate?

    1. chr0m4t1c
      Thumb Up

      They're an essential part of our society

      They provide a buffer between the Toffs at one end of the scale and the Chavs at the other end.

      Also, Toyota would never sell another Prius.

    2. Jimbo 6

      It's got to be a better idea...

      ...then 'Xfactor Online Dating '. Not that Xfactor fans need an online dating service, a bottle of Diamond White and a bus-shelter is usually all they need to get breeding.

      ROTM = Rise of the Morlocks ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    IS it the 1970s again

    A romance... those on-line dating folk just don't know the great times that can be had pulling (and dodging infection) in your local Walkaspoon and Witherbout.

    Small wonder the increasing decline in western in populations... I'm off for a cry and a tommy-tank.

  7. Ru

    "For god's sake, go to a bar and meet a woman, like the rest of us"

    You're welcome to the single women who hang around in bars. I'm sure they're all classy birds with active and fulfilling social lives and not bored, desperate or slightly mad. Or virulent.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Surely, classy birds with active and fullfiling social lives are out living their fulfilling social lives rather than spending time chatting up strangers on an on-line dating site?

      Equally, it seems to imply that these same "classy birds" are going to be interested in the pathetic saddo who doesnt have an active and fulfilling social life and has to use on-line dating sites.

      Having an "active and fulfiling" social life means you will come into contact with good mating choices. Surfing the internet (and posting on el Reg) can mean the opposite.

      Beer - for obvious reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Correct, but...

        I'd agree that social activities where there's an opportunity to do stuff together are certainly the best way to meet new potential mates, something a lot of geeks (and builders too) need as their profession unless it happens to locate them next to the marketing dept affords few.

        However, i'd say London is one of the most anti-social places i've ever had the misfortune to be.

        I've experienced numerous houseshares where rather then being a big brother style social those sharing will mostly lock themselves away in their rooms on facebook rather than actually have to talk to one another.

        Same goes for most activity type stuff - most London groups involving groups of strangers see them showing up, doing the class and then promptly buggering off immediately at the end for fear they might actually have to interact with others who god forbid might not have gone to the right school!

        As for starbucks and the other identikit coffee franchises that have come to monopolise our social meeting spaces, never has their been a more false (or lonely) community been created.

        People in London, unless they are totally intoxicated from booze are mostly too afraid to speak or socialise!

        No bloody suprise really when the media are constantly telling everyone that everyone else is a potential murderer, rapist, peodo, freak etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          we live in an atomised society. internet dating does have a use!

      2. Ru

        Re: Ironic

        "Surely, classy birds with active and fullfiling social lives are out living their fulfilling social lives rather than spending time chatting up strangers on an on-line dating site?"

        I said nothing about the virtues or disadvantages of online dating, as it happens; only about seeking partners in bars. Me, I've always found having some interesting hobbies has always been the way to meet people, but that clearly doesn't work for everyone.

        I see you feel that anything related to computers and the internet leaves those associated in the depths of a socially and emotionally crippled nerd ghetto; stop to consider the fact that those sorts of people are also unlikely to find a partner online (at least not one who'll hang around long after meeting face to face). The popularity and profitability of online dating sites implies a reasonable quantity of socially well adjusted users, fifty percent of whom seem to be quite happy avoiding individuals like yourself.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "The Guardian's dating site" - see also Torygraph?

    "The Guardian's dating site" is surely operated for them by the same outfit (and sometimes with the same profiles?) as operates the Torygraph's (and maybe others)? I can't actually verify this from work as it's blocked by Wetsense, but I'm reasonably confident. Or it could just be that the same people sign up for both, but I doubt it.


    what's with the El Reg "survey" today? are you trying to really p. off those who provide your income (your readers)?

  9. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Where do men like us meet women who are interested in men like us?


    (There's a week of old Dilbert cartoons in "Don't Step in the Leadership" that explains where to find women who are interested in technically minded men and "engineers".)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think of the children...!

    Always find it funny on UK newspaper websites how right next to the frontpage dating mugshot there's usually an article with a similar looking photo about an evil rapist, psychopath, murderer or paedo who commited heinous crimes after soliciting his victims over the interweb.

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