A new German-based app wants to cut out the middleman in the sex work trade by allowing customers to connect directly with escorts to arrange “paid dates.”
The app is called “Ohlala” and it has been dubbed the “Uber for escorts” by TechCrunch. Recently, app creator Pia Poppenreiter spoke to TechCrunch about her service where one person pays another person to meet up.
“Whatever those two people want to do — may it be to give company at a dinner or end up in bed together — is a private matter and should be agreed upon in the chat before meeting,” Poppenreiter told TechCrunch. “It’s simple: We match people for paid dates immediately. It actually solves problems in this marketplace, that dating sites and most escort sites don’t solve: We match expectations, on-demand.”
TechCrunch explains that a person looking for a paid date must put out a request for what they are looking to do and include an hourly rate, time period, location, and preferences. The request is received by all nearby escorts on the app who can then chat with the customer and work out an agreement.
The Ohlala website explains that all escort profiles are vetted via a phone call to make sure the appropriate people are using the app. Customers can sign up for free and their profiles are only seen by escorts considering their request. Escort profiles remain private until an explicit agreement is reached.
Ohlala touts that it brings power back into the hands of the escort by allowing them to pick their clients, set their price, and work around their schedule. Wired reports that Ohlala will not take a fee for facilitating the transaction until it starts to build up its user-base.
According to TechCrunch, Ohlala closed a small seed round in June to finance their August launch, but will fundraise again in the near future. Ohalala will only be available in Berlin at first (prostitution is legal in Germany), but there will be an English language rollout soon. In addition, Wired says Ohlala is only available as a mobile web app currently, but will become a native app in the next few weeks, assuming any of the app stores accept it.