THE BLOG

Sugar Daddies for Obamacare?

11/15/2013 11:02 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Controversial tactics are par for the course in politics. Businesses, including online dating sites, do not often make political statements to attract customers. Exceptions to every rule, however, exist. The recent healthcare debacle provides fodder for some online dating sites interested in encouraging individuals to seek romantic partners to cover their healthcare costs. Seekingarrangement.com, a dating site connecting older men with younger, attractive women, recently posted a YouTube video suggesting their site may offer a solution to young women in need of healthcare. The video criticizes and suggests Obamacare is the cause of young women's healthcare woes. The knight in shining armor, however, is not a legislative solution, but a romantic relationship or arrangement.

Couples form relationships for multiple reasons. Many individuals marry for economic reasons, such as tax incentives and healthcare benefits, but economic gain typically is not the primary factor motivating union formation. Seekingarrangement.com proposes that young, attractive, and economically vulnerable women should enter into "sugar daddy" relationships with older men to enjoy healthcare benefits. Despite their sexist and indecent proposal, the viability of Seekingarrangement.com's suggestion seems questionable at best. Many sugar daddy relationships do include gifts, housing, and at times monetary transfers. Suggesting that sugar daddies are willing to add sugar babies to their healthcare plans, however, may be a suspension of reality even for a site like Seekingarrangement.com. At the same time, controversial online dating sites do have a tendency to bend the rules.

Seekingarrangement.com's YouTube video is not a controversial online dating site's first foray into sensationalizing political issues for economic gain. Last May, Congressman Mark Sanford received unexpected and undesired attention from Ashleymadison.com. During his successful congressional bid, Ashleymadison.com posted a billboard in Sanford's South Carolina district highlighting his adulterous past. Ashleymadison.com has brought attention to the past of other political figures, including Newt Gingrich and Prince Charles. To date, dating sites have yet to attack political policies, however.

While many would argue that dating sites should not be in the business of commenting on national policy, capitalizing on political issues to attract users is not a method commonly used by online dating sites. As a result of their already questionable reputations, only more controversial sites like as Ashleymadison.com or seeking seekingarrangement.com are able to highlight political disputes. Mainstream dating sites, such as Match, JDate, and eHarmony, may avoid using ads sensationalizing political blunders because sensational advertisements may not appeal to prospective and current users for whom online dating is a serious endeavor. Moreover, many mainstream dating site users would potentially find the suggestion of seeking a benefactor or using a romantic relationship for economic gain to be offensive.

Seekingarrangement.com's politicization of dating to increase profits represents an interesting marketing strategy. Although many individuals, including myself, do appreciate a clever billboard, advertisement, or YouTube video, the Seekingarrangement.com video primarily leaves much to be desired. I am not referring to healthcare or finding a sugar daddy, however. What national policy will Seekingarrangement.com criticize next? If Obama decides to reform Social Security, I am sure Seekingarrangement.com will begin to develop a marketing strategy targeting American seniors.