All 'date a rich person' services are appalling enough, but today, I present to you a new low: LUXY, the app that is literally being pitched as "Tinder without the poor people."
A press release for LUXY, written by Darren Shuster of Pop Culture Public Relations, is circulating today, and it is both a shining new milestone in the burgeoning pantheon of offensive apps and a fascinating testament to the increasing obliviousness of Silicon Valley.
First, I give you the release, in all of its repulsive, bafflingly tone-deaf glory:
release: TINDER MINUS THE POOR PEOPLE -- Darren
Here's the latest offering by my Silicon Valley-based client, MillionaireMatch.com -- LUXY, it's basically Tinder without the poor people...
TINDER MINUS THE RIFF RAFF:
SHOP FOR AFFLUENT PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
“It works just like Tinder,” said the CEO of LUXY. “With one big exception: Our app allows users to weed out the poor and unattractive.”
SILICON VALLEY, CA -- (September 28, 2014) -- It was really just a matter of time. With Tinder, Grindr and others carving out a niche for themselves in the world of high-speed digital dating, LUXY has launched to work in the same way.
It’s Tinder without low-income dating prospects. In fact, the average income of male users on LUXY is over $200k and those who are unable to keep up financially are immediately removed from the service.
Like Tinder, based on the results of potential candidates, the app allows the user to anonymously like or pass them by swiping or tapping. If two users like each other then it results in a "match" and LUXY introduces the two users and opens a chat.
Who doesn’t want to date somebody both attractive and wealthy? Privately, we all know we prefer to have both of these things. One user said: “Tinder was pretty awesome when it came out, but there’s a lot of riff raff on there. [I] would rather know the guy has a couple bucks in his pocket.”
“With the rise of high-speed digital dating, it’s about time somebody introduced a filter to weed out low-income prospects by neighborhood,” said the CEO of LUXY.
Another user wrote: “Does this mean that we’re all going to flock to Beverly Hills on a Friday night to make a match? Mabye [sic] that's not a bad idea!”
At least two parties—a supposedly experienced PR agent and an actual CEO—thought it would be a good idea to send this message out to journalists. "What if you could just wipe the poors and uglies away like a bad Tinder match," daydreamt an illustrious and apparently wealthy CEO. Now you can, with LUXY.
In the past, apps designed to match the rich with the glamorous, or to help both stay out of 'undesirable' neighborhoods, were at least couched in ambiguous terminology—this app makes no such effort. SketchFactor was deeply embarrassing, but at least it doesn't advertise itself as a way to avoid poor people outright. LUXY unabashedly does exactly that. The last vestiges of nicety have fallen away—now the non-rich are algorithmically eliminated and moved to the right side of the castle moat.
It is so offensive that it almost reads like a hoax; note that the CEO's name is conspicuously absent. But there is a working website, as well as a prior announcement for the service back in August. When I tried to call Darren with the number provided on the release, I did indeed get a voicemail account with his name on it, but haven't heard back.
As such, it might even be satire of how loathsome Silicon Valley's sexist and classist streak has become. I hope so, for all of our sakes.
UPDATE: Darren has reached out to me by email. He says there are 3,000 users on LUXY as we speak.