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A controversial app that allows drivers to sit in coveted public parking spaces and then sell them off to the highest bidder is shutting its service in response to a biting cease-and-desist letter from the City of San Francisco.
“We are currently reviewing our service to clarify our value proposition and avoid any future misunderstandings,” wrote the people behind MonkeyParking in a blog post published on Wednesday.
The news will come as a relief to critics of “jerk tech,” a new phrase that describes the glut of startups that seek to cash in by “disrupting” a public service or social norm, and short-change everyone else in the process.
The makers of apps like MonkeyParking typically try to defend their products with a patina of free-market rhetoric but, as I’ve argued before, such services are not like Uber or AirBnb, which increase and better distribute the supply of a given services. Instead, as one wag on HackerNews noted, “it’s as if AirBnb were paying people to burn down hotels.”