Whats Your Price: Dating PR with Being Paid to Date
It had to be Gawker the first to report on a new site that allows female members to “Make Money Dating™” – and as puzzling as this may sound, they are not talking about prostitution, although the line is pretty thin, if you think about it. Whatsyourprice.com, ‘coz this is the name of the “innovation,” is the brainchild of Brandon Wade, who founded other “successful” estates SeekingArrangement.com and SeekingMillionaire.com.
Dating sites are nothing new, but dating sites that allow a woman to put a price tag on a first date are. As ridiculous as it may sound for some, it appears that there are already 2880 women registered to date for cash, and 1750 men willing to pay them. This is what you see on the site, but the numbers are higher, if you believe a recent post on Whatsyourprice.com’s blog:
While our website has only been live since March 29th, 2011, we have already had over 10,000 new signups (and we are adding close to 2,000 new accounts a day).
Even so, it’s not much, in terms of numbers, but the site is not even officially launched. According to their press page, the official launch will happen sometime in mid-April, 2011. So for a site that’s not launched, there’s already profit involved, and that’s something hard to achieve these days with an online startup. But again, sex always sells, and no matter what Whatsyourprice.com’s founder would like you to believe, the site is about sex. A first date may not necessarily end with kiss, but it is the foundation of a relationship. What sort of relationship can follow a first date where the woman is not satisfied with a man paying for dinner and expects even to be paid for her time? Will this “generous” member who takes a woman on the first date, pay for every sequential date? One way or another, men always do. Interestingly, with Whatsyourprice.com they have to pay even more. And women, on the other hand, can make a career of dating.
The questionable aspect behind Whatsyourprice.com is the intent of the owners. In a blog entry, they defend against the question raised by the site, with the following argument:
It’s okay to host charity events where first dates with beautiful people are sold off to the highest bidder in the name of helping a charitable cause. But when the same concept is taken to the real world, all of the sudden it becomes questionable.
Well, let’s put it this way then: if Whatsyourprice.com donates all its profits to a charity, other than Wade’s pockets, there will be standing ovations, I bet. In the meanwhile, I couldn’t put it better than Gawker’s Adrian Chen:
The kindest thing you could say about the new dating site Whatsyourprice.com is that it is the perfect place for the world’s laziest dudes and most cynical women to hook up. The least kind thing you could say is that it is mass-scale prostitution.
It would make an interesting study to learn what this site really does for its members, but we know what it does for Brandon Wade, who’d like everyone to believe that the site was born out of the kindness of his heart, for the benefit of fellow men frustrated with using other dating sites:
WhatsYourPrice is a new patent pending dating system that is created out of my own personal frustrations using other dating sites. On a regular dating website, the number of males typically outnumber females amost 2 to 1. So, as a guy with very high standards, I often find myself competing with the hundreds, if not thousand of other guys who would write emails to the most beautiful girls on the site. The result is devastating. I would get few if any responses.
There’s a lot of “juice” in the quote above: Whatsyourprice.com is a patent pending dating system – as puzzling as it may sound. A smart move, considering that when it comes to sex and dating site, copycats don’t waste their time. With or without a patent, Whatsyourprice.com will soon be facing the music, having to compete with a number of other sites that “pay for dating, guaranteed.” When this happens, Whatsyourprice.com will add “the original” to its description.
So Wade smells the cash already: from the members of the site, and from the media buzz that will follow if he plays his cards right, with sponsors lining up to be featured on the site, in newsletters to users, and so on. Who could be the sponsors? For starters, restaurants, offering coupons for first dates, or any other venues which could be considered appropriate for the purpose. Certainly, Wade has already made some plans to monetize beyond the site’s users. Women can join and use the site free of charge, however, the “generous members”, aka the men willing to pay for a first date, have to purchase 1000 credits for WhatsYourPrice.com First Date Guarantee Program.
Screenshot of whatsyourprice.com female user profile. As you see, the “attractive” members of the site are not shy to sell their best features.