REPORT

How is Luluvise still here?

By Jeremy Wilson

Luluvise, or Lulu, the hated “Yelp for Men” app that allows women to rate men, has been going through a bit of a revival over the past few months. The dead-on-its-knees British start-up has upped sticks to the US, and in one final roll of the dice, got lucky. A claimed one in four US college girls now use the app.

Luluvise, lulu, onlulu – we’re not quite sure what the plucky company now calls itself -managed to piss off just about everyone when it launched its vapid app in the UK. The sins it committed were extensive; not only did it allow the depressingly predictable rating of mens’ professional ambition and prowess in the sack, but it pitched itself as a sickly pink product for air-headed bimbos.

The Lulu app, with the worst features of this particular man listed on the left.

The Lulu app, with the worst features of this particular man listed on the left.

The UK press was universal in its loathing of Lulu; the Independent had these charming words to say about the man stalking app.

“The only thing worse than an app that endorses rating men behind their back and making women sound like materialistic dolts would be a site that gets men to tell women how to behave in order to please them…The Lulu site has a blog, called “Dear Dude” that does exactly that.”

And the Daily Mail highlighted most people’s surprise that Lulu was getting away with an app that certainly wouldn’t have received funding if it was for men instead of women.

“If a male-only social network was launched that let men rate their former conquests in terms of attractiveness and sexual ability, it probably wouldn’t go down very well. But somehow, a female-only equivalent is OK.”

If you haven’t seen their original promotional video, watch it.

Unsurprisingly, Lulu bombed in the UK – which makes its American reinvention all the more curious. What’s their secret?

It works like this: a Lulu lackey spams sorority Facebook pages with adverts seeking “Team Leaders”. Lulu bigs ups their credentials by assuring aspiring sorority hires that their fledgling social network has been “talked about” by “Cosmo, Glamour, Techcrunch and even the WSJ!”. Inexplicably, they fail to mention the column inches given to them by this fine publication. Team Leaders are promised “up to” $500, “potential Lulu internship credit” and most thrillingly of all, the chance to compete for a 2014 internship.

And what are Team Leaders required to do? Spam their girlfriends with the good news of Lulu. It’s a simple tactic that has breathed life back into the Lulu corpse and actually put them on the road to becoming what they want to be – the gossip hub for girls.

They’re playing on the sorority/fraternity complex that is introduced to American youths from an early age and adopting the Burn Book from The Mean Girls as a marketing tactic. It’s the same as when energy drink companies pay the coolest university kids to drive around in branded cars, or when e-cigarette companies pay chiseled models to puff on those ghastly vapour things outside clubs. Lulu have doled out pocket money to the popular kids in exchange for making their product seem cool.

Kudos to Lulu CEO Alexandra Chong for figuring out a way to peddle her grim enterprise across the US. It takes real balls to continue hawking your anarchistic excuse for a business when your idea is universally loathed.

Oh well. Looks like we’ll have to wait another year before Lulu’s inevitable combustion.