Kickstarter, Indiegogo pull plug on adoption app campaign Adoptly

Adoptly, a Tinder-like child adoption app, was a hoax, its creators explain

It turns out that Adoptly, a Kickstarter- and Indiegogo-suspended campaign that aimed to raise money for a child adoption app in the style of Tinder, is fake. The project came from a duo who previously fooled the media with an app called Pooper, which allowed people to scoop up dog poop for money.

Ben Becker and Elliot Glass said Pooper took “aim at the gig economy” and questioned where people would draw the line. Adoptly, on the other hand, satirized “our tech-obsessed world and our cultural desire to make everything faster, easier, more convenient, and instantly gratifying.” Becker is a creative director in advertising and Glass is a web developer.

“While Adoptly certainly treads into darker, more personal territory than Pooper, our goal was similar: Spark a conversation about the nature of instantaneous judgement, gratification, and the way technology is training our brains to like or dislike based on fragments and surface level information — photos, headlines, tweets, and soundbites — and make decisions, both big and small, based on superficial biases,” Becker and Glass told Digital Trends in an email.

“People, almost universally, had a gut reaction that swiping left and right to adopt a child didn’t feel quite right.

Adoptly was a Kickstarter for an app that promised an easy and faster way to adopt children — but the app used a Tinder-like swipe left and right gesture to help potential parents choose which child they wanted to adopt. This drew immediate skepticism and backlash from the media and other internet forums. Becker and Glass said the goal was never to “belittle” people in the adoption industry.

“The decision to present adoption in a Tinder-like format was purely meant as a jarring affront to everyday tech users, and not as an assault on the adoption industry itself,” the pair said in the email. “Of the few positive reactions to the app, we did hear that although Adoptly may not be an elegant solution, the goal of modernizing and networking more agencies to improve adoption rates is a good one. Some folks also mentioned that anything that gets people talking about adoption and thinking about its issues is ultimately helpful, as it shines a light on an area that doesn’t get nearly enough attention and support.”

adoptly app kickstarter

Becker and Glass hired actors for the launch film, built a website, made a branding package, and designed the user interface of the app to make Adoptly seem as real as possible — it’s also why the app was on Kickstarter first, as the duo thought it would be more realistic.

Reception was skeptical

Kickstarter kicked Adoptly off its platform a few days after the campaign kicked off. When the team moved to Indiegogo, it was suspended again pending a review. Becker and Glass said neither crowdfunding service contacted their team before suspending the campaign. The Adoptly team intended to suspend the campaign early and refund all donations.

While they said initial reception from the media was more skeptical than with Pooper, public reaction “was far more divisive.” A lot of the negative feedback specifically mentioned how the app dehumanized and gamified the process of child adoption.

“People, almost universally, had a gut reaction that swiping left and right to adopt a child didn’t feel quite right,” Becker and Glass said. “On the flip side, some felt that the notion didn’t feel too far-fetched. While others questioned why swiping is okay when searching for a partner in a relationship, and potential lifelong companion, but not in the case of adoption.”

But much of Adoptly’s user interface is based on already-existing standards in the child adoption process — you can, for example, filter children through gender, age, and ethnicity.

“Many thoughtful, well-intentioned and credible people came forward, from both the adoption sector and other areas, as well as prospective investors, to voice their genuine ideas for how to improve adoption, via email, which we really appreciated,” the duo said.

As a result, the team is setting up an email to take in ideas on how adoption can be improved, and they will connect people with ideas to “thinkers, innovators, and possible investors.” You can email if you want to suggest an idea.

Article originally published in January 2017. Updated on 01-31-2017 by Julian Chokkattu: Added news that the Adoptly campaign was a hoax.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Emerging Tech

Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

In the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. There's a million reasons why a project might fail. But with this handy guide, you'll be able to spot the signs of a sketchy project and decrease your chances of getting…
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.

Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks to get started with your new smartwatch

Got your hands on a Fitbit Versa Lite? The smartwatch may be the pared down version of the more expensive Fitbit Versa, but there's still plenty for you to tweak in the settings. Here are our Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.