Search for true love. Reward: $100,000; Men are looking for their loved ones with posts on the Internet February 15, 2024 Market

The New York Times

For most of Mati Roy's life, dating wasn't a priority. Although he halfheartedly tried dating apps and would have accepted a relationship if it had developed naturally, finding love didn't seem worth the effort.

But as Roy reached his 30s, his priorities began to change. He spent a lot of time thinking about the idea of ​​having children and decided he wanted to have them too.

In December 2021, Roy set up an online dating profile, also known as “DateMeDoc,” and encouraged people to share it online. He described being 6 feet tall, not drinking, smoking, or taking drugs, and less interested in spending time together than typical couples would be.

So the children were important to make the offer more attractive and he offered US$2,000 (R$9,940) to whoever introduced him to the person he would end up fathering. The money was an experiment and the amount reflected a sum that could motivate people to get involved.

Roy, now 33 and a project manager at OpenAI, the company that owns ChatGPT, called the reward a “dating reward.” A friend offered another US$1,000 (R4,970) with a simpler condition: it would go to the person who introduced him to a person who gave him “a lot of pleasure” for at least 18 months. Another friend, Anatoliy Zaslavskiy, known as Toli, added $500 (R$2,485) with the same 18month condition, bringing the total reward to $3,500 (R$17,395).

Zaslavskiy, now 31 and an engineer at Dropbox, liked the idea so much that he decided to offer his own dating reward: $100,000, payable over a fouryear vesting plan.

“I really liked the startup acquisition structure and thought, 'If this works in the financial world, why can't it work in the dating world?'” says Zaslavskiy, who decided on the value after seeing his had analyzed his expenses and thought about how much he wanted to invest in love.

After the first year of the relationship, the amateur matchmaker would receive a lump sum of US$25,000 (R$124,250). The person then received monthly payments of approximately $2,000 until the entire amount was paid or the couple separated.

For those with a higher tolerance for financial risk, Zaslavskiy suggested an alternative: a profitsharing initiative. If the potential partner agreed to the terms, the matchmaker would receive 10% of the couple's total income under a similar vesting schedule. As their earnings increased, the reward would also increase.

Like Roy, Zaslavskiy posted his reward online. As the documents circulated, commentators derided the idea not only as unusual but embarrassing.

Love and money

The term “bounty” brings to mind bounty posters for catching criminals and is reminiscent of the “bug bounties” that tech companies offer to people who find bugs in their systems. But Roy and Zaslavskiy's courtship rewards could be seen as a return to traditional matchmaking.

They wanted to encourage hookups to find a partner—and in fact, that was the main way people met their partners, says Michael J. Rosenfeld, a Stanford sociologist who has researched how couples meet and stay together.

Rosenfeld believes a dating reward makes sense considering friends and family have lost the habit of introducing themselves to each other.

“This is an attempt to get everyone on board, and that makes sense to me,” says the expert. Plus, he adds, “people don’t treat singleness as an emergency,” but rather as a state of life. “So if you want the people around you to work on it, you have to encourage them by showing them that it really matters.” .

For Zaslavskiy, the strangeness of the idea is part of its appeal. He wasn't afraid of being ridiculed if it gave him more opportunities to find love, and he hoped that the reward would attract the kind of openminded people he would like to date.

At the time, Zaslavskiy, who lives in Brooklyn, was making about $200,000 a year, so monthly reward payments of about $2,000 represented about 12% of his salary.

“I looked at all these things in my life that don’t bring me as much value,” he says. “At that point I was spending maybe $13,000 a month, but did I need all these things I was buying? No way. If I could spend $2,000 of that to find someone I love, then it would definitely have been worth it.”

He mentions Blind, an anonymous gossip app used by some tech people. “It's basically a bunch of tech people complaining about their lives, as a colleague put it,” he says. “Many people there make well over half a million dollars a year and still have difficulties in relationships. I think people on Blind would happily pay more than 10% to have a fulfilling relationship.”

Matchmaker, matchmaker

For most people, $100,000 would be an impressive amount. However, larger sums have already been offered. A billionaire once offered Rachel Greenwald, a professional matchmaker and senior fellow at Harvard Business School, a $1 million reward if she found his wife. She refused.

Greenwald said it's not surprising that it's often men who offer rewards for dating: “Women think it sounds desperate, and men think it sounds like a power play,” she says.

It’s not that there aren’t “dating rewards” in matchmaking. “Marriage bonuses” and “success fees,” when “success” is defined more broadly than just getting married, are common. Greenwald estimates that a third of matchmakers have a contingency fee in their contracts.

Still, you shouldn't confuse the success rate with the dating service itself, says Greenwald. While some professionals such as real estate agents work on a commission basis, the most common business model for dating is a monthly fee with a success bonus. For the best matchmakers, monthly fees can range from $10,000 (R$49,700) to $75,000 (R$372,750) per month for three to six months, with a success rate of $50,000 (R$248,500) up to 1 million US dollars (4.97 R$). Million).

The contingency fee model is not the way the matchmaking business works, Greenwald says. This doesn't take into account that what you are paying for when you go to a matchmaker is not just “success” but also the person's time, their network and their psychological expertise in understanding and guiding the person.

That's why a dating reward can seem vulgar, even if paying for a relationship coach or a premium Hinge subscription is acceptable, says Michal Naisteter, a professional matchmaker in Philadelphia. One seems to pay for expertise and help in selfdevelopment, while the other seems to “put a price on love.”

Claimed a reward

After Zaslavskiy posted his reward, he received about five introductions, two of which led to video calls, but none of which turned into dates. After a reconciliation and breakup with his ex, he's back together and the $100,000 reward remains. He's now into polyamory, so the reward will be paid to the person who introduces him to their main longterm partner.

After about 27 performances, Roy had five video calls and one inperson meeting. Neither led to a romance, but his girlfriend Carrie Radomski, who had previously tried to get him to go on dates, shared her gift on her Facebook page. It quickly drew attacks and caught the attention of Radomski's Facebook friend Carissa Cassiel.

The honesty and specificity of his profile (Roy wanted to have at least two children) caught Cassiel's attention, and the reward seemed smart. But the most important thing was to notice how he dealt with criticism. Commenters said the reward was strange, the profile contained too much information or he looked autistic, says Cassiel, 39.

“I noticed in the comments how he responded to people,” she says. “He was very nice and always said, 'That's a great point' or 'I should change that' or 'Can I add something like that' or 'I don't feel that way'. He handled everything wonderfully, and that seemed very significant to me.”

Cassiel decided to make a comment in Roy's defense. She pointed out that as a single woman, she would like to have a lot of detailed information when evaluating potential dates.

Roy was in Canada and Cassiel lived in Georgia, but the two began messaging each other and spending time together in virtual meetings with mutual friends. To find out if they would work as a couple, Roy moved in with Cassiel for a few weeks and then spent some time in Mexico with her and Thane, Cassiel's son from a previous relationship.

Roy then moved permanently to Georgia. The couple married last April and are raising Thane together. Because the relationship has lasted more than 18 months, $1,500 of the reward was paid to Radomski, who plans to donate the amount to a nonprofit organization. Roy has not yet legally adopted Thane, but if he does, or if the couple has a biological child or adopts another child, Radomski will also receive the original $2,000 reward.

Roy and Cassiel are excited about the potential of dating rewards. He believes that connecting others is a way for people to get paid for their work which is a sign of respect. Cassiel believes that without this, she and Roy may never have met.

“I think it’s brilliant and it really engages people and matters to them,” she says. “I think it also shows drive and determination. It is very exemplary of his personality. When he decided he was ready, he put his heart and soul into it.”