While conservative Alexander Fondrier completed his undergraduate degree in history at Boston University, he faced a challenging dating scene. Dates either didn’t want to talk about politics or classified themselves as liberals.
So a few years after college, Fondrier, along with two other friends, started a company called Political Matchmakers, LLC and launched their own politically-centered dating websites, RedStateDate.com and BlueStateDate.com.
Under the tagline “find your running mate,” each website caters to those who wish to find a partner with similar political views, be it conservative or liberal.
After Fondrier and fellow BU grad JD Beebe moved to Southern California, the two would meet to talk about possible entrepreneurial endeavors. They had seen other “cookie cutter” political dating sites, but the two young men, along with fellow entrepreneur Francois Briard, decided they could do it better.
“[The other sites] stamped an elephant or a donkey on top and passed it off as a political dating site,” said Fondrier.
The three 20-something business partners designed their sites to better cater to the politically savvy, while acknowledging that being a liberal or conservative is not a “rubber stamp.”
Each website allows users to customize their profile around their political beliefs, breaking it down into various classifications and prioritizing the issues that matter most to them. Members can also list political figures they like or dislike and define how liberal or conservative they want their prospective matches to be. Daily straw polls about current events also allow users to see how dates might match up with their political views.
After a short beta testing period, RedStateDate and BlueStateDate were officially launched about a month before Election Day. The sites already feature the profiles of a combined 3,000+ people, although membership on RedStateDate is higher, as is its following on Twitter, where RedStateDate has more followers than its liberal counterpart.
The company has also released two political parody YouTube ads, one for each site, poking fun at stereotypes. In the BlueStateDate ad, a woman stages an intervention when her female friend is about to go home with a conservative guy who’s carrying a gun and has a photo of Sarah Palin on his phone. In the RedStateDate ad of a similar format, a guy tells his friend the girl he likes is a liberal who voted for Dennis Kucinich and eats tofurkey for Thanksgiving.
Some YouTube commenters seemed confused about whether or not the sites are real or just an Internet joke. Fondrier responded that the point of parody is to be overdone, but they might have to reevaluate their strategy in future ads.
The three partners, who come from various political backgrounds themselves, also worried about possible backlash from operating one site for conservatives and one for liberals. But Fondrier said feedback has actually been positive about catering to both sides of the aisle. The one criticism they receive is that they are further contributing to the sharp political divide, something that Fondrier shrugs off.
“Our niche is politics, and those are the folks that we’re providing a service for, both on the liberal side and on the conservative side,” he said. “And for people who want to date someone who has likeminded political values, this is a product that would really serve them well.”
Fondrier, who describes himself as “pretty dedicated political junkie,” has his own profile on RedStateDate. And while he hasn’t yet found his ‘Mrs. Right,’ he remains hopeful.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if I found someone on my own site?” he joked. “I think that would be — I guess that would make it all worth it.”