back to article Romance is dead: Part-time model slings $1.5bn SUEBALL at Match.com

Online dating website Match.com is being sued by a woman in Florida, who has brought a $1.5bn class-action lawsuit against the company in which she alleges that photos of her and thousands of others were used without permission on fake profiles. Part-time model Yuliana Avalos said of her complaint, which was filed in the US …

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Anonymous Coward

So... she's the one I should be asking for a date with?

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I'd wait until it seems she's likely to win.

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If it's about the money

Date her lawyer, but be sure not to wind up divorcing them.

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$1, 500, 000, 000 seems like a lot. Has Match.com even got those kind of reserves/insurance? If she does win and gets those kind of damages, most likely outcome seems to be Match.com will fold with very little being paid out.

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1.5 mill isn't much

It's about the size of the payout that AFP has been ordered to fork over for knowingly pirating a haitian photographer's work.

That case has still to go through appeal but it's already set the precedent.

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Re: 1.5 mill isn't much

Did you read the article? Or even James 51's comment?

It's US$ 1.5 BILLION.

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WTF?

Re: 1.5 mill isn't much

She sho must have a purty payer of jugs.

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Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

Claim 29: ...which can scan billions of images nearly instantaneously......

Gosh. I really could do with some of these systems that Match.com must have. Near infinite disk bandwidth, and very sophisticated image hashing and analysis tools.

With that technology, I wonder why they're in the dating business. They ought to be coining it in from the application of this technology.

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Re: Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

"Gosh. I really could do with some of these systems that Match.com must have. Near infinite disk bandwidth, and very sophisticated image hashing and analysis tools."

Tineye is cheap and Google image matching is pretty good at finding pirated pictures.

Outfits like Match happily tolerate the scamers because it makes them money. Businesses have no conscience, so the object of the exercise is to make it uneocnomic for them to tolerate scammers.

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Re: Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

It was the scale of the claim. "billions of images" and "near instantaneously" that I was mocking.

I'm sure that there are tools which will look at images and spot similarities, but I'm also sure that they're not instant. Lets assume the images are 100KB each, and there are "a billion" of them. That's 1x1014 bytes (hey, lookie what a silver badge allows me to do!), or approximately 100TB of image data. If they can read that and process it "near instantaneously" then they have a better system than the top 100 HPC system that I'm looking after at the moment.

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Re: Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

I don't think it works that way.

The likes of Tineye continually spider the Internet, hashing all the imagery they find using their wizardry, so that the likes of you and I can ask it for matches to an image of our choice "near-instantaneously".

So yes, from the point of view of the possibly-infringed-upon, it does search billions near-instantaneously, because the hard part is being done continuously.

It's a well-known optimisation strategy.

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Facepalm

Re: Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

Joking aside, they'd never scan the images, they'd hash 'em and scan matching hashes, the usual bog standard DB optimization technique.

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Doubt she'll win

Unless she has evidence MATCH.COM were complicit in the scammers' actions. Most websites in the US are not liable for damages caused by posters' actions unless they are proven to be grossly negligent in taking action against such posters. The article doesn't indicate whether MATCH.COM ignored requests to remove fake profiles in those 6 years.

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Facepalm

Re: Doubt she'll win

Or... she's incredibly gullible and has been taken in by a shyster lawyer...

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On the other hand

After reading the complaint on my phone (PDFs from external sources are blocked at work) it seems that her case centers around MATCH.COM knowingly approving fake profiles with her likeness (and several others) on its website and other sites owned and operated by MATCH.COM and using those fake profiles in adverts, thus profiting.

If these are the facts she may have a case. I smell settlement from MATCH.COM.

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Re: Doubt she'll win

"Unless she has evidence MATCH.COM were complicit in the scammers' actions"

They have the ability to automatically detect and remove copyright violations as they're uploaded. They don't because it cuts into revenue generated by knuckle draggers seeing the images and coughing up some dough to talk to a pretty girl who's actually some hairy Nigerian trucker named Phil.

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Re: Doubt she'll win

Thing is, HairyNigerianTruckers.com is still down, so you have to go on to match.com

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Holmes

She sounds like a bitch from hell. Steer well clear!

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Yeah, fuck you, The Victim, it's all your fault.

Hang on...

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Anonymous Coward

'She sounds like a bitch from hell. Steer well clear!'

Smart ass! People like you should be forced to read through the dredges of complaints made against dating sites such as Match.com over their Fake profiles.. Fake emails....

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"She sounds like a bitch from hell. Steer well clear!"

Always make them sign a pre-nup. No one is going to walk away with my house and toys!

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I'll believe it when i see it

Pic's or it didn't happen..... oh wait

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"Not a day goes by when someone doesn't tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com "

Is it the same person, over and over again, hoping that she'll agree to a date?

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xyz

Shirley...

...Match looks at profile pictures before it lets them go live on site, because they won't accept all pictures. I understand (from a friend *cough*) that beNaughty does too and won't approve pictures that appear to be too good to be true, no matter how much trout or min is on display. The problem then is with nicked pix off facebook et al, so I presume the majority of people save the pic and do a Google image search to see if it's a knock off or a real person's profile If Match does look at pics (which they do because I've had a few refused) then a quick Google would save them from all this, but as stated it cuts down the scammer take. They're going down (and not in a good way)

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Re: Shirley...

>The problem then is with nicked pix off facebook et al

I thought all photo's posted on Facebook became the property of Facebook? So can we expect Facebook to join in, as this practise must impact their revenue....

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Re: Shirley...

