TAMPA BAY -- Apr 7 -- Rep. Kevin Ambler wants to pass a bill (HB 411) requiring dating sites to do a criminal background checks — or disclose that they don't — when dealing with paying Florida customers. The sites also would have to describe how the checks were done, that the checks are incomplete, and provide safety tips. However, industry lobbyists and critical lawmakers say that imperfections in searching criminal records still will give hopeful singles false confidence. The bill could raise costs for companies and customers. New Jersey made itself the first state to require the disclosure this year. Match.com says promising the background checks and disclosure is misleading. Lobbyists said the bill totally ignores a greater risk, the wide array of free social networking sites. Jennifer Green, a Match.com lobbyist, told a House committee on March 19 that the company has 1-million users, but only 60,000 paid members who would fall under the law. Green said Match.com would be fine with legislation that requires safety warnings but that the company finds the criminal check requirement off-point.
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Mark Brooks: Criminal checks are a differentiator for next generation dating sites. This legislation calls for dating sites to post a prominent warning on their site if they don't do background checks. I think the average dating site user wouldn't expect a dating site to offer background checks by default. I doubt they would all pay an additional $20 for a check, either. Your comments please.