In the 1990s, Mark Geller was this close to having a dot-com sitcom, a regular TV show based on the adventures of an online dating service. The show never made it to air; the head writer got tapped to write “Greg the Bunny,” a forgetable TV show about a squeaky-voiced rabbit puppet. But Geller finally has dating his Web site.
The site is TrueDater, the latest in a string of services intended to help Internet users vet each other’s online reputations.
The site allows people to post and read reviews of profiles that exist on online dating sites. Wondering whether that hunk of a guy on Match.com is really who he says he is? Stop by TrueDater to see if anyone has served up any dirt on him. It reminds us of a dating reviews feature we mentioned during a profile of NiftyGuy.
TrueDater is the brainchild of Geller, a Stanford grad and ex-valley tech product manager. He fled to Los Angeles in the late ’90s to pitch an idea for a sitcom – inspired by start-up BITSource, where he worked. The plan was for the show to feature the lives of fictional workers at a dating Web site and to include a real-world companion Web site. Geller spent a lot of time researching the field, cruising dating sites and such.
“People would lie a lot,” Geller says about dating site users. “They lie about their pictures, about their age. They just misrepresent themselves. It just seemed to me there should be a site where people can post feedback.”
Backed with angel funding from “pretty prominent young entrepreneurs” from the valley, Geller finally pushed TrueDater out the door a few months ago. As much as anything, the site was a chance for Geller to get his feet wet developing a Web site.
He’s running Google ads on the site. And there are other services planned. But Geller insists he’s not overly focused on money right now.
“It’s more an exercise to grow the community,” he says, “to get people to be honest in online dating. We’re hoping peer pressure will convince people to be honest over time.”