Thursday, September 6, 2007

Manhunt places official badges on health profiles, the longtime hookup site darling of public health STD control departments, has launched a new idea. I think I like this one. In an email sent out to "Health and Outreach Partner[s]," health liaison Shaun Lord says,

"In an effort to both promote and certify that our site's health related profiles are legitimate, we are excited to inform you that we have created a standardized 'Manhunt Cares' logo that will be used for all health and outreach profiles. No action is required on your part. We will be uploading this logo onto the primary picture space of each profile over the next couple of weeks..."

A touch of background: health departments and community organizations have been allowed to have outreach and partner notification (PN) profiles on Manhunt. These have had various degrees of success as the rules for online PN are still somewhat hazy, outreach volunteers are not always properly trained, and users approached by health profiles do not readily trust that they are legit. However, when used professionally, folks who may need to test are nudged to do so, etc.

So here's why I like this:
1. Standardized health profiles may be easier to trust. Users already have at least some trust for Manhunt itself.
2. Outreach and partner notification profiles will be separated (at least I hope so). This is important since the two tasks have very different goals that are not always clear to the person being approached, and they also have different laws they must abide by.
3. May help outreach worker conduct stay within the lines of legit work. There have been problems in the past with outreach workers soliciting members they are hired to 'help.' The more official they look, the more official they will (hopefully) act.

Here are some of my questions/hopes:
1. In placing these new logos on outreach and PN, will each profile's parent organization be verified? Are they doing what they are there to do?
2. Can this verification help weed out the overlap so that Manhunt isn't overly saturated with health profiles that aren't being used, but rather are just sitting there?
3. Can these two activities be defined somewhere so that users can have some standardized information about what the goals of health dept. online activities are?

Regardless, I'm interested to see how this impacts online partner notification success on Manhunt. Nice work!

Update: Thanks to Mark Brooks for sharing this interesting interview with Manhunt's chairman of the board.


the sak said...

A thought experiment...
the strategy of let's get tested TOGETHER BEFORE we have sex for A VARIETY of sexually transmitted diseases

Mark Brooks said...

I have interviewed Jonathan Crutchley ManHunt's chairman of the board. Here is the interview..

Phalligator said...

Awesome! Thanks for the link.