Ten Years of Yooper Singles

Yes, ten years ago today we launched yoopersingles.com as our second annual April Fools’ Day joke. It was far more ambitious than its predecessor, the Lake Superior Sharks. A decade later the site is still live and continues to hold up pretty well.

I had one goal in creating it, to make it very, very believable that it was a real dating website. And it worked. That first day nearly 1,000 people registered, which is not a drop in the sand compared to a nationally marketed website, but for a target audience focused on Upper Peninsula with just 300,000 people and a $0 budget, that’s a pretty good start. The site has never been marketed, yet for ten years, new people have signed up on a near daily basis.

However, it was never a real website, and it was never meant to be. From day one it was an April Fools’ Day joke that disappointed a lot of people, who, as I learned over time, would really benefit from this site. After signing up, you’re sent to an optional survey, which nearly 2,000 people have filled out.

Some of my favorite details of the site:

  • Making up fake reviews such as “I have finally found my lifetime sauna partner” and “Thanks, for helping me find my lumberjack.”
  • Taking time to write the tiny text people never read, “Yooper Singles members aren’t only serious about finding flannel, saunas, and pasties, they also seek love.”
  • Building your profile and choosing your favorite color scheme between Carhartt tan, buffalo plaid, hunter orange, duct tape gray, and Realtree camo.
  • Choosing your ideal Upper Peninsula weekend, between Isle Royale and Mackinac Island. What question could be a better match of how you want to spend your time, when right here in the Upper Peninsula, we have two major island destinations which couldn’t be any more different than one another.
  • And what I still enjoy most, is if you refresh the page a few times, you’ll eventually see a photo of my very own parents holding hands overlooking my hometown of Baraga at sunset.

Countless times over the last decade people have come up to me asking, “When are you launching Yooper Singles?!”

I’ve had no shortage of time in the last decade to think to myself, “Is it actually a viable website? Could it really exist?” And yes, I believe it is, and I still want it to exist. If there is an ambitious entrepreneur out there who wants to take over a niche dating website, it can be all yours.

After years of thinking about it, I have a fairly clear vision of what I’d like it to become. While the site could certainly have traditional dating site features such as messaging and matching, the primary purpose I’d like to see is organizing in-person events for single Yoopers. Singles night at your favorite brewery, a singles kayaking outing, a singles sunrise hike, and the list goes on. This would allow people to informally meet without pressure, allowing people to make a connection with the simple understanding that they are each single.

The monthly price… $9.06 per month, of course.

There are no new April Fools’ Day jokes from us today, but reminiscing about this era reminds me of some of the best years, I wish I could still create and build at the pace I did ten years ago. Building out this project is still one of my favorite projects to date. Also, I’m serious if someone wants to take this over, it could be yours.
Long live Yooper Singles!

Thanks for all the fun.