OPW INTERVIEW -- May 3 -- "This is 1 of the worst people to be involved with. He will lie cheat and deceive. He live off women and has no real education. Will claim someone else's baby but cannot take care of his own then brings another into the world." So goes the testimonial to Mr L.Simon on DontDateHimGirl.com. Here's what the CEO of DDHG has to say... - Mark Brooks
Tell me about DontDateHimGirl.com. What inspired you to create the site?
It began with a conversation that I had with some of my girlfriends in late 2005. We were talking about dating and sharing different bad date horror stories with each other. I thought that there had to be a way that women could get together to have that conversation on a larger scale, a global discussion of women sharing their dating stories.
Your site allows women to warn other women about bad dates. How do you know that the women who post aren't the crazy ones? Maybe she got vindictive because he just wasn't that into her. What if he is actually innocent of accusations? Do you feel any responsibility to protect the innocent?
That’s not for the owner of the website to decide. We provide the forum and free information and discussion occurs among the users, not among the website’s owners or administrators. In addition, it would be specifically impossible for any site to verify every third party posting. We get hundreds of postings a day. That’s why we allow men to fully participate in the discussion and freely post their side or say whatever they want to say uncensored.
There was a Dr. Phil show featuring you and a man who claimed that the negative comments posted about him on DDHG were false. He filed a lawsuit. What ever became of that?
It was dismissed. We are protected by a Federal law called the Communication Decency Act, as is every social networking site out there. We are exempt from liability for third party comments posted on our websites. It’s pretty obvious that I did not make those comments about that guy, I don’t even know who he is.
In legal cases where websites such as Craigslist did not encourage offensive content and in fact took steps to discourage it, doesn't your site, by the nature of it, encourage words that could be libelous?
What would you personally do if someone posted negative and false information about you and the site owner refused to remove it?
There are outrageous things that are posted about me online. The Internet is basically like the Wild, Wild West of information. People think that they can just post whatever they want anonymously. So, I could spend my time running around trying to prove that all of the false statements about me on the Internet are untrue, or I could focus on things that mean something to me, like our DDHG Empower Fund, which allows us to donate part of our earnings to help with different women’s charities. We’re doing something with the Women’s Fund of Miami and the National Women’s Fund to help with domestic violence.
Have you considered a section for people who want to rave about great dates?
Women are doing it now, whether it’s a friend or a brother, with the intent to fix him up. We’re starting to see that a lot of women put themselves there to be searchable as a way to connect with other women as friends.
DDHG is bursting with great topical content. What are the site's most popular features?
Profiles are strong, but our news section is very popular, because that’s part of the mission of the site. It’s not just to let these women share their negative experiences, but once they’re on the site they can learn how to make better decisions in their dating life. In the Don’t Date Him Girl community, they’ll find experts who can sympathize with their situation and advise them accordingly. It’s also a great place for men to learn how to improve their relationships with women.
Tell me about your new Facebook application, Love Inspector.
We created the application to introduce ourselves to the Facebook audience, which we hadn’t really done before. The application is, what I like to call, a woman’s best friend, because it’s a daily dose of dating and love and relationships. Add it to your Facebook profile and receive the newest DDHG articles and advice (which link back to the site) every day.
What does the future hold for DDHG?
We’re adding new contributors and growing our advice community. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of dating or get advice on a particular relationship problem - users can directly email our contributors with questions. Women write to us about how the site has helped them or how DDHG has touched their lives, so we’re thinking of adding a devoted testimonial section because we get so many.
What message would you most like to get out there?
I think, historically, because of the fact that men and women speak different languages in relationships; many women are lost as to how to effectively understand men. Women really need to assess their relationship goals before they even step into the dating world, and then take proactive steps to get there. The slogan of the site is Don’t Date Him, Girl, until you check him out first.