This week marked the soft launch of Loveroom, the online service that connects people with extra rooms (or couches or ... bed space) with attractive folk looking for a place to crash. It's basically a semi-nightmarish amalgam of OKCupid and Airbnb, with a hefty helping of prostitution undertones to boot. The story of Loveroom is a story of an almost bamboozle: its founder, Joshua Bocanegra, launched the homepage to see what kind of buzz it would create, only to have the Internet blaze with hoax theories. Set to prove the folks at Forbes—which called Loveroom "too-sleezy-too-be-real"—wrong, and, of course, turn a profit from reports that called the idea "an easy way to ensure...a one night stand," Bocanegra launched the beta version of service. To fête the occasion, here's a 11 fast facts all about the start-up, which officially launches (ugh) Feb. 14.
11. Its founder has essentially said the site will "probably not" devolve into a hookup site, insisting people won't want to invite somebody into their home they don't know well. (If you're going through all the trouble to get to know someone before letting them in your home ... isn't that just dating? What exactly is the service here?) Bocanegra's exact words to Wired were: "I would ask: are you ever going to stay with an absolute stranger at their place? Probably not, unless you're going to stay with someone you feel that you can trust."
10. Bocanegra doesn't know how people will use the site in practice. Will it be a dating site? Free accommodation with extremely problematic unspoken reciprocity expectations? "I'm not sure how most people would use this service yet but currently you can search for others who are just looking for friends, casual dating or a serious relationship," he told Wired.
9. All rooms are free.
8. Much like users of OKCupid, upon signing up, Loveroomers answer a hodgepodge of questions. Coffee or tea? Netflix or Cable? Biggie or Tupac? Steak or Lobster?
7. Of course, there's a separate batch of home-centric quandaries: Candles or air freshener? Carpet or hardwood? Tub or shower?
6. As of right now, there appear to be about 944 users on Loveroom.
5. That being said, @Teamloveroom Tweeted that there are "actually at 3,000 users right now," and that only 5 percent (150) of the users are women.
4. It's a funny statistic considering every single one of the "just joined" users are pretty young women in their 20s.
3. Team Loveroom even wrote up a LoveRoom Safety Advice credo subtitled "How to avoid creeps—and other wacked situations." In it, the company advises you not to dole out your real number and to "make sure your host is a hottie!" by chatting them up on "Google Hangouts, Facetime, Skype ect. [sic]"
2. Another tip on the manifesto: "When renting out your place, have a friend with you. This makes potential losers resist any misbehavior."
1. Loveroom has already launched a couples-only option, which allows pairs to "find couples locally or from around the world to share a pad with." Because what you really want when you're on vacation is to go on a double-date with strangers?
· Loveroom [official site]
· Loveroom, the Airbnb for Attractive People, is Doing the Fake Startup Game Wrong [Forbes]
· All Renters Week 2013 posts [Curbed National]