It used to be that gaming was considered a waste of time, the pastime of pasty skinned boys. Something to blame for the lack of connection in our communities. Now, it’s being used to educate our children, bring math to life for adults and…make ridesharing cool?!
Building on the premise that when you add rewards, acknowledgment, visibility to your friends and competition to just about anything, people will be more inclined to do it, Ridekicks is a UK startup that has created Foursquare meets ridesharing.
The premise is simple: Post rides offered, search for one if you need it, then get points for being the driver or passenger on the ride. The more you share, the more you earn. Like Foursquare, you can be bestowed with such grand titles as King of the Road if you are the highest scorer, Home Town Hero for being the top in your town, or get to be Captain Planet if you’ve clocked the most miles as a passenger.
How does Ridekicks intend to make money? Through taking a percentage of the money that a driver gets paid for the ride share. Before a few weeks ago, I’d have thought the income from that would be miniscule. I learned from a friend visiting that, at least here in the US, ridesharing is quite prevalent, as is getting paid for it, currently Craigslist is the go to for it. Ridekicks would simplify the process, enabling parties to have funds exchanged beforehand, leaving them to enjoy the ride. Or not.
Speaking of which, passengers can rate drivers, earning (or taking away) points, and helping others make a more informed choice of who to share a ride with. As has proved tremendously satisfying to users of other social sites, passengers can give drivers “stickers” to post on their profile, earning them 50 points (equivalent to 50 miles.)
The only issue I have with Ridekicks is that though it does encourage people to share rides and thus reduce the environmental impact and load of automobiles on the road, it also encourages people to drive as much as possible to earn more points. Could some end up making extraneous trips they might not have otherwise, for the sake of earning points? Competition does strange things to do the brain.
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.