Female users upload three pictures of themselves: one head shot, one full-body and one optional. The shots are then (supposedly) judged by a panel of twenty men and women on the level of attractiveness. That level of attractiveness then determines how much the woman pays for the site. The most attractive users pay the least ($10) and the least attractive users pay the most ($50).
To “seriously increase anonymity” women can buy a VIP membership that hides their profile from all men except full-paying members.
Male users pay $100 to join the club that allows them to see the profiles of all non-VIP women. In order to communicate with all women, and see VIP women’s profiles, men have to pay $10,000 per region, $50,000 per continent (North American or Europe) or $100,000 for the whole world.
The press release for this new club promises that the women are among the most beautiful in the world (although I have to say that the women currently on the site look just like the rest of us – all beautiful in our own way) and the men are all “prestigious entrepreneurs, celebrities and members of the social elite” (I have no idea if that is true because they are all hidden, even to women who are members).
The site looks like it is using a signaling mechanism and in fact they say as much when they offer women a guarantee that the men they meet “have the money and success they say they have” even thought they do not screen their members to make sure they haven’t just spent every cent they had for the service.
The economic theory that really applies here, however, is not signaling but rather tournament theory in which effort is a function of an uncertain prize.
Interesting to me is that women are rated according to beauty and men are rated according to cash. What does that say about men’s protestations that they see “the whole woman” and women’s protestations that the cash doesn’t matter as much on their list?
I’d say that the thing is doomed, not for the games theory the author puts forward but for the nature of people who would do this in the first place. Who are they? What has happened in their lives that they’re alone and joining this game? What social model to they subscribe to – the gospel?
This seems a game of great deceit and though the women lose out big in this too – emotionally and a little bit of cash – the men lose out big time and much of that cash, I suspect, would find its way into the organizer’s pockets.
And let’s imagine you are one of the men, you have that spare cash. What you’re getting for your investment is a woman who will compromise her principles for money. Imagine you’re the woman. What you’re getting is a man who thinks he can buy and sell you – that everything is predicated on money.