Prior to starting my dating-safer/people-vetting/”People Search” service, I did my research into what my “competition” was, what all these companies were selling to the masses, and how they managed to obtain their data. Turns out, they’re nothing more than “data brokers”. Which means that they gather automated information about you and then sell it to companies and individuals. Here’s an awesome read on how your information ends up in their hands: https://blog.onerep.com/how-does-your-personal-data-appear-on-countless-websites/
What’s the difference between my company – Aste – and all those other sites then? Well for one, we’re real people who are cyber detectives who know how to source, vet, and verify ALL the information on your new friend so that you’ll be armed with actual solid knowledge. The process we have in place allows us to be crazy accurate, so that you’re not walking into your first date completely blind! And if you want a good read on the issue of common people searches and how they’re often inaccurate and incomplete, check out this article from the Atlantic: “I Bought a Report on Everything That’s Known About Me Online“. I’ve never been in the server room of one of these companies, nor do I know how their algorithms work other than “pinging data servers” and scraping information from all the different places that OneRep company spoke of, but what I do know is their solution just isn’t cutting it anymore.
When I first started benchmarking our human solution vs the automated solutions of those other websites, I was floored by the amount of inaccurate, outdated, and downright wrong information that these companies deliver back to you. For example, when I searched my bank robber, the people search site said he was living in CA (nope) and had no criminal record. The Facebook page that came up for him showed that he had plenty of friends. No red flags, right? Well, a further search on my own found: his arrest for robbing a bank, many other criminal records, his family’s security company, and his wedding registry from the year before. Think about all that for a second. That’s a ton of important information that those other websites completely missed in finding for me. It’s totally messed up.
But let’s also not ignore just how scammy these other websites feel. They make you enter the information you’re looking for and send you through a bunch of fake “loading screens” while they continue asking you questions to make you write the report yourself. You go through all of these stages claiming they are searching “billions of records” and the “deep dark web” and then all of a sudden they’re saying “pay $$$ more to include premium search results for all the deeper info”! My question is: why wouldn’t you give that to me with the rest of the stuff I’m trying to find? Before you know it, you get an eight page pdf of “fluff” with outdated emails, address history, neighbors, and a wrong Linkedin account. All for the low, low price of having to call customer service and being upsold while trying to cancel your account because they bill monthly with no refunds.
Not for nothing, but let’s also consider this alarming fact about one of those automated people search sites: how can the Better Business Bureau give them an A+ if they’ve had 211 Total Customer Reviews and 206 of them were Negative?
There’s also so many affiliate links floating around on the web because people are making money off of these people search platforms that it’s almost indistinguishable as to which site you’re on. Not a service company, just a stand alone website that promises data they can’t deliver. Even swiping through Tinder the other day, I noticed a brand new shiny ad for yet another one of these automated data brokers. “Swipe Right to Search”!
Giving some credit here: these companies at least recognize the fact that none of the dating sites out there actually know who is on their platform and urge users to do your own research on them. They’re advertising that they can help. And maybe they can help, if you know your new date’s full name and have an hour to try to search and verify the little, inaccurate, and outdated information Spokeo gave you and know where to go for the rest of their information.
If you consider the fact that BeenVerified.com was making $13.7 MILLION dollars in 2012 (latest release) – there’s a great need for accurate services that deliver quick information. I read that last year, this website made $20M and spent $2.4M of that in Google adwords alone, which means they constantly show up in your browser to tell you that they are the only option. Maybe everyone is just used to thinking that these services as “good enough” because they’re always in our faces, but saturation advertising does not make them a quality product. When our personal safety is at stake, as we make ourselves vulnerable out there in the dating world? We deserve way better.
At Aste, we pride ourselves on the fact that our $30 price point, 24 hour turnaround, and thorough, people-powered search of public information to get you only the information that is pertinent and accurate is an excellent deal. Marry that with the fact that we look out for the extra red flags (like fat shaming, married daters, catfish, ex-cons, etc.) and actually talk to you about what we found, what we confirmed, and what can’t be confirmed… it’s a no brainer. Especially when it comes down to who you’re dating, who you’re letting into your house, who you’re having around your children, and who you’re letting into your life.
So now you’re probably thinking “Okay, Julie. You’re an underdog in an oversaturated market of companies selling snake oil. Good luck trying to change an industry.”
And to that? I say…“Thank you. I’m on it.”
I want you to give us a try. And even though clicking the link below won’t let you immediately fill out our intake form – it’ll take you to the “Get Started” page – that’s really the only thing that isn’t transparent about us (and I feel bad about it, I promise! 🙂
Love and light,