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What if playing a game on your smartphone meant meeting a new friend, being entertained, and making actual cash? That’s what Japanese startup Phewtick wants to bring to the global market.
Phewtick, which launched today at the beLAUNCH conference in Seoul, South Korea, is another mobile application for meeting people. But instead of just making a friend, you can actually make cold, hard cash. You do this by playing a game and earning points, which can be exchanged for cash. In order to use the app, you set up an account with your Facebook. Once logged it, the app will read your phone’s location and then supply a list of people in the area. You can view their profiles and then eventually choose someone to meet up with. And you actually have to meet up with them in person.
The app will supply both you and your new friend with a QR code, which must be scanned by the partner’s phone to prove you actually met. Then the game begins, which you play together for points. Ten points equals fifteen Korean won, or .01 USD. You can rack up points, hopefully amounting to a substantial payout, which is then executed through Paypal or direct transfer into your bank account.
The company plans to make money by offering both traditional and localized advertising. On the local front, Phewtick wants to get creative with its advertising by allowing businesses to sponsor their own games on the app. For instance, a restaurant can offer a game on Phewtick, but specify that the people must meet at their restaurant. Then the restaurant pays out the points for that game, but may also gain a new customer.
But there are obvious safety issues that come with meeting people in person after connecting on an app. Those issues came to light recently when dating application Skout had to suspend teenage users after a number of rape cases surfaced. The “flirting” app had a section specifically for kids aged 13-years-old to 17-years-old. Adults, however, were sneaking into the section and violating the underaged users. Three cases have been reported thus far.
Phewtick launched in Korea today, and is expanding to Japan next week, but plans to go completely global soon.
Disclaimer: The beLAUNCH conference covered the costs for my airfare and hotel stay during the event. This does not, however, affect my coverage which remains objective.