For ten long years, possibly longer, I knew this day was coming. Since the idea of floating data and API’s was a dream in the bowl of my hipster hat, I knew the day would happen.

And boy did it happen…. with the “Girls Around Me” app.

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Okay I agree the copy used on the website doesn’t help matters at all but there’s nothing like a storm in a very small teacup to get the tech press on their keyboards bashing away until the sentences come flying out. The issue here my friends is not the app itself. The girl aspect, while not the be all and end all of apps but causes the most prudish of journalist to come out all guns blazing. It’s far more ingrained than that.

If the app were “Dog Walkers Around Me”, or “Coffee Lovers’ Around Me” then I’m working on the assumption that no one in the tech press would have batted an eyelid about the content nor the main issue with all of this. The main issue is the use of data for the taking….

As soon as you link your Foursquare account and Facebook account together you become a targeted dream. We now know all your likes, friends and connections and where you are. And you gave it to us for free, the most treasured jewels in your closet, the secret stuff you just handed on a plate. And now with added API loveliness you just gave it to everyone else too.

With the likes of Grindr and Blendr they are very closed networks, signup and sign in but only be seen by other users on the closed system. Startups hate going this route as it takes up time to build audience. For me it’s the best solution, you know your user base and you control the currency, namely the data, that can be used be third parties.
Many retailers asked me with regards to uVoucher whether it connects to Facebook, I’ve constantly declined. Stating that the data the retailer can retain is of far more importance to them than what social networks claim to offer. To offer customer insight is one thing, to actually do something with it is something else. Most people don’t in my experience. Hiving off a list of email addresses to blanket sell to is not that targeted to me. Don’t let me stop you having a social media presence but your data is your data, not Facebook’s.

Yeah “Girls Around Me” with pivot into something else, quietly relaunch and hope there’s not as much fuss about the main aim of the app, finding a physical connection with another human being. I’m sure there are better ways of doing it but there you are.

Ultimately – Data is my currency and I guard it.

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