International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 -- Welcomed by Big Internet Dating Companies Seeking to Corner the Foreign-Women Dating Market

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Regulation of international marriage brokers creates competitive advantage for big Internet dating companies.

The Big Internet Dating Organization (BID) supports the efforts of Internet dating sites in their opposition to criminal background check regulations (see http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/news2005/online-dating-regulation.html). However, despite BID's opposition to background checks, BID supports the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) as it will enable BID's Member Websites to capture more of the cross-cultural dating market.

Cross-cultural dating is the fastest growing segment of the Internet dating industry. It seems that there is a large and growing segment of American men who desire strong family relationships and believe women from other cultures also have this goal in mind. BID’s Member companies facilitate communication between foreign women and American men, although it is not their primary business. Typically, the women do not pay for membership since many come from impovershed circumstances, and the men join as paying members in order to receive their contact information.

Feminist organizations have been seeking to regulate the cross-cultural segment for years. The first law was from Washington State in January, 2002, (House Bill 2667). The feminist groups that helped write the law were mainly focused on International Matchmaking Organizations (IMO’s) that, in their opinion, advertise women as commodities and perpetuate sexist and racist stereotypes of foreign women. However, the law was too inclusive and would have negatively impacted our Member Websites’ cross-cultural segments. Therefore, BID worked with these groups to develop a more narrowly tailored definition that would only affect the IMO’s.

To further separate the IMO’s from the cross-cultural dating business, they were labeled International Marriage Brokers and the law was taken national as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. The hallmark of the law is the requirement that mandatory criminal and marital background checks be performed on each American man and each foreign woman must receive and approve of this information before her email address can be released. This last provision will certainly drive more traffic to BID Member Websites since most men, CRIMINAL OR NOT, will not want to be bothered with all the paperwork and compromise their privacy just to say “hi” to a woman. BID also anticipates that, in addition to the declining customer base, the cost of compliance will drive most marriage brokers out of business.

IMBRA goes into effect on March, 6 2006. Already, the cross-cultural segments of BID's Member Websites are showing increased traffic. BID thanks the writers of IMBRA for their support and appreciate their concern for women worldwide.

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