'HoboHunt' - most inappropriate iOS, Android apps of 2012


(Developed by Synventus)

Rejected no fewer than three times by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store due to its excessive offensiveness, HoboHunt surfaced in the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront just long enough to remind consumers of the contempt that America's wealthy hold for its poor. HoboHunt--a photo-sharing game that encouraged users to stalk homeless people, snap their pictures, overlay crosshairs and weapons (sold as in-app purchases, of course), then publish the results to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter--began as a spectacularly unfunny in-joke: "The 'Hobo' part [of the title] came about as a friend of mine, who commutes through Washington, D.C., was constantly sending me camera phone pictures of hobos along his route, and making jokes about 'hunting' them as he drove,'" Synventus CEO Joel Usher told Vice. "He also told me that a group of attorneys (at a prestigious firm I won't name) all do the same, and that really triggered the idea behind the app."

HoboHunt was calculated to outrage, and that's the only thing that Synventus got right. Following a flurry of criticism from consumers, homeless advocacy groups and academics, the startup removed the app within weeks of launch. But instead of admitting its smug frat-boy antics had backfired, Synventus tried to spin the app into a catalyst for serious debate on the struggles facing the homeless population: "It seems that HoboHunt has reminded people of a huge problem facing society, and forced them to express their own position regarding the issue," Usher said. "Hopefully these people, so concerned with the plight of the less fortunate, will be moved to actually take some action to help others." Get over yourself, bro.