Empowering Safe and Engaging Online Dating and Social Discovery

We’re the Online Dating and Discovery Association, and we’re on a mission to create a dating and social discovery world that’s safe, fair, and enjoyable for everyone.

Who We Are

The ODDA is the trade association recognised as the voice of the online dating and social discovery sector, supported by a membership who believe in trust & safety, honesty & clarity, and privacy; and who believe in creating a positive experience for users; and a technology ecosystem that supports innovation in the sector.

Our Mission

To encourage a sector that is working on behalf of consumers, creating a safe, trustworthy, and positive dating and social discovery experiences, while working on innovative solutions to challenges.

Our Vision

Online dating and social discovery experiences for users that are safe, trustworthy, fulfilling and engaging, and a world where online dating and discovery fosters positive communication, inclusiveness, and many happy relationships and friendships.

What We Do

Representing the unified voice of the online dating and social discovery sector ‘Putting Trust and Safety First’.

How We Started

The ODA was founded in 2013 by leading dating services who wanted to create a body that would allow the sector to work together on standards and speak as one voice.

They wanted to help users of dating services by demonstrating that the industry had a shared commitment to:

  • be clear on subscription terms and conditions
  • combat fake profiles and block fraudsters,
  • manage personal data responsibly
  • give users practical advice on staying safe online and when dating

The ODA member logo was a mark of assurance for daters.

The standards were originally in the form of a Code of Practice. This helped change behaviours in the industry and build trust and confidence in services that were being used by millions across the world. However, as a rule-based model it lacked flexibility and so in 2018 it was replaced by an extensive package of standards dating services that give advice and guidance, and can be applied globally.

The Standards & Guidance allows us to adapt in a fast-changing environment. It reflects our members shared commitment to users to have an enjoyable, successful, and safe experience.

The ODA was first set up by businesses operating in the UK. Today our membership is international in nature with members and services across Europe, the US, the Far East and elsewhere. This a community we want to continue to grow – to reflect a sector that is now part of everyday life for millions.

In 2024, the ODA relaunched as the Online Dating and Discovery Association encompassing both online dating and social discovery services.

 

Our Members

The following companies are currently members of the Online Dating and Social Discovery Association. Individual sites in membership can be found here.

Our Board
Members

ODA Employee Jess Alderson - Chair
ODA Employee Morgan Cauvin - Deputy Chair
ODA Employee David Brown - Board Member
ODA Employee Duncan Cunningham - Board Member
ODA Employee Michael O'Sullivan - Board Member
ODA Employee Dan Winchester - Board Member

Jessica Alderson was appointed as Chair of the ODDA in September 2023.

Jess is the CEO & Co-Founder of So Syncd, a media company that helps people understand themselves and others on a deeper level. She founded the company with her sister, Louella, and the pair are on a mission to help people build more meaningful connections. The company, which started out as a personality-type dating app, has been featured in publications such as Forbes. Business Insider, Fortune, Fast Company, and more.

Prior to So Syncd, Jess was the Head of Research at Workthere and an equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley. Her passion for equality and inclusion led her to build the UK Women in Tech team from scratch.

Morgan Cauvin was appointed as Deputy Chair of the ODDA in September 2023, having previously served as Chair since February 2021.

Morgan is Head of Government Relations & Policy EMEA for the  Match Group.

Prior to Match Group, Morgan, who started his career as solicitor at the Paris Bar, held various positions in sensitive and exposed industry such as alcohol amongst others.

David Brown has spent 25 years leading customer care, and Trust & Safety for start-ups including online retail in the 90’s, online schools in the early 2000’s, and social networking and dating services since 2006.

Dave was “Director of Trust & Safety” for myYearbook.com from its inception until 2012, and has been “SVP of Trust & Safety” at The Meet Group since. In this current role, Dave and his team are responsible for all things moderation, user safety, and customer care.

Duncan has been the Managing Director of The Dating Lab since 2007, who specialise in providing white label dating solutions to media partners. Before that he worked for its parent company, Spoke Interactive Ltd in a variety of operational and commercial roles. He has been involved in the provision of dating services to the UK media since the early 1990’s.

Michael is the owner of HubPeople Limited and has been with the company since 2009. HubPeople runs a SaaS platform, HubStars Dating for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to launch and promote their own dating site or app and is available in multiple languages and countries. The business has grown significantly since inception, welcoming over 20M new users worldwide in 2020.

A frequent public speaker, Michael is passionate about delivering the best experience possible to the customer. He has been listed in the annual GDI Powerbook of influential dating executives 4 times. He has worked at various software startups and holds degrees in Engineering and Mathematics from Trinity College, Dublin.

Dan Winchester was appointed a Director of the ODDA in August 2013.

Dan is the founder of FreeDating.co.uk, a free UK dating site established in 2005. He is involved in all aspects of the day-to-day running of an online dating service.

Our Executives

ODA Employee To be announced shortly - Chief Executive
ODA Employee Ann Austin - Secretary

Our new CEO will be announced shortly.

Ann Austin was appointed Secretary of the ODDA in August 2013.

Ann has extensive experience working in regulatory and not-for-profit organisations and spent a number of years with the premium rate self-regulatory body PhonepayPlus as Finance Officer and Company Secretary.  Currently, she provides secretarial services to the regulatory committee at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, as well as offering flexible administrative support to businesses.

Our Guiding
Principles

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We believe that collaboration is key. That’s why we work together to develop sector standards, dater safety guidance, and other content to benefit everyone.

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We prioritise inclusivity. Our dating standards and materials promote safety and wellbeing for all services and agencies.

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Compliance is crucial. We prioritise legal compliance and safeguarding personal data, privacy, and consumer protection law for dating service providers.

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We conduct research, gather public opinion, and seek advice from the sector to ensure our work is evidence-based and influential.

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We respond constructively to regulators, the media, and other agencies. We share data and explain the sectorand how it works in as clear and honest a way as possible.

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Our goal is to promote customer choice and value for dating services by establishing regulatory environments that support their operation.

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We will look to our members to be clear with users and others on their support for the Association and their commitment to the standards the ODA develops and promotes.

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We will work to promote the belief no dating service should act in ways that bring the dating industry into disrepute. Membership is subject to this principle.