San Francisco: When Ayush Agarwal decided to look for love, he thought carefully about his likes and dislikes.
The 28-year-old product manager at Google, who lives in San Francisco, loves Apple products. So he signed up to Cupidtino, a dating website for Apple fanboys and fangirls.
“The idea of pivoting my dating life around Mac ladies was intriguing,” he says.
“It’s definitely a solid conversation starter. Also, having a Mac girlfriend would mean that I wouldn’t end up becoming [her] tech support”.
The site, whose name is an amalgamation of Cupid and Cupertino, the town where Apple is based in California, was founded in 2010 by Mel Sampat and Amol Kelkar.
Their website states the rationale behind its formation: “Diehard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common — personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, taste, and a love for technology. As Apple fans we love to hang out in cafés with our Macbooks and iPhones. [It is] a chance to run into another geek who [is] just as much into photography, design, Netflix, hybrids, the BBC, HTML5, polar bears, Wired, Whole Foods, Coldplay and Angry Birds as we are.”
Kelkar believes these are reasons enough for two people to meet and fall in love. So, too. does Mark Brooks, an online dating industry consultant.
“Apple has built more than a brand. They tried to build a mindset and inspire people to ‘think different’ and that’s a pretty good matching characteristic. So Cupidtino is a really valid dating site, and very unique.”
Rita Clifton, chair of Interbrand, a branding consultancy, agrees. “Apple fans fancy themselves as a bit creative and cool so may also fancy people who share that view,” she says.
The site claims it has 35,000 members.
Cupidtino is not alone in providing a niche dating site. As online dating has expanded, so too have the number of special-interest sites, providing a way for single men and women to refine the volume of potential online matches.
There are sites for people who want to go fell walking on a first date (DateActive), gourmands (Food Lovers Passions) and yoga enthusiasts (Yogaromance).
Could the model, which is not affiliated to Apple, work with other brands?
Kelkar believes there are very few companies that “have diehard fans who identify themselves through the brand”.
Harley-Davidson, Nascar and football teams also have strong allegiances but unlike Apple fans, he says, “they don’t have a balanced male-female ratio”.
Unlike many dating sites, Kelkar says he does not solicit success stories “but many members send us notes, pictures and tweets to thank us for helping them find their partners”.
He cites one love match between Curtis (Cupidtino id: ChadWalker) and Jesse (Cupidtino id: Techgirl1) who met at Cupidtino.
Jesse describes their first date: “Since I love coffee and am a frequenter with my MacBook, he decided we should meet at a local Starbucks ... I saw him walking up and my heart just raced. I was so nervous I could barely move. He walked up to me so confidently and complimented me on my taste of laptop (as he so suavely pulled out his MacBook Pro).”
After a few months of dating, Curtis moved from Palm Springs to Silicon Valley to be near Jesse.
Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, counsels against niche sites, saying that contrary to expanding the pool of prospective dating partners, it may in effect be shrinking the diversity of that pool.
Sampat, who has left the site to focus on his new venture, a photography studio, is blunt on the benefits of an Apple site: “Through Cupidtino at least you’ll get a date, which is a lot more than most geeks.”