Face #2 could be my daughter. When I read Girls Around Me, I reacted as any mother of a 20 year old single daughter who lives in Toronto and enjoys the life style that goes with their age — with my maternal instincts!! Shock and desire to protect the naive and vulnerable. I am relieved and not surprised that the app was pulled. That said, there is no question that it is a service that offered great value for it’s users. But it is disturbing that in today’s day and age Apple, Facebook and 4 Square would endorse a product that could expose people in this manner without a clear disclosure strategy. I don’t know what the answer to this is but I think that negative optioning is NOT the answer. It should not be the consumer who has to take the initiative to turn off GPS and privacy profiles. It’s like a warning on a cigarette package – at least make the warning – fully identify the implications.
I am also disturbed by the brand and positioning strategy for the app. Shame on Apple. I might expect it from Facebook and 4-Square – but Apple?! This whole thing might have flown under the radar had the service name been better considered. I’m glad it didn’t. For-profit organizations are looking for revenue streams. Remember in 2007 when TELUS launched downloadable porn on their cell network? They sadly misjudged the power of negative vocal opinion leaders, women’s groups and the religious lobby. But, it’s just a question as to when it’s back. Maybe we will see Girls Around Me be repackaged, repositioned and offered up again when the dust clears. Ethical and legal issues abound.