Men are willing to spend money for dates with attractive women, Brandon Wey figured, and decided to set up a web site to test that theory. The result is WhatsYourPrice.com launched in March 2011. So far he’s signed up over a million “Generous Members” around the world who are willing to pay between $20 and $1,000 for a first date with one of the “Attractive Members”.
“My goal with WhatsYourPrice.com is to empower men and women,” Wey explains. “Men like me will be empowered to date women whom they believe were out of their reach or league. Women who believe they deserve better will be empowered to find men who are more able to show they can be generous and able to provide and care for her.”
The vast majority of “Generous Members” are men and “Attractive Members” are women. But a quick browse of member photos on the site’s publicly visible pages shows that some GMs are women, though no men were among the AMs. The home page contains the photos of five GMs and the amount of money they are willing to offer for a first date, ranging from $60 to $190, and five attractive AM’s and the prices they’re willing to take for a first date, ranging from $60 to $130.
It’s an unabashed free marketplace of love — or at least a shot a love.
“On WhatsYourPrice, you put money down to get a girl’s attention, she gets the money to reduce her risk in wanting to meet you, and you get a guaranteed chance to prove yourself,” says Wey, 40. “If you go to Match.com, you pay a monthly fee, and maybe you never meet anyone at all. If you use Zoosk, you pay for credits that allow you to write messages to people, and maybe you never get a response. And if you go out for a night of speed-dating, you’re paying $50 to meet 10 to 15 women. Only one or two might be anyone you’re really interested in, and all of the money goes to the organizers. So you tell me, what system seems fairer?”
The site has opened Wey up to the charge of facilitating prostitution. That criticism is uniquely Americans, he says. People in Europe and Asia don’t seem concerned about the mercenary motives of the AMs or the cynical attitude of GMs. Wey doesnt’ mind the controversy, calling it the “cheapest form of advertising.” But he does seek to justify it by pointing out accpeted practices like Korean booking clubs, where men spend lavishly for tables, drinks and tips to waiters to bring over women who get into the clubs for free, and even Indian arranged marriages in which a man’s financial prospects are advertised to attract prospective brides. And Wey says his site does enforce a measure of decorum.
“We don’t allow people to post things like ‘I can offer GFE,’ or to refer to ‘incall or outcall,‘or any of the other codephrases that are a flag that the person in question is a professional escort… If we end up with that segment of the population on the site, it’s going to be really bad for business.”
WhatsYourPrice isn’t the first site that Wey has started to tap the demand for men willing to part with money for a chance at dates that may otherwise be out of their league. His first entry into that segment is SeekingArrangement.com, where moneyed older men (Sugar Daddies) can connect with “Sugar Babies” for “mutually beneficial relationships”. That was followed by SeekingMillionaire.com on which rich men can connect with young women looking for lucrative liaisons. Both sites quickly became profitable on the cut Wey takes of each transaction. It seems that for every one affluent older men, there are nine young women looking to cash in.
But such arrangements come with risks. Stephen Dent, a great-grandson of Alfred du Pont reputed to be worth $100 million, was blackmailed three times for over $200,000 by sugar babies he met on Wey’s SeekingArrangement.com. Ultimately Dent helped bring down a couple who participated in the third blackmail by cooperating with police on a sting operation which resulted in unwanted publicity for Dent.
Singapore-born Wey says that, at bottom, WhatsYourPrice was launched to level the playing field for guys who rarely get a fair shake in the dating scene — guys just like himself. Even in Singapore he recalls being handicapped by his shyness. After he came to the U.S. at the age of 19 he was further handicapped by stereotypes that kept him from even getting a first date with most women, even after he graduated from MIT and built a successful career as a management consultant, as an executive at GE and Microsoft, and as a tech entrepreneur during the past decade.
“Being an Asian living in America, dating is tough, fighting the stereotypes about Asian men. I was frustrated with the lack of results after joining a dating agency, and numerous dating websites. So I figured that if I wasn’t able to ask a girl to give me 2 hours of their time to impress them, perhaps many other men are having the same problems.”
He concluded that the only solution was an online marketplace that gave successful men a way to date attractive women. Wey spent a month to coding SeekingArrangement.com. It proved to be an instant success. His other sites were logical exetensions that filled different niches of the same basic need. Wey himself is the best advertisement for his sites: he is married to a beautiful young woman who was a sugar baby he met on his own site.