Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Anger mounts over HIV dating ad costs

Wed 22 Aug 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation's expenditure of $3,500 plus gst a week during campaigns which promote its safe sex messages on the NZ Dating website has offended a growing number of gay people who say the largely straight dating website is uncooperative and does nothing to support the gay community. Comments received by are increasingly voicing anger at NZ Dating, seen by many to be dismissive of a community that has embraced its service. "NZ Dating has a large gay following, but is not a queer-owned organisation," explains former Wellington Gay Mens' Health promoter Chris Sibley. "They give nothing to the NZAF in way of contributions and they give nothing in terms of financial support to queer causes and concerns... you would think NZ Dating could at a minimum and as a public service to its customers allow the NZAF to run campaigns at extremely discounted rates, if not for free." In a posting on's Message Board Sibley went even further, accusing NZ Dating of "aiding the spread of disease by denying their clients [easy access to] information to keep their customers safe and healthy". Sibley also believes that when "the negative effects of the funds they suck out of NZAF and away from other needed health promotion work, positive people and needed resources" are considered, "that is an abhorent assault on the queer communities' health and well being." "NZ Dating has done immeasurable damage to the NZ gay scene in so many ways," says Christchurch glbt nightclub owner Bruce Williamson. "Particularly by way of dismembering our real-life community... Having had exchanges myself with its managing director, I am in no doubt that his motivation seems 100% monetary, and he seems totally devoid of any social conscience." Aaron Hailwood, Co-editor of Proud magazine in Wellington says he's worried the NZAF is spending too much on NZ Dating. "They don't have to have their ads there everywhere all the time. A lot of people use NZ Dating but it tends to be the same people all the time and once you've seen those ads, you block them out." The NZAF has defended the high level of spending on NZ Dating by its Gay Men's Health project, pointing out that their messages are reaching large numbers of men going online to meet other men for sex. "Gay Men's Health advertised on NZ Dating for a total of thirteen weeks between February 20, 2006 and August 6, 2007," says the Foundation. "Each ad contained a condom promotion message and also clicked through to a website with further safe sex information." The Foundation says each click-through was an opportunity to ask sexual health questions, and to send off requests for free condoms. "These ads were displayed over 12 million times in an average week, and over 69,000 click-thrus to the respective safe sex websites were recorded over the 13 weeks," say the Gay Men's health team. The NZAF has not advised what proportion of those 'displays' were attributable to men who have sex with men. understands that NZ Dating displays the ads to all their users, gay and straight alike, and is unable or unwilling to target ads only to men seeking sexual encounters with men. Chris Sibley also says that NZ Dating will not allow the NZAF's health promoters to have profiles promoting their health initiatives and engaging with concerned website users and actively bars health promoters from discussing safe sex with men seeking sex with men through the site. "They were there non-aggresively and only responded to people who actually asked them questions. But whenever NZ Dating finds individuals doing such work, their profiles are deleted. contacted NZ Dating to ask if it was standard practise for charitable organisations involved with health promotion to be charged standard 'ratecard' prices for advertising, whether NZ Dating management feels they have a responsibility to foster safe sex habits amongst men who have sex with men, and for details of any instances were the website has been supportive of the gay community or safer sex initiatives. They responded merely that the site has a 'Your Wellbeing' section which provides relevant information in relation to the wellbeing of their members. Further information was not forthcoming. "As GayNZ is a competing dating and advertising service, we consider other elements of your request to be inappropriate," the website's unnamed spokesperson stated. Disclosure: is a non-profit, community based, full-service website provided largely by a small group of volunteers for the benefit of glbt communities. It is commercial only insofar as it must cover operational costs.     Ref:

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 22nd August 2007 - 9:13pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us