Irish firm seeks to clean up on social networking

12 Jul 2006

A group of Dublin-based entrepreneurs who have built a business from online dating have turned their experience into an opportunity to help teen social networking players like Bebo and MySpace win back credibility against allegations of bullying and sexual content.

WebSpirit, a company developed by Kevin Greene and Grainne Barrry, who are also the owners of, has come up with a technology called Profile Approval to keep inappropriate material from appearing on websites.

Profile Approval is a business-to-business (B2B) application that allows for photo and profile approving for social networking or internet dating sites.

Grainne Barry, business development manager of WebSpirit, told that the service will help to ensure that inappropriate or misleading photographs or profiles will not be approved and accordingly posted onto websites.

Companies that apply the service can chose between a 24×7 shared service or a dedicated customer service set up to its own bespoke set of rules and criteria. For example, celebrity pictures might not be allowed, whereas bikinis would but topless shots would not.

The service is capable of processing up to 1,500 photographs an hour.

Barry told “This is a service targeted at site owners rather than consumers and would help these sites to maintain credibility by stopping people from posting inappropriate images and text.”

She continued: “These are businesses that want to take their place in the mainstream and this means ensuring that the sites remain clean.”

Barry agreed that the social networking phenomena is only at the early stages of its development and that it’s only a matter of time before the genre moves to mobile.

Barry explained that the company developed the technology on the back of using Cold Fusion software. “The idea was that we wanted to keep our own site mainstream and clean and the technology worked. You could say that five years of experience went into the system.”

By John Kennedy