"The problem then is with nicked pix off facebook et al, so I presume the majority of people save the pic and do a Google image search to see if it's a knock off or a real person's profile "

No need to even do that anymore. Install the "who stole my pictures" firefox plugin and all you have to do is rightclick.

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Paris Hilton

Reflected light

That's all we're talking about here, folks. Surely it isn't for the person in the picture to complain, but rather the person who had the where-with-all to capture it using some optics, a CCD and some other assorted electronics?

Look at how El Reg has been getting away with using Paris's likeness (or is it just a look-a-like?!)...

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Slightly obvious flaw in the plan

Doesn't there come a a point on the first date where the couple have to explain to each other why they don't look quite as much like Tom Cruise/Paris Hilton as their profile picture would suggest?

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Re: Slightly obvious flaw in the plan

er .... this is where the 'scammer' bit comes in. To get that first date the mugu has to pay for his/her would-be beloved's air fare from [wherever] because the scammer has a 'temporary financial problem'.

For example, there's a small industry that extracts cash from lonely American women who fondly believe they are sending it to some Tom Cruise lookalike squaddie in Afghanistan with whom they will one day be united.

If I were the lawyer, I'd focus on the fact that Match.com seems to allow profiles for women living in the USA to be set up from ips in Nigeria and Russia. This might be construed as wilful negligence. INAL but there is such a thing as a 'duty of care' to customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slightly obvious flaw in the plan

> I'd focus on the fact that Match.com seems to allow profiles for women living in the USA to be set up from ips in Nigeria and Russia. This might be construed as wilful negligence.

No, that might be construed as sound systems design. There is no reason at all why someone who normally resides in country A might not be connecting from country B, and attempting to block that would be a) incredibly stupid and b) of great benefit to botnet owners, who would be more than happy to provide you a host of IP addresses in whichever country you like.

A bit like those forms that assume you will have a local phone number, number plate, social security number, etc., etc.

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JC_

Part-time Model

You're so beautiful

You could be a part-time model

But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job

A part-time model

Spending part of your time modeling

And part of your time next to me

Flight of the Conchords :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fake accounts set up by scammer?

I was going to say the same... Most of these dating sites have a pretty simple scheme where you need to pay a small amount to send messages to each other, only to find out that the other party is mostly interested in.... sending and receiving messages. Google the images and you soon find out they were lifted from elsewhere.

So the fake accounts are not run by scammers, they are the core business of the dating sites!

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Re: Fake accounts set up by scammer?

The T&C of Ashley Madison, a site aimed at people looking to have an affair, says that users who have not yet paid the site any money ('Guest' accounts) may get computer generated messages from fictitious profiles that "are NOT conspicuously identified as such". These may cost money to respond to. The site says this feature is "to provide entertainment".

Yeah, right. They also charge to delete accounts.

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Re: Fake accounts set up by scammer?

A friend of mine investigated setting up a dating site in the early 2000s - and paid money into the software.

A _large_ chunk of said software was built around harvesting pics from other sites and generating lots of fake profiles in order to entice real signups. It also claimed to be the most widely used package in the industry and just happened to be supported out of the UK if message headers and IP stamps were any indication.

FWIW I put a Cheribot on my BBS in the 1990s for a laugh and was gobsmacked by how many people would spend HOURS talking to it. We ended up making a dozen variants simply by changing the response phrases and triggers - a lot of pepople thought they were talking to a real person, not a pretty simple Eliza with 500 stock responses.

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An in-depth trawl of UK dating sites a few years ago showed that all the women were "slim" with at least 38" chests; although strangely, the one a friend went to meet had a 58" chest and weighed about 350Kg.

In dating, either domestic or international - video-chat is your best weapon; I've dated numerous women from overseas - and married a Chinese girl - but never actually met a scammer, GTG or GCG.

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Anonymous Coward

Fake staff

I got spam from a company in Maidstone, allegedly from this member of staff:

http://www.sitewizard.co.uk/lucy_windsor.htm

who also appears here:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-55912198/stock-photo--portrait-of-young-pretty-woman.html

All the other Customer Account Managers at site wizard are young, female, and attractive - but not implausibly so. Oh, and most of them have place names as surnames.

The spam is cleverly constructed to appear as if it is a personal message related to your website but of course it is computer generated - they pick out whether or not you are using certain tags, etc., and then put this in the body of the message. Looks a bit stupid, though, when the site in question simply redirects to another domain.

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Anonymous Coward

The lawsuit has merit.

There clearly is damage since it harms the model's branding.

First, if this goes to court... Match.com which is actually part of a larger network of dating sites... can afford the damages. Most likely they will settle out of court or argue that the lawsuit doesn't merit class action. She's suing on behalf of others having photos taken and the question of damages gets skewed. She's a model and that she has actual damages. Joe Citizen? harder to show damages.

Regardless, lets look at the technology...

The issue is that they would have to develop a set of fraudulent photos. That takes time.

What is possible is to flag accounts from known fraudulent sites outside of the US and then determine if they are fraudulent accounts are not.

Using a small cluster and a good algo, you can probably drop the fraud rates down quite a bit. These accounts are probably set up using fraudulent CC info as well...

The bottom line is that there is a way to knock out many fraudulent accounts with a minimum of investment considering that they are already using Big Data elsewhere in their operation.

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You'd be surprised about what you can learn about a photo with Tineye

It's like the Google of images.

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Mushroom

Re: You'd be surprised about what you can learn about a photo with Tineye

Yeah I learned that arseholes think nothing of accusing me of stealing my own photos just 'cos TinEye has seen one of my images appear on several sites!

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