AUSTIN -- In a city as big as Austin, dating can be challenging, which leads some people to try dating websites and apps. One app tailored to sugar daddy and sugar mama hopefuls has become increasingly popular among Austin government employees.
"Sugar D, plain and simple, is a site, a platform for daters who are older, wealthy men looking to connect with younger attractive women," said Darren Shuster with Sugar D.
All of the users have to be at least 21 years old. Eighty percent of the users on the site are "Sugar Daddies" and 20 percent of the users are "Sugar Mamas."
Over the past 90 days, employees at Sugar D noticed an interesting trend.
"The fastest growing demographic that we've seen the last 90 days as far as members are concerned is government officials based on the '.gov' suffix of the email," said Shuster.
Sugar D reps said across the U.S., the number of government employees downloading the app is up 40 percent. In Texas, it's up 300 percent, from 815 users with .gov email addresses to 4,267. In Austin, it has increased 500 percent, from 267 users to 1,234.
"With the whole Ashley Madison data leakage problem about a month ago, nobody seemed to care. So I think people are desensitized by the whole thing," said Shuster.
The concept certainly is not new. In fact, last year Texas State and the University of Texas at Austin were two of the fastest growing Sugar Baby schools in the country for a competing website, Seeking Arrangement.
We talked with a Sugar Baby named Ari who said there was nothing sexual about her relationship with a Sugar Daddy who is 15 years her senior.
"Every time he would fly in we would hang out and he would just give me money and he was like, 'Oh it's just gas money,' and it would be like $200-$300 here and there and I'd be like, 'Oh cool,'" she said.
Shuster said Sugar D is confident the emails belong to actual employees and are not being hacked because of the national data, and based on the profiles created with the email addresses. Sugar D does not release the names or pictures of its users.