On Monday, Oodle will officially launch its personals service. Oodle is a classifieds aggregator: it parses and collates results from thousands of sites in response to search queries. And now it's adding personal ads.
A little background: If you're looking for a used sofa or car, Oodle will scan classifieds in your area and link you directly to listings. It's a great way to make sure you're not missing out on a good deal. (It would be much better if Oodle scanned Craigslist, though. Unfortunately, Craigslist forbids it.)
With personals, the game is somewhat different. Many personals sites charge users to make a connection, although they don't charge to browse or search listings. Oodle makes it possible to scan many personals sites at once and get a feel for which site has the most listings that match the type of person you're looking for. It could also be especially useful if you're looking for a particular combination of attributes that doesn't already have a site devoted to it.
Oodle also scans the social networking site Friendster. Other sites (such as MySpace and Facebook) that aren't strictly personals sites may be added. Oodle CEO Craig Donato told me he's not trying to build a global directory of everybody, though, so his developers will need to figure out which profiles are from people looking for dates and which are not.
You can get to the service right now at www.oodle.com/personals. I'm told new features, such as the capability to bookmark personals for later reading, and perhaps a working keyword search tool, will be added over the weekend. More data sources should come on-line shortly, too.