Need a bathroom? A while ago we heard how two guys from New Orleans had set up Airpnp--the toilet equivalent of Airbnp. Frankly, we thought it was a bit of a joke. But then Jamey Edwards got in touch to tell us about Flushd, which is a little like Airpnp, but a lot more ambitious.
Are you ready for the "bathroom economy"? That's what CEO Edwards wants to create with the Flushd app, which is based around about 100,000 bathroom listings from Foursquare. You can review and rate public bathrooms, make use of an "emergency locator button" to find the nearest john, and digest content curated for "in-stall" consumption.
See an irreverent introduction here:
"For us, it's not just about bathroom way-finding," Edwards says. "It's about making that entire experience better for the user. The location is only one aspect of it. The other aspect is about making that a more enjoyable experience."
Since launching last summer, users have submitted about 1,000 of their own reviews, and the app, which is available in an iPhone version, has about 1,200 regular users, Edwards says. (Plenty of people have also submitted bathroom selfies, as you can see from the slide show.)
Edwards sees the bathroom as the last "green space" on the Internet, with everything else controlled by the big companies. He would like to review every bathroom out there, and help drive business to, say, Starbucks, by highlighting superior facilities. "Let's improve the overall quality of the bathrooms to make them more attractive and as a result they'll see more traffic," he says. "It's about proving a [return on investment] on a space that previously was thought a cost center."
The idea of building a brand around toilets started as a joke among Edwards's friends, but gradually became more serious once he realized how much time people spend on the toilet, and that the time is private and (generally) uninterrupted. That makes it a potentially valuable moment for marketing and advertising. "Nobody had tried to build a global bathroom brand before," Edwards notes.
Personally, I won't be opening any app named Flushd anytime soon. But good luck to Edwards. Perhaps there are enough people out there who want to be part of a bathroom economy.