Worst pitch of the month: Blackbook's 'discreet' cheating mobile app

Summary:This month's roundup includes cheating, sexting, and even 'sexy mobile health' apps.


For many people across the U.S. this week, Memorial Day meant the unofficial opening of summer (unless you were in snowy Vermont or foggy San Francisco earlier this week).

Often times, technology news slows down considerably during the long summer months.

But before we get there, May still brought in some curious (and sometimes ludicrous) story pitches to amuse ZDNet writers, and by extension now, ZDNet readers.

See also Worst pitch of the month: Plantronics and the mass employee wedding | Worst pitch of the month: Qpid.me and sharing STD results via text | Worst pitch of the month: 'Beets' headphones by OrigAudio

I'm not sure if I've been dropped from some email list serves because of this column. But fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, my colleagues seem to be getting all the best pickings lately.

Here are a few of the worst pitches received this month that certainly incited a mixture of chuckles, eye rolls, and groans at just how these were possibly conceived.

The (unintentional) common themes in this month's edition might be that sex doesn't always help sell a product -- and that we might have far surpassed the threshold of possible mobile app concepts.

Here's one example of one mobile app that might seem funny (and even useful after too many cocktails), but makes you wonder how this one is getting bankrolled:

Subject: Hello [REDACTED], news and story idea: Ashley Madison releases Blackbook - The most discreet 'cheating' mobile app to date

AshleyMadison.com, the largest discreet dating service in the world with over 18 million members, has released Ashley Madison Blackbook – the best “cheating” mobile application for calling and texting to date.

The privacy of the user is paramount. The mobile security features of Ashley Madison Blackbook utilize many of the same privacy features which are UNIQUE to AshleyMadison.com, including:

-          “Panic Button” - The Ashley Madison site has a localized panic button that appears on every page of the site and when selected will immediately take you to a local, family friendly website.

-          Full Profile Deletion - Removal of profile from the site and search results. Removal of all messages sent and received, including in the recipients inbox. Removal of site usage history and all photos.

-          Private photo showcase

-          SSL encryption

-          Anonymous billing

Noel Biderman, founder and CEO of AshleyMadison.com, is available for an interview and can speak about all topics relating to the app and Ashley Madison.



Besides the fact that this points to the sad, sad world that we live in, the easiest explanation of why it doesn't belong in a ZDNet writer's inbox is that it has nothing to do with what we cover here.

One of the primary lessons to be learned from this column is that anyone pitching story ideas should know their audience. This PR rep does not.

Screenshots via iTunes

Topics: Tech Industry, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Developer


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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