Bribe your way to a first date with new dating app

Nov 5, 2013 | Biz/Tech



By: Faiza Amin

A controversial new dating app is encouraging men to bribe women with gifts in exchange for a first date.

The Carrot Dating mobile app launched on Oct. 21, and gained 45,000 paid users in its first three days.

Brandon Wade, founder of the dating app, says the site has an appeal for the mass market.

“Carrot Dating acts as an ice breaker,” Wade told Humber News in a phone interview from Las Vegas. “Some people are looking for love and romance, while other people are looking for something more casual.”

LISTEN: Wade on why he started Carrot Dating

Users log on, choose a person of interest and then pick a bribe to offer in exchange for a date. Once the bribe is accepted, both users can schedule their exchanges.

The bribes are sorted out in different categories; dining, entertainment, gifts and activities. Bribes can be as simple as free drinks or meals, or be as extreme as plastic surgery.

“The act of giving a gift is actually one of the five languages of love and we’re simply integrating that component into the app which makes the dating game perhaps a little more fun,”  Wade said.

LISTEN: Carrot Dating: The craziest bribe

The site has received a lot of backlash; many have argued it’s unethical and borders on prostitution. But the bribe isn’t in any way an incentive for anything other than dinner, Wade said.

“The bribe isn’t a necessary component for anything that happens afterwards, the bribe really is the initial step of breaking the ice,” said Wade

Nicole McCance, a couples therapist, said people love in different ways and gifting people might make them feel special.

“It tells you to what extent they’re willing to provide you with this gift,” said McCance. “If it’s a trashy gift or if there is a meaning behind it based on what they read on your profile.”

However, McCance said she is concerned about the bribing aspect of the dating app.

“The people who are doing the bribing have to be aware of what they’re looking for and what they’re attracting,” said McCance. “If you’re offering high end gifts, and this person is saying yes without knowing you, then it’s starting a relationship off on the wrong foot.”

LISTEN: McCance’s concerns

McCance said her concern is that bribing removes intimacy, and so this form of dating may not lead to a sincere relationship.

“Starting a relationship out materially, it’s starting it out in a really superficial way,” said McCance.

Wade argues that dating itself is already superficial, and the app is just another superficial component of dating.

“Dating is very superficial to begin with, you look at a person’s picture and you decide whether you want to contact that person on very superficial things like how hot that person is,” said Wade.

LISTEN: “Dating is superficial”- Wade

Don’t look to Wade to be offering any bribes in exchange for dates; he said he’s been married to his wife for two years.