Kickstarter shuts down a ‘Tinder for Adoption’ app. Was it real, or a parody?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Imagine it. A cool mobile app where you can flick through photo after photo of potential children – swiping right for the ones you want and left for the ones you don’t. Nah, not cute enough. Nah, not my type. It’s like a dating app for adoption. But is it real? Is it fake? Whatever it is, crowdfunding site Kickstarter shut it down.

The app’s called Adoptly and the company launched its Kickstarter campaign last week in the hopes of raising $150,000. Only $4,000 was raised before the lights went out, according to this report on Crowdfund Insider. Was it due to the security risks of adopting kids as if they were hookups on Tinder? No, say the people at Adoptly, because the children would come from legally approved, licensed government agencies and that all prospective parents using the app would be subject to background checks.

The company’s co-founder, Alex Nawrocki insisted to The Verge that “We’re not trying to gamify or make fun of this experience. The adoption industry at large is a little bit underserved by the tech industry. We saw this unique opportunity to disrupt it, particularly when you’re talking about online adoption.”

Still, something didn’t seem right, some said. The biggest red flag? The company’s simplistic marketing. The “art mockups, website, and Kickstarter campaign page for Adoptly are so basic and benign as to be suspicious,” writes Nick Statt at The Verge. “The introduction video posted on Kickstarter also veers into satirical territory, using the tackiest staples of the format.”

Kickstarter hasn’t disclosed the reason for shutting down Adoptly’s campaign. You could say it swiped left.

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