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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Rande Knight

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

    2. Mycho Silver badge

      If it's about the money

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

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    $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.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      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.

      1. Hyphen

        Re: 1.5 mill isn't much

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

        It's US$ 1.5 BILLION.

        1. Scorchio!!
          WTF?

          Re: 1.5 mill isn't much

          She sho must have a purty payer of jugs.

  3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    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.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      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.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        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.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          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.

    2. Amorous Cowherder
      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.

  4. Joe Drunk

    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.

    1. NogginTheNog
      Facepalm

      Re: Doubt she'll win

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

    2. Joe Drunk

      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.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      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.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Doubt she'll win

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

  5. FunkyEric
    Holmes

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

    1. teebie

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

      Hang on...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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....

    3. Scorchio!!

      "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!

  6. Solly

    I'll believe it when i see it

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

  7. Lamont Cranston

    "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?

  8. 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)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      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....

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      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.

  9. sorry, what?
    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?!)...

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    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?

    1. Maty

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  11. 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 :)

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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!

    2. Suburban Inmate
      1. Ian 55

        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.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      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.

  13. Ian Emery Silver badge

    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.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  16. Crisp Silver badge

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

    It's like the Google of images.

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      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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