Dating is all about good first impressions. The genetically gifted among us have an advantage, especially on dating sites where the first thing most people look at are profile photos. But you might have something to offer that isn’t a six-pack. Internet entrepreneur Brandon Wade realized smarts and savings accounts are just as desirable as toned arms, and wanted to give lonely people a way to leverage those in the dating game.
Brandon Wade is the creator of Carrot Dating, a new site/app combo that lets you give potential dates something more substantial than just the pleasure of your company. Users initiate communication by proposing a “bribe” to the object of their affection. There are more than 20 options in four categories, including dinner, a spa day, and even plastic surgery. If the person accepts your bribe, you’ve “unlocked” their profile and can message them (for an additional price).
“You may not have a million dollars but you can buy someone dinner and flowers," Wade said. "You dangle a carrot on a stick, which is how we came up with the name."
Before the site launched in October of 2013, Wade and his team did market research with the users on the other sites they run: SeekingArrangement.com and WhatsYourPrice.com. They found out which bribes people most wanted to give or receive. They track which bribes are the most popular on the site, and Wade says that out of a hundred thousand users, most are pretty conventional: “The number one thing is flowers, and the number two bribe is dinner. It’s actually not very different from what happens in real life.” In the future, Wade says the site will allow you to name your own bribe, but right now you have to pick from the pre-selected ones.
Both SeekingArrangement.com and WhatsYourPrice.com are focused on connecting rich and generous people with young, fun and sexy singles who can benefit from their largesse. Carrot Dating is for everyone.
When the app launched, their press release quoted Wade as saying, “Women like presents like dogs like treats.” When we asked him about that, he said, “That wasn’t a very smart thing to say. What I meant was that anyone can be incentivized, to get a chance to know them better.” Basically, the site can be used to entice either males or females, but the expectation is that it will be mostly men bribing women.
Some critics have accused Wade of facilitating prostitution through his sites – particularly SeekingArrangement.com, which matches “sugar daddies” with “sugar babies.” He says he’s creating a platform for “generosity dating” or “incentive dating.” Good-looking people – and women in particular – get hundreds of messages every day on dating sites. Carrot Dating gives you a way to stand out from the crowd if you aren’t rich enough to have a “sugar baby.”
We asked Wade point blank: Are you a pimp?
“If making people fall in love is what being a pimp is nowadays, then why not?," he said. "There’s obviously a difference between an actual pimp and the owner of a dating site. Through my marriages and lots of different failed relationships, I realized you never know where you’ll meet your soul mate. On normal days an attractive person would get hit on so many times. You have to provide incentive to get them to say yes to you, and this site is one way to do that.”