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Ohlala's 'paid dates' app debuts in New York City

It's launching just in time for the most romantic day of the year.

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Valentine's Day for single folks can be a pretty touchy subject. But New Yorkers who don't have qualms about exchanging money for short-term companionship have an alternative option in Ohlala. It recently launched in Gotham and offers men and women the option of paying for a "date." From the look of things, it's a bit like a cross between Tinder and Uber.

Unlike the worst-case scenario you might have in mind, however, it isn't a process where you swipe for a ride but the driver doesn't show up because you gave him or her your phone number. A press release from the company describes the process as such:

To initiate conversations, Ohlala users create verified profiles in which male users can fill date requests detailing specifications such as time and price range. Requests are made available to all active female users in the area for only 21 minutes, emphasizing an instant dating experience.

Only once the request is accepted can private conversations begin to discuss further details of the date – helping foster a safe and anonymous environment. Once both users have agreed upon the terms of the date, the price of the date is logged, and the date is accepted, users can then take the conversation offline and meet face-to-face under the agreed parameters.

Founder Pia Poppenreiter tells TechCrunch that what happens on a date here is actually a private matter. She also disagrees about the idea of her app being an escort service. Her preferred nomenclature? "A dating app with a payment mechanism built in." It debuted last year in Germany (a profile on Broadly illustrates the ins and outs of the service), and this week's New York launch marks its first trip outside of Deutschland.

Other apps have existed to help find a paid companion in your area -- Poppenreiter previously built another one called Peppr -- Ohlala covers every aspect of the transaction from start to climax, and aims to make those connections quickly. Now it's just up to you to figure out how much a money shot is worth, and if it's legal in your area.

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