Photo: Brandon Wade
Readers of “50 Shades of Grey” are flocking to “sugar daddy/sugar baby” online dating site Seeking Arrangement, the company reports.Brandon Wade — founder of Seeking Arrangement and similar sites like SeekingMillionaire.com, WhatsyourPrice.com, and MissTravel.com — told us that of the 1.6 million Seeking Arrangement profiles, the term “50 Shades” is mentioned on them 28,382 times; Christian Grey is mentioned 23,102 times; and Anastasia Steel is mentioned 18,281 times. He claims that 186,000 female members are actively seeking a “Christian Grey” type arrangement.
Click here to see other companies that have benefited from the “50”-craze>
“All of these keywords were popping up when my staff was approving profiles, so we started wondering what this 50 Shades of Grey thing was all about,” Wade said. “I think when you start reading the book, there are many aspects we find similar to what people on our sites are looking for.”
In “50 Shades of Grey,” virginal Anastasia Steele meets bazillionaire Christian Grey who, after making her sign a non-disclosure agreement, gives her a hefty allowance, a car, and a new penchant for whips, chains, and handcuffs.
Seeking Arrangement has an economically similar mission: to connect young women with rich dudes who will pay for their lifestyles.
Thanks to Seeking Arrangement’s nifty tool that makes members complete polls before logging in—”We love getting data on our millionaires,” Wade explained, “like what airlines are they most likely to fly”—since January 2012, almost 42,000 sign-ups (both male and female) attributed signing to “50.” That’s 12.6 per cent of all sign-ups in that period.
While Wade believes that members primarily want to recreate the beneficiary relationship that is depicted in the book, he is also quick to list off members’ interest in BDSM:
- 79 per cent of female members found the idea of succumbing to a ‘dominant’ male like Grey a turn on
- 90 per cent of male members said they found the idea of woman being a ‘submissive’ like Steele exciting
- 43 per cent said they were more likely to use handcuffs in sexual role play
- 47 per cent wanted to experiment with blindfolds and other bondage gear
Confused readers and bookstores have accidentally ordered the award-winning young adult novel 'Between Shades of grey,' about a Lithuanian teen who is sent to one of Stalin's work camps in Siberia, instead of 50.
The book's first line, 'They took me in my nightgown,' doesn't help the situation either. Author Ruta Sepetys told NPR:
'At a bookstore event in Cambridge, Mass., a man approached me after the public discussion and said, 'I must have gotten my dates mixed up, I was here for a different shade of grey ... but hey, did Stalin really kill all of those people?' He may have come for a spanking, but he left with a book about a piece of history that was hidden for more than half a century and he now knows that the Baltics are different than the Balkans. For me, the mix-up is a victory.'
Perhaps the most obvious beneficiary of the '50 Shades of Grey' craze is the sex toy industry.
The novel strongly encourages women to use an exotic array of handcuffs, riding crops, floggers, Ben Wa balls ... the list goes on.
Babeland, a New York-based sex shop, told The Post that it has experienced a 30 per cent sales increase in the last few months and visits to the bondage portion of the site increased by 81 per cent. To accommodate the demand, Babeland created a 50SOG-themed bondage kit, which includes 'Spank Me Baby' body powder, restraints, and a riding crop for $169.
'50 Shades of Grey' takes place in Seattle and has scenes that are set in real hotels in the area.
The Heathman Hotel in Portland offers the 'Charlie Tango' package--Charlie Tango being the name of Christian Grey's helicopter, of course--which includes a helicopter ride and group dinner for six for $2,700.
The Edgewater Hotel, which wasn't even in the book, is offering a $759 '50 Shades of Romance' package, inviting 'lovers to experience the magic of where it all started.' The package includes overnight accommodations in a Premium Waterside guest room along with other goodies found within the book: A bottle of Bollinger Rose Champagne, an Audi rental car, a sailing excursion on Puget Sound, a custom 50SOG landmark map, and a copy of the book for the bedside table (so much for Gideon's Bible).
The protagonist, Christian Grey, drives an Audi R8 Spyder. He then gives Ana a red Audi A3, which she refers to as the 'submissive special.'
50 Shades of Grey made the NYT bestsellers list in March.
Audi has its best sales month ever in April.
Coincidence? Probably--it was Audi's 16th consecutive month of record sales. Still ...
It turns out that the condo Christian Grey calls home, which hosts many of the book's steamiest scenes, really does exist.
The Escala is a luxury building with a 360-degree view of downtown Seattle. A 5,200-square-foot penthouse, like the one found in the book, costs between $4 and $6 million. Basic models begin at $400,000.
Luckily for fans with thick wallets, some apartments are open. But apparently so many fans have stopped by for a quick peek that tours are now only available to potential buyers who have already been pre-approved and pre-qualified.
First-time author EL James is breaking sales record after sales record with the '50' trilogy. After only two months, the first book has sold 765,000 copies (this is three times faster than 'The Da Vinci Code's' sales rate).
Publisher's Weekly indicates how important these sales figures are to booksellers. In Canada, for example, their Q1 sales figures were down 7.38 per cent from last year, and fiction had the biggest drop of 12.6 per cent. But sales for the second quarter are looking much brighter, which PW attributed to the '50' boost.
The crafty Etsy community has created hoards of '50 Shades of Grey'-themed items: from handcuff wine charms, to invitations to the 'Playroom,' to clothing/bumper stickers/coffee mugs sporting the book's many catch phrases.
Especially popular are 50SOG-inspired charm bracelets--Christian gives one to Ana in the book.
In the book, Ana graduates from WSU Vancouver.
So obviously any high school graduate who's hoping to meet a mysterious billionaire who might give her a new car in exchange for a few bruises should consider applying.
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