We talk to Nicholas Albertus, the man behind XL-Dating, Handicap-Dating, and 46 other dating websites.
This article originally appeared on VICE Denmark.
Nicholas Albertus owns 48 dating sites in 11 different countries, and most of his sites are geared toward very specific segments of the dating population. He has you covered if you're looking for a hot date with someone in a wheelchair, with someone who's overweight, with a single parent, or with an elderly person. Nicholas Albertus is like a Danish Cupid—wing-manning people who generally have a harder time finding love in the traditional dating arena.
The latest addition to Nicholas's arsenal of dating services is Bump—a Tinder-esque dating app that caters to both romantics and the horny. It's the first time that the dating entrepreneur has launched a dating portal that isn't aimed directly at a niche segment. We caught up with the king of Danish online dating to discuss his digital love empire and the road that led to him helping people date.
VICE: I need to get this out of the way first: Is Nicholas Albertus your real name?
Nicholas Albertus: Yes, my full name is Jens-Nicholas Gundorph Albertus. It's real.
Great. So running dating websites is somewhat of a calling to you?
I've been in the industry for 12 or 13 years now, and I'm always throwing myself into new dating site adventures. XL-Dating was one of the first dating sites I created. The market is pretty crowded with Facebook and all the apps and websites that connect people who want to date, so I can't afford not to be on point.
My latest dating app is called Bump. Everything is so superficial these days, so I'm getting my piece of that pie. Bump is a superficial product: You just flick through the profiles, find whatever you're into, and what you're looking for. It can be a casual hookup, a fuck buddy, or a relationship. It's vain, but you avoid misunderstandings. That's what I like about the product.
In the past, you've focused on catering to a very specific niche within single people. Why?
The strategy was to keep going where others fell short. Instead of making a site that appeals to everybody, we target specific audiences. If you're a girl and weigh 280 pounds, you can get in touch with guy you'd like to date on XL-Dating. And he won't be surprised or put off by your weight. You know he'll embrace it.
Where does your desire come from to find dates for people who on regular dating sites would generally be considered less desirable?
I just felt that a lot of people were left out of the dating game to fend for themselves. So I figured I could build a decent business here, while at the same time helping out a group of people having a hard time. And we're very approachable: If people have trouble setting up their profile, they can just give us a call and we'll help out.
How do you manage the sites?
We screen everything before it goes on the site—pictures, bios, everything. We remove all dick pics. I ban about 50 profiles a day for that kind of thing. And then there are a lot of other sexual images, fake profiles, violent and racist comments. We won't have it. We want to maintain a civil tone, so we have to filter through everything.
On which of your sites would you say are the most dick pics uploaded?
(Laughs) I would probably say every one of them.
Even on the dating site for seniors?
Well, OK, maybe not as much on that one. But on the others, we get dick pics like there's no tomorrow. It's not really a problem, because we just erase them as soon as we see them.
So you have people on staff whose job it is to trawl through the sites looking for dicks?
Yes, but let's not make a bigger deal out of it than it is. We have employees who read and look through everything, and it hasn't traumatized us—yet.
How do you feel about making money off of disabled people's romantic lives?
I'm providing a virtual safe space for members of a relatively marginalized part of society to meet in. I think that's a good thing. And it's not like these sites are making me astronomical sums of money.
Do you have any idea how many people have found love through your sites?
Oh, I couldn't tell you. I have met people on the street who recognized me and told me that they met through our dating site and had gotten married. That sort of news definitely makes my day.
Do you personally have a profile on any of the sites?
I have a profile on all of the sites but not for dating: I assist our users with tech support and whatever other troubles they may be having using our sites. I did get a ton of messages when I was on a reality show called Singleliv (Single life) on Danish TV channel Kanal 4. Half of those messages were positive, and the other half said I was a stupid bastard.
If you were forced to shut down all but one of the sites, which one would you keep?
I love XL-Dating and Bump, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with handicap-dating. That's the one where I really feel like it's not about business but about doing something nice for other people. We have a lot of users on that site who need an extra hand, so it takes a fair amount of resources to keep it running. But it's more than worth it.