Worst pitch of the month: Hotspotio and trading Wi-Fi for 'favors'

This month's edition stems from a new Android app with a unique concept that is hampered by an awkward introduction.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

September was a big month in the tech world from an endless barrage of trade shows (Oracle OpenWorld, TechCrunch Disrupt, BoxWorks, just to name a few) to tons of new product announcements (new Kindle Fires, Surface tablets, and iPhones galore).

Somewhere in between all of that madness and delight were some just plain crazy pieces of news (or rather, attempts at making news) that seeped into my inbox.

Passed on to be my one of my ZDNet colleagues, the spotlight for this month's edition of the worst pitch of the month befalls Hotspotio, an Android app that promotes itself as a medium for sharing Wi-Fi and 4G access with other people nearby in exchange for "favors."

Here's a closer look at the pitch:

Date: Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Subject: App Lets You Exchange Wi-Fi for Favors (NEWS ITEM)


I hope you don’t mind the follow up regarding an app that lets friends and strangers share Wi-Fi and 4G connections in exchange for favors like hugs, drinks, Facebook Likes or Twitter followers! Hotspotio, a new Android app, lets users exchange Wi-Fi without sharing a password. It helps people avoid spotty, slow connections by linking them to Wi-Fi and 4G networks that belong to friends, cafes, businesses etc.

Unlike typical Wi-Fi network sharing, which requires people to enter a long complicated password, Hotspotio allows community members to access Wi-Fi in one click. This codeless sharing system is faster and more secure than handing out the actual password. The GPS-enabled map feature makes it easy for users to find all the available hot spots in the network.

Would you be interested in receiving the press release, under embargo until 9/24, for coverage? I could also connect you with Simon Schultz, Co-Founder of Hotspotio, who can speak more on the app and what this means for the mobile industry.

What do you think?


Unfortunately, I think I hardly have to clarify that the Internet can be a terrible, dirty place. Suffice to say that G-rated actions such as "Facebook Likes" were not what first came to mind when we all saw the word "favors."

Even the idea of trading "hugs" makes my skin crawl a little -- not to mention that's a little sad. (The only thing more pathetic might be offering someone $10,000 for one hour of company to play cards in an isolated woodland shack in New Hampshire, but I digress...)

Otherwise, the premise of the app seems promising and maybe even unique. A little editing, and this pitch could have come off quite better.

On a more professional level, having to declare a pitch as a "NEWS ITEM" in the subject line obviously means that this isn't exactly breaking news of the utmost importance either. Just a little piece of advice for future reference, PR folks.

Screenshot via Hotspotio/Google Play

Previous editions of Worst Pitch of the Month:

Editorial standards