Like Uber, but for street fights. What could possibly go wrong? Supposed brawling app Rumblr billed itself as "an app for recreational fighters to find, meet, and fight other brawl enthusiasts nearby" and several news outlets eagerly jumped on the story of the insane sounding Tinder-for-face-punches supposedly coming to a smartphone near you. There's just one problem — the entire thing is a hoax.
The premise of the app — that two strangers looking to mix it up could swap insults before scheduling a convenient time and place to smash heads — seems absurd. Well, to most of us, anyway. In an email interview with the Daily Mail, the purported developers of Rumblr bullshitted their app in perfect disrupt-ese.
"We've been recreational fighters our entire lives and were tired of the inefficiencies that exist when trying to find someone to fight," wrote Matt Henderson and Jack Kim. "Rumblr alleviates the trouble fighters have when searching for suitable opponents."
It is perhaps a sad comment on the current state of affairs when all anyone has to do to be taken seriously as an app developer is spout off nonspecific language about reducing inefficiencies.
Even Venture Beat, which bills itself as "the leading source for news, events, groundbreaking research and perspective on technology innovation" bought the story.
So if the Rumblr app is (so obviously) fake, then what is actually going on? If you guessed viral marketing ploy, you'd be correct.
Yesterday morning, the day Rumblr was supposed to go live, new creative-consulting agency van Hughes claimed responsibility for the prank.
"Rumblr started as a portfolio project to help us launch our creative consulting agency, von Hughes," reads the press release. "We saw it as an opportunity to show the world our ability to produce a brand and market a product, and that’s what we did."
Noting the surprisingly large interest in an app whose sole purpose is to facilitate hurting strangers, the founders of van Hughes wrote they hoped that energy could be directed elsewhere.
"We understand that some of you were genuinely looking forward to using an app like Rumblr, and we’re sorry to disappoint. However, if you still are truly wishing to release some built-up angst, consider fighting more pressing issues such as gang violence, domestic abuse, and at-risk youth culture."
As to the news outlets that so eagerly reported Rumblr's rise? I have an app to sell you.