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Monkey Parking creator refuses shutdown order, fights San Francisco

updated 10:42 am EDT, Sat June 28, 2014

Public parking spot resale service claims legitimacy, will continue to operate

Startup public parking spot sale app Monkey Parking has vowed to fight the cease-and-desist served onto it earlier this week. The company is claiming that the order is a misinterpretation and invalid use of San Francisco police code, and believes that the model of selling a parking spot that a driver is about to depart is protected by free speech rights.

While issuing the stop order to the company earlier this week, which also demanded Apple retract the still available iOS app, city attorney Dennis Herrera said that the service "creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate. Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely -- to engage in online bidding wars while driving."

"Parked users can make some money just by notifying drivers about the time in which they will leave from a spot," CEO Paolo Dobrowolny said. "It just gives our users all they need to be in the right place at the right time when a parking spot is going to become available. As people leave from parking spots every day, we are just making that moment a valuable moment for them, while providing a service to drivers looking for parking."

City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey likens the sale of parking spots to the sex trade. "It's like a prostitute saying she's not selling sex -- she's only selling information about her willingness to have sex with you. One could similarly imagine drug dealers avoiding 'intent to sell' charges by merely selling information about nearby illicit drugs that are actually available for free. But until and unless the law changes, their business is plainly illegal in San Francisco."

There are multiple companies offering a parking spot resale app, both charge around $5 for each sale, with the person surrendering the spot receiving $3. The cease-and-desist order promises participants in the auctions a fine of $300, and the company a $2,500 per auction penalty as well. The companies have until July 11 before a lawsuit is started by the city.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    "free speech" Where does this person get this idea from? The parking place isn't theirs to monitor or market. It's time for the Police Dept to monitor these apps and fine some people to stop this activity. What's next? State park sites? Airline reservations and seats (you can usually hold the reservation for 24 hrs and cancel without penalty)? They need to find something else to do.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-27-09

    What a tool. Isn't this app based in Italy? What does he know about US law?
    Free speech gives you the right to *say* "give me a dollar and I'll sell you my spot" but it doesn't give yo uthe right to actually sell something that you do not own.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    I can't believe you guys have passed on commenting on the prostitution parallel by the city attorney. Classy!

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    I hope the commercial aspects of this app are destroyed but the idea of helping out your fellow driver to find a spot to park is great. I just don't want courtesy to be put on sale.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-10-01

    The concern is that this will create a "market" where one does not exist. Will people refuse to leave their space until someone "buys" it from them? Will people hire "parkers" to hold a space until someone buys it? How will this exchange work? If I find someone willing to pay for my parking space, how do I prevent someone else from taking it? Do I have to sit in the car until the driver comes by? Does this mean traffic will be backed up while someone waits for me to pull out? What about the guy who just passed my car because I was waiting for someone? Will they get upset that I was hogging the space?

    SF is already working on apps that will point people to vacant parking spaces. ( What this app won't do is allow you to hold the space hostage until someone will pay you for it.

  1. sibeale1

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-06

    When I lived in Manhattan in the mid-1970's, it was common for an "entrepreneur" (usually a local doorman) to "own" a street, park "clients'" cars with large spaces between them, but not large enough to fit another car. Then, when another one of his clients showed up, he'd move a car just enough to fit in the new car. When someone left, he's move a car to prevent someone else from parking. I'm sure this practice wasn't legal, but it seemed to be tolerated by the authorities.

  1. pottymouth

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-19-03

    "helping out your fellow driver"? Seriously? All this app does is screw over the people that don't or can't use it.

    Yeah, the rule-breakers and line-cutters will always be a step ahead of those of us that are more neighborly, but I feel good about where I am.

  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Wow. Read the egotistical garbage they posted on their website:

  1. just a poster

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 06-30-04

    I shouldn't have to compete with a "professional" for a public parking space.


    Download my new App; "Sy-Phon" next time you want gasoline but don't want to pay market prices for it!

    ...and don't forget to get a copy of; "FreeTheGrocer" an app that helps you co-ordinate mass gatherings at grocery stores to steal food while lessening your chance at getting caught and charged by sheer number!

    Or the time-honored, "BanksDon'tNeedIt" which links you to bank teller cameras so that you can time your "transaction" to occur when nobody's there! Talk about "saving" time AND money!

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Don't use the software Monkey Parking, and don't pay anyone for access to a metered space. There. Free speech exercised.

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