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/ September 15, 2011
Brandon Wade, CEO of Seeking Arrangement, Explains Why NYU Has So Many ‘Sugar Babies’

Hey NYU girls, what would you do to pay off your unbearably high tuition costs? Would you go on dates for cash? If you’re “attractive, ambitious & young” and in the market for a “generous benefactor to pamper, mentor and take care of you,” or just pay your NYU bills, is for you.

The site connects wealthy older men called ‘sugar daddies’ with college girls, or ‘sugar babies’. The girls basically work as escorts and in exchange the ‘sugar daddies’ make it rain.

It’s just like real dating but with way more money and way less emotional involvement. One girl was given an ipod just for showing up to the first date. With 500 registered users, NYU has more “sugar babies” than any other college, so we decided to contact the CEO of Seeking Arrangement, Brandon Wade, to find out more about the site and why so many NYU kids are on it.

How did you come up with the idea for Seeking Arrangement?

I got the idea from my own previous dating experience. I created a website where men can be gentlemen and women can be, well, ladies.

Has the site been successful?

It’s doing really well. We have almost 900,000 members. It seems to be catching on from a pop-cultural trend perspective.

Why has Seeking Arrangement had such success?

For a lot of reasons. A lot of people in my generation grew up idolizing Hugh Hefner, and I created a website where thousands of men could be Hugh Hefners. I mean Hefner created an empire in which women could be proud of their bodies. He changed pop culture and really galvanized the feminist movement. Playboy had really intelligent articles showing that women had opinions and were intelligent and not just sex objects. Also, people forget now that he’s fairly old but when he was gaining popularity, Hugh was a young man. Similarly, our ‘sugar daddies’ are not old men. The average ‘sugar daddy’ is actually 36. They just want someone to take out and have conversation with and a good dating experience. ‘Sugar babies’ are looking for a good time and someone to take care of their needs. Simply, they go out and enjoy each other’s company. I wanted to be Hugh Hefner. I was very geeky and nerdy and lacking social skills, and I was hoping to create a website where I could help men like me become playboys. The concept has done well.

Why are you targeting students for ‘sugar babies’?

Like Mark Zuckerberg figured out, using “.edu’s” is a great concept. There’s so much fraud going around, and there is value knowing that someone is a real person from a real school. Beyond that, people reminisce about college. I started dating when I was in college. College girls are the most active group of daters; once people leave college, they become involved in serious relationships and get married.

NYU has the most sugar babies of any school. Why do you think this is the case?

Well, New York in general is our most concentrated area for users. 15 percent of site users come from the New York area. It’s also because NYU is right in the center of Manhattan. There’s also a high cost of living for people in this area. I guess NYU students are proud to tell people they go to NYU. ‘Sugar babies’ from NYU and from the Ivy Leagues like to put this information in their emails and in their profiles.

 People sometimes refer to Seeking Arrangement as prostitution. How do you respond to these accusations?

Actually, MIT wrote an article about me saying that I was basically the dark side of an MIT mind. But there were 32 comments and opinions arguing this fact, saying that what I was doing was perfectly acceptable. For those that accuse me of exploiting girls, what about the reverse? What about the young girls taking advantage of the wealthy older men? The relationships are mutually beneficial. I also want to point out that people have said that these students are desperate, but when you look at the site, 80 percent are working towards a college degree so this is actually not true at all. Seeking Arrangement is not prostitution; if users want to be prostitutes they can use Craigslist or many other sites. ‘Sugar babies’ do not refer to themselves as prostitutes. The media likes to label them as such even though they themselves do not.

Do you feel strange messing with conventional ideas about sex, love, and relationships? How do you feel money comes into play in all of this?

I think money plays an important role in any relationship. It’s all about money at the end of the day. All romantic relationships include money. When we were cavemen, men were hunting for food. The men who could get the most food were the most attractive. The best men get the best girls. The men who get the most money will be the most successful in relationships. The world gets very uncomfortable when we put money up front, along with a person’s looks and other superficial qualities, but the truth is, wealth is attractive. Money is also extremely practical. A woman wants a man who can take care of her needs. If you have money and you’re showing it off, you’re like a peacock spreading it’s wings, so to speak.