First, I’d like to point out the fact that this app has already been done and failed. See: Ghettotracker.
Second, I’d also like an app where I can avoid hipsters, gentrifiers, people who don’t scoop their dog’s poop and those who think PBR is a real beer.
SketchFactor, which was created by Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington, is basically an app that warns you about certain areas and their “sketchiness”.
The app which launched today on iTunes was created after McGuire’s experience of living in Washington, D.C. and no one told her that parts of H St, NE wasn’t all gentrified and the “Atlas District” and was still considered Trinidad, so she should keep her white ass out. I’m being sarcastic here.
But yes, McGuire did get the idea after “experience as a young woman navigating the streets of Washington, D.C., where she worked at a nonprofit.” Which is pretty much what I meant.
“How can we take large amounts of data and crowdsource opinions on certain areas?” she wondered to herself. “I brought that idea to a Lean Startup event in D.C., it got a huge reception and suddenly I was on my way.”
As one of the finalists in the BigApps competition, SketchFactor is poised to receive more attention when it launches. The founders are also bracing for potential complications from an app that asks anonymous users to judge a neighborhood’s sketchiness. After all, fear can be subjective. And the site could be vulnerable to criticisms regarding the degree to which race is used to profile a neighborhood.
“We understand that people will see this issue,” Ms. McGuire said. “And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we’re concerned, racial profiling is ‘sketchy’ and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets.”
Ms. McGuire and Mr. Herrington are confident that the app has widespread appeal to cities nationwide, especially beyond the New York market.
“I live in New York now,” said Ms. McGuire with a laugh. “So almost nothing’s sketchy to me anymore.
Yeah, lets see how many “reports” of profiling come from the app. As people use it to profile neighborhoods.