We wrote Tuesday about RedStateDate and BlueStateDate, dating sites that offer you the promise of finding the man or woman who loves you for you, but mostly for whether you believe what they believe. Now for a more in-depth look with the site's 27-year-old politico founder, Alexander Fondrier. The sites offer an alluring promise for the politically passionate.
Fondrier runs the business out of Irvine. He said he started the site out of his own frustration with the dating scene, unable to find someone who shared his political interests. "I joined a number of dating sites — both major and niche — in hopes of finding someone who shared my political views, or at the very least was interested in talking politics. Nothing worked," Fondrier said in an email.
As a California resident himself, we had to ask Fondrier about one thing: California's own famed Democratic/Republican couple, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver — who split following revelations of Schwarzenegger's infidelity.
"I'm not sure I want the Governator paying me a visit, so I'll just diplomatically say that I'd guess his positions on Prop 13 or government regulation didn't have much to do with what ultimately went wrong in their marriage," Fondrier said.
He isn't the first to come up with the idea of a political dating site, but he says he found the others lacking. "Even the supposedly politically-themed dating sites ended up being untailored, cookie-cutter property of massive dating conglomerates. There weren't any sites out there developed specifically to suit the needs of political junkies."
The site is more subtle than simply labeling someone a Democrat or a Republican. Yes, they acknowledge the two-party American system with their twin sites, but when users join the site, they fill out a three-part assessment on economic issues, social issues and foreign policy.
"We do this because there are situations where users might be conservative on some issues, but more moderate and progressive on others. For instance, a New England Republican may be conservative on economic issues, but liberal on social issues," Fondrier said.
They offer search features which let users pick out just how liberal or conservative they want their potential mates to be on these issues. You can also list your most and least important issues, the political figures you most like or dislike and — for the real wonks — your favorite political philosophers.
Who are their users, anyway? RedStateDate has received more signups to begin with, according to Fondrier, but the company attributes that to conservative media picking up on the sites first. More recently, "we were featured on Politico and Jezebel, which some would say have more left leaning audiences, and signups on BlueStateDate outpaced RedStateDate significantly," Fondrier said.
"So far, we have noticed that our site has become popular with people working in political consulting, government relations in the private sector, and folks who work in government in D.C. or in state capitols," Fondrier said. He added that they've also seen interest from conservatives in more liberal areas and liberals in more conservative areas.
Fondrier said that a lot of users have also taken advantage of the option to list what campaigns they've worked on, with users who've been involved on the local, state and federal levels. "Sometimes it feels like the LinkedIn for politics," Fondrier said. (Don't tell that to the political forums over on LinkedIn.)
The sites do operate on a premium-based model, so don't expect to get in the dating pool without pulling out your credit card first. They're also looking to expand their user base to offer a wider dating pool to draw from, according to statements on their Facebook page and to KPCC, offering promotions such as currently offering a year free if you pay for just one month, which runs less than $20.
Beyond dating, though, the sites also offer a little more with their political user base in mind, including straw polls on current issues and a political news section. They're not seeking to compete with the OKCupids and eHarmonys of the world, but say they're targeting those passionate about politics.