Atlas Hugged: A Dating Site for Ayn Rand Fans

The Wall Street Journal has a piece on the rise of niche dating sites. It’s pretty interesting, especially the description of Atlasphere, a dating site for fans of Ayn Rand and Objectivism:

A growing number of niche dating sites have popped up to serve people who think they know exactly the type of person they want. These includes Farmers Only, whose 100,000 users may have been attracted to the site’s tagline, “City folks just don’t get it.” More recently, GlutenFree Singles launched for love-seeking wheat-free folks.

Atlasphere founder Joshua Zader, 40, of Phoenix, says niche sites are more efficient than broader sites such as OKCupid or Match.com.

“If you assume that maybe 1 out of 500 people is a serious fan of Ayn Rand’s novels, on a normal dating site you have a 1 in 500 chance of someone sharing the same basic values,” he says. “On the Atlasphere, every profile shows you what you want,” he says. The 10-year-old site has seen a spike in membership in recent years—it has more than 16,000 dating profiles—after two “Atlas Shrugged” movies were released, says Mr. Zader, a Web developer. User handles include “Atlas in Arlington” and “ObjectivelyHot.”

He founded the site after attending Objectivist conferences, where the “open secret” is that most people are there to meet potential partners. “You shouldn’t need to fly to a conference to meet people with your values,” he says.

The site was efficient for Mr. Hancock’s now-wife, Stephanie Betit-Hancock, 33. Her now-husband messaged her 12 hours after she first put up a profile in 2007, and proposed after dating long-distance for six months.

Ms. Betit-Hancock, a schools special-needs coordinator, says she had been “kind of freaking out,” wondering how she’d find someone “rational” to date. She met a man at a meet-up group for fans of libertarian former congressman Ron Paul, but “he couldn’t explain why he supported Ron Paul and why the ideas behind his policies made sense.”

Mr. Hancock, an engineer, says he specifically wrote his profile to “scare people who weren’t serious Objectivists away.”

Read the rest of the piece here. There’s also GlutenFree Singles and Farmers Only dating.

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(via @mims)

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