Possession Arbitrage

First we had Monkey Parking and now we have ReservationHop:

How I Became the Most Hated Person in San Francisco, for a Day brianmayer.com – This morning I put the finishing touches on, and launched, ReservationHop.com, a site where I’m selling reservations I booked up at hot SF restaurants this Fourth of July weekend and beyond. >

Both seek to make money out of people’s temporary possession of a resource that is in demand, either a parking space or a restaurant reservation. What’s most remarkable about these ideas is that they blatantly attach a monetary value to ephemeral “ownerships” that previously had none. Possession arbitrage, if you will.

People (ok, bums) have been doing this for years by selling places in line to popular events (or just being retained to do same) but this is the 21st century and it’s time to computerize things.

It’s also remarkable how cross these initiatives make the internet.

For all the bluster and apparently different reasons that people hate schemes like these, the real issue is that long standing social contracts are being broken. Contracts that most people are only aware of in the breach and now we’ve now figured out how to automate those breaches. Yay, progress!

But perhaps not all social contracts are worth saving (we’ve abandoned many in the past: casual misogyny, smoking in restaurants, etc). Maybe this is all part of a healthy society changing its norms.


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