Before we visited RealStars’ web page, we hadn’t encountered Miss Travels promotion video. When we first saw it, we felt that something wasn’t right. It’s like RealStars’ video response states: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When looking for similar behaviors we found the dating site What’s Your Price which resembles Miss Travel very much. Perhaps not strange since it was founded by the same person.
Marketing human company
The concept of What’s Your Price is that members offer a sum of money for a date with another member who finds them attractive and wants to ask them out. When the offers start coming in, the member chooses which person they want to date and confirms the payment which the other member suggests. The two people go on the date and the member who got the offer is given the payment as was settled earlier. Even if they don’t hit it off, the first person will still get paid, according to their instruction and promotion video.
The What’s Your Price video is disturbing in several ways. It’s a marketing of human contact by creating monetary value for the members’ looks and company. One of the underlying themes is that the value of the person is beauty while the ‘buyer’ should be rich and generous. If you are well off you can buy anything, even another human being. If you are pretty you are paid to go to dates, which means there is a market for your body, beauty and company. As if it were something positive.
Who cares if it could be dangerous, it’s profitable!
With their animated video, What’s Your Price also tries to remove the seriousness of the coming transaction, making the subject lighthearted, funny and lucrative. The web page conveys that people who are willing to pay for company are serious and are not only in it for sex. The potential risk that comes with selling your company to someone who finds this behavior acceptable is not mentioned however. Is it dangerous then? Possibly.
The site demonstrates a false sense of security by stating that if the date doesn’t go well, it’s alright to leave with the money the other person promised them.
The service also doesn’t mention what the member who receives payment should be expected to offer in exchange for money. They are paying for company, after all.
It is a form of trade with human beings which is about paying money for someone’s looks, time, body and company, just like several escort services (even though What’s Your Price distances themselves from escorting and doesn’t welcome it on their site). If paying for a person’s time and company also includes sex or sexual services, this service could be considered prostitution. An argument could of course be that the sex or sexual services are voluntary, but how voluntary is it when you are in danger of losing your payment? What happens if the member isn’t satisfied with the date or with the other person’s promised beauty?
What’s Your Price becomes a ’grey zone behavior’’. Something which can easily go wrong or involve unwanted and unacceptable ‘duties’. As does the behavior which the web page What’s Your Price encourages.
Elin Weiss & Hennie Weiss for RealStars