Website helps students find sugar daddies
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 19:01
Students across the country have turned to different means to pay for tuition and rent with college costs rising as the economy has sunk.
One of these involves using sugar daddies.
On SeekingArrangement, a dating website that provides arrangements for relationships based on money, UCF students became the fourth fastest growing user in 2012 when the site released its top-20 fastest growing “Sugar Baby” colleges of 2012.
In 2012, 212 students from UCF signed up for the service, a 330 percent increase from the year before. Three other schools in Florida — the University of South Florida, Florida International University and Florida State University — were in the top 20, but UCF beat them out for the largest increase.
SeekingArrangement believes that such large increase in Florida can be attributed to the failed economy.
“It’s tough," founder and CEO Brandon Wade said in a press release. "The South went from being the epitome of success and money to faring the worst in terms of well-being. Even if NYU is still our biggest ‘Sugar Baby’ university, the growth of southern female coeds seeking the Sugar lifestyle is a move in the right direction to bring back Southern charm.”
The company’s public relations manager, Jennifer Gwynn, said Wade created the site after he had trouble talking to girls. He started the site to show women that chivalry and true gentlemen still exist. Wade himself lived the life of a sugar daddy until he married last year.
Although SeekingArrangement serves two million members worldwide, college students are the biggest demographic at 44 percent, Gwynn said.
“I can definitely understand why college students do it,” freshman advertising & public relations major Christina Monroe said. “I’m broke as a joke right now, but I don’ t need to do that. But I don’t think any less of college students who do.”
Freshman engineering major Patrick Kearney said he doesn’t feel the same way.
“It’s a fake relationship that’s showing younger kids that with money you can get some trophy girls,” Kearney said. “It’s just not how you should try to get a relationship.”
Junior industrial engineering major Joseph Muslimani said the decision is up to the individual.
“You’re selling your personality, basically, but it’s a free market — people can do whatever they want,” he said.
Gywnn said that’s not how it works. Many college students expect their parents to float the bill of college costs, but with the recession, the savings they had stashed away are gone. By using SeekingArrangement, college students can avoid the stress of having a day-to-day job or burying themselves in student loans, she said.
Besides offering sugar daddies, the site also has sugar mommies and both female and male sugar babies.
Despite the site’s credentials of the arrangements, some believe that it’s phony.
“I just think no money equals no baby, since the relationship is founded on money,” Kearney said.
Some students who don’t necessarily agree with the services of SeekingArrangement said they understand the underlying reason for the site.
“It would make me feel really bad about myself, but I can’t judge because my opinions would probably change if I was in that position,” senior radio/television major Amy Ramsay said.
SeekingArrangement serves as a meeting place for both wealthy older men and younger women, and it also offers background checks for its clients, something many sites don’t provide. Members are able to see if someone is background-verified or not. By doing this, people using the site are protected from other people using the service.
“Our entire approvals and customer support team is in-house, so we are proactively searching and preventing users from joining who are attempting to use the site inappropriately or for nefarious purposes," Gwynn said. "We also do not allow any kind of escorting or prostitution on our site as this is a dating website, not a play-by-play encounter.”
Regardless of differing opinions on the matter, millions still flock to the site to find relationships. It serves as a meeting ground for singles searching for affection of some sort. Gwynn said happy endings do exist.
“I will say that we have been invited to dozens of weddings every year, and that most people leave only because they found exactly what they were looking for,” she said.