The internet is very good at bringing different groups together. Google, Trade Me, Ebay and Amazon have brought buyers and sellers together. Uber has brought drivers and passengers together. Airbnb has brought owners and renters together. And now a New Zealand website called madam.co.nz hopes to bring ladies of the night and those willing to pay for them together.
In a release—and with an appropriate metaphor—it says "the oldest industry in the world has been thrust into the 21st century" with what it calls a "professional, personal, playful and discreet escort and massage directory".
The site lets women in the adult industry advertise their services and availability and it uses location-based technology so that users can "quickly find women of their liking and skill set in their area". So, sort of like Tinder—but not free and with guaranteed sexy time.
Those looking for certain 'skill sets' can log-on to the site and choose their 'product' based on hair colour, body shape, price and "service requirements" (the photos are of the individuals offering their services and were all photographed by the company). Then they can contact them by phone call or text message to organise a bit of paid-for rumpy pumpy.
"The site is designed to accelerate growth in high-end services reflecting a sophisticated, technically advanced platform, that works for the advertiser and user alike and aims to aid in growing the advertiser's business in a style that reflects the high-end services they provide."
Rather controversially, Uber has allowed drivers to make money from selling unused space in their cars by tapping into location data. If you were being filthy, you could say Madam is also about selling unused space, and it says the location-based technology lets advertisers check in and change their availability details to suit. So, if they happen to be out getting their groceries, they might be able to park the trolley and meet someone behind the bike sheds if they've got an interested party.
"The site also gives them access to detailed analytics so they can see how many hits they are getting, what time of day traffic is highest, what sort of follow through they receive and which locations are working for them best, allowing them to best manage their time."
Uber and other sharing economy businesses have come under fire from regulators for flouting established rules and potentially creating an unsafe environment. And Madam says safety is of paramount concern with this site too. As such, it features guidelines and recommendations for how to use the location-based technology, it enables women to lodge warnings about certain users and a chat forum is also coming so that advertisers can connect in a secure way and offer advice and discuss any potential problems.
When asked how safety will be guaranteed when users don't have to sign in, they said: "Safety is a huge priority for Madam and we have therefore set up a comms area on the website where advertisers can communicate with each other. If they want to report a user they can share the contact details whether it be phone number or email by which they have been contacted. Madam herself can also share warnings or reports with all girls by communicating with them directly."
The site was developed here in New Zealand, but the creators weren't named, and it is owned by Gold Coast Entertainment, which is owned by a small syndicate of digital and adult industry entrepreneurs based in Australia and New Zealand. The founders are also aiming to remain anonymous "allowing the advertising platform to be focused on and receive an unbiased review from the public." The site is registered to someone named Alice at 330 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North. There are also plans for the website to go offshore and for a male-based advertising platform to launch in the future.