Apps are big business. They rely on their ability to disrupt the status quo to make a buck. But there is a fine line between opportunism and greedy exploitation - and it’s a line that ReservationHop and MonkeyParking were called out for crossing just last week.
“We’re not going to stop it because we do not think there is something wrong with it.”
ReservationHop is a company that booked dinner reservations under alias names and the resold the reservations at a profit, with no compensation for the restaurant owners themselves. MonkeyParking charged a fee for allowing drivers auction off their public parking spots in San Francisco. The two startups were called out for unethically profiting from public resources and infrastructure, and were branded with #JerkTech status.
For more background information read “The Rise of the Asshole App”.
In the meantime, these two cowboy companies have got their comeuppance. MonkeyParking has temporarily shut down its its service in compliance with a cease-and-desist order. This comes after initially telling the SF Examiner “We’re not going to stop it because we do not think there is something wrong with it.”
On the other hand, in response to its own harsh backlash, ReservationHop has agreed to relook at the business model that was coining off SF restaurants. Reportedly the company’s founder Brian Mayer has been going around, pink cheeked, personally making apologies to restaurant owners, and looking for ways to work with the restaurants to give them a cut.
That’s good to hear. It seems that even in a climate of neoliberalism, these start-ups have got their just rewards. Nice guys don’t always have to finish last.
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