Now that there’s an established trend of startups marketing their products as “Uber, but for X,” it was only a matter of time before someone came up with an Uber for adult entertainment. And by a matter of time, we mean, like, a week: A startup has just launched Clover, an on-demand service for exotic dancers in the greater Boston metropolitan era.
Much like the German app Peppr, which is essentially an on-demand service for escorts, Clover (not to be confused with the dating app of the same name) lets users swipe through headshots of exotic dancers and select one to hire for an event. Children’s birthday party? PTA bake sale? The possibilities are endless. Your exotic dancer of choice will then arrive at your doorstep within minutes. It’s much like how one would order a cab or bag of groceries.
Clover’s founders, who wish to remain anonymous due to the stigmatized nature of the app, told BostInno that they created the app both to satisfy demand for exotic dancers in the Boston metropolitan area, and to give the dancers themselves a larger slice of the pie in terms of income. While most clubs take a substantial portion of exotic dancers’ tips—10 percent, according to one estimate—Clover would allow exotic dancers to “keep virtually all of the profits [and] their funds are directly deposited into their account by the next day,” the app’s founders say. Clover also runs background checks to verify the app’s users and ensure the dancers’ safety.
It’s this safety aspect that seems like it could potentially pose the biggest issues for Clover: While most brick-and-mortar clubs employ bouncers and security guards to ensure that no patrons hassle the dancers, Clover would have no such infrastructure in place. And although the app offers an “alert button” feature that automatically alerts the authorities if customers feel threatened, it seems to me that Clover would likely grapple with the same types of security issues Craigslist has since its infancy: While it would provide a good platform for dancers to connect with potential clients, it wouldn’t necessarily give them much in the way of a safety net.
In addition, while topless clubs are perfectly legal in Boston, it’s unclear whether Clover would ever pass muster with the famously prudish Apple Store, which is notorious for banning sex or sexuality-themed apps. It’s also possible that Clover will be a cause for concern for the city of Boston, who might greet an on-demand exotic dancer service with about as much enthusiasm as New York and London did for ride-sharing startups like Uber. But the app’s founders assert that Clover is both perfectly safe and perfectly legal.
“Entertainers live a tough life and technology can make their life better,” they recently told BostInno. “We are currently working on how to approach these situations and discussing if we need to get higher-ups involved in these conversations.” Sounds like Clover still has some issues to untangle, so maybe don’t hold your breath for an on-demand lap dance from a boob-tasseled Patriots fan just yet.
H/T BostInno | Photo by Mikey Jones/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)