You heard it here first. There is a new dating app coming soon. But I am not sure if dating is the right category. Whatever category Tinder is in, the Proxtitution app should go there, too.
The bros that make these kinds of things haven’t started it yet. But, trust me, they will start coding the minute they read this. Unlike Tinder, the Proxtitution app is will be monetized from day one as it is fundamentally about transactions. The bros will take a cut. Just like pimps.
New technology spawns newer technology. The impetus for the Proxtitution app is something called “geo-fencing”. Inside of every mobile phone today, there is a GPS chip which can pinpoint where you are at every moment in time.
The app starts out by creating a personal “geo-fence” — a precise, virtual perimeter around you.
Click on and off a button to create a date and location log. If others have the app, and consent is mutual, the logs can be joined by the NFC chip.
This is a revolutionary first step in the transformation of ownership of personal proximity, currently protected by vague nuisance laws, into something more precise, defensible, and for better or worse, marketable.
Unfortunately, this initial use case involves selling personal proximity. But, to be fair, it has been observed lately that lots of new technology generating great social good often starts as inconsequential toys, or in this case, a crass app.
For example, there will be transactional apps based on geo-fencing that will solve the “free rider” problem encountered by street performers. The golden age of this art form is also coming soon.
But, there is more to this app. The real proxtitution begins with “turn on your love light” (from a song by 60s R&B artist Bobby Blue Bland, made famous by The Grateful Dead)
A buyer will see a bunch of dynamically priced “love lights” superimposed over a Uber-like map. He/she texts a consent request to enter a seller’s “geo-fence.”
If the he/she says yes, the geo-date date begins. When either party say enough, the geo-date date ends and credit cards are debited and credited.
Proxtitution will really shine in singles bars. A market for proximity is most efficient if the participants are, well, in close proximity to begin with. Plus, there will still be a need for physical bouncers as there are always a few who don’t respect the rules.
Finally, there are historical precedents for the Proxtitution app. There were ticket-a-dance halls that flourished in the 1920s. Earlier, the city of San Francisco had its Barbary Coast dance halls featuring a business model of commissions paid to dancers based on customer drinking.
And it just might be some bro startup in the SoMa district of San Francisco — just blocks south of the city’s historical Barbary Coast — that produces this digital version of a dance hall.
Maybe the so-called “Hawthorne effect” will work here. Rather that waiting 2 years to evaluate the cultural effect of a new app like Tinder, analyzing a work-in-progress like the Proxtitution app might just affect the outcome.
© Lawrence W. Abrams 2016