Screenshot of Gaydar UK, as of 23 August 2009[ref]
|Slogan||What you want, when you want it|
|Type of site||Online dating service|
|Available language(s)||English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese|
|Owner||CPC Connect Ltd|
|Created by||CPC Connect Ltd|
|Alexa rank||332,943 (March 2014[update])|
Gaydar is a worldwide, profile-based dating website for gay and bisexual men, women and couples over the age of 18. Although many of the individual profiles are publicly accessible on the Internet, to gain more functionality and interact with other users, a registration is required and a guest profile must be created.
It was founded in 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa by London-based South Africans Gary Frisch and his partner Henry Badenhorst, after a friend complained that he was too busy to look for a new boyfriend. The initial idea was based upon a then current concept of a corporate intranet that was in development under the codename "RADAR" (Rapid Access And Deployment Resource) for a prominent South African Advertising Conglomerate by programmers Ian Van Schalkwyk and Stephen Hadden. The site was launched in November 1999.
Gaydar and similar sites are widely regarded as having had a major impact on gay communities in many parts of the world. Gaydar allows users to display and receive more detailed and intimate information in many personal areas than is possible in live venues. Some people speculate that internet dating sites may have played a part in shifting the emphasis from cruising grounds — both outdoors and in sex-on-premises venues — to the Internet. Gaydar is popular in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and to a lesser extent in North America and continental Europe.
In May 2013, it was announced that the site had been sold to Charlie Parsons, the creator of Channel 4's Big Breakfast.
Registered users are able to browse through online lists of users who are logged into the site at that time, or through lists of all active profiles. Users can send messages to each other and participate in chat rooms, which — except for the Australian and Irish chat rooms — tend to be dominated by UK users. Users can upgrade from 'guest' to 'member' status by paying a subscription that allows access to all the site's functionality. Members may add more photos into an 'album' attached to their profile that are viewable by other members. Guests face other site restrictions, such as a daily limit of 8 messages that they can send and 25 profiles that they can view, and a limit on number of chat rooms accessible at the same time. Guests cannot view archives of sent messages, and cannot use the friends list and do not have access to all search options. About a third of users are members.
Profiles typically include standard information on age, location, physical features, sexual predilections, hobbies, and pastimes. Profiles usually include a free format description about their owner and what they seek in a partner. There is provision for profile owners to upload a number of photographs, typically of themselves — one as the 'main photo', several as 'secondary photos', and several more as 'private photos' that can be sent as attachments to private messages. Photographs may be sexually explicit. Only paying members may view the sexually explicit images. Images that are not sexually explicit may be viewed by both members and guests. All uploaded images are first screened by a staff member at gaydar for legality.
Controversy and criticisms
A July 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study described sites including Gaydar as contributing to clusters of sexually transmitted infections. Other critics allege that it facilitates barebacking (anal intercourse without a condom), though this criticism is potentially true of any dating site.
Media attention was drawn in 2003 when the website was used by Labour Party MP Chris Bryant, and in 2006, when married Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Mark Oaten used it to find gay sexual partners.
In February 2007, a newspaper revealed that a high-ranking officer of the Greek military had a profile on Gaydar. He was prosecuted, and an MP brought the matter in the Parliament of Greece, accusing the Minister for National Defence of allowing "inappropriate promotions" in the armed forces. The Greek LGBT community protested, but the officer claimed the profile was not his.
In 2011, Gaydar re-introduced "filtering" in chat rooms and member-to-member private messages, where lines containing competitors' brand names would appear to be sent but would not be delivered.
Death of co-founder
The chairman and co-founder of Gaydar, Gary Frisch died unexpectedly at his home in London on 11 February 2007, aged 38 years. A verdict of misadventure was recorded by Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner at the inquest. A pathologist, Dr Peter Wilkins, said ketamine was found in Mr Frisch's blood and liver.
- "Gaydar.co.uk Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Gaydar founder death fall probed, BBC News Online, 12 February 2007
- Obituary: Gary Frisch, The Daily Telegraph, 13 February 2007
- The pink list 2007, Independent on Sunday, 6 May 2007
- Channel 4 Big Breakfast creator Charlie Parsons acquires global dating site Gaydar, PinkNews.co.uk, 17 May 2013
- Hard drive into sex, Positive Nation, April 2003
- E-mail from gaydar support, 8 September 2011
- Gaydar founder in K-fuelled death plunge, Gay.com News (via the Wayback Machine), 20 April 2007