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Log In / Register | Sep 22, 2017

App Gathers Crowds for Businesses

A restaurateur who wants to make the right impression at the opening of his new restaurant conjures up a crowd, for compensation, using a new app. Like casting a movie, he stipulates the kind of crowd he wants: young, live or work in the area, certain Facebook "likes," and more. But the app's usefulness is not limited to restaurants: gaming companies and even a stand-up comedian have used it.

Local food bloggers haven’t written about the venue, so you assume the trendy-looking crowd must be the result of contagious, word-of-mouth buzz.

There was a time when that may have been undoubtedly true — when you could trust that a crowd of people was, in fact, a naturally occurring mass of individuals.

But that time may be passing thanks to Surkus, an emerging app that allowed the restaurant to quickly manufacture its ideal crowd and pay the people to stand in place like extras on a movie set. They’ve even been hand-picked by a casting agent of sorts, an algorithmic one that selects each person according to age, location, style and Facebook “likes.” — Peter Holley, The Washington Post

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