Bird Hunting is the new Pokemon Go for Fun and Profit

FrgMstr

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We did not even know this was a thing, but it is. Bird is an rent-to-ride electric scooter company in a number of larger cities. You rent it with your smartphone, then leave it where ever you want. Then later on, contract "Bird Hunters" track the abandoned scooters with their smartphones, collect those, charge those up, and return the scooter back to a Bird rental location. Some folks are making up to $600 a night. Apparently the hardware review business is the wrong line of work. We are now heading to Austin.


Bird is a scooter-sharing company that launched in 2017 and has been dubbed the “Uber of scooters.” Its goal is to alleviate congestion and allow people an easy way to travel quickly for short distances of just a few miles. Riders can locate and unlock scooters using the company’s smartphone app, and after paying the $1 unlocking fee are charged 15 cents per minute during use.

“Charging scooters for Bird is like Pokémon Go, but when you get paid for finding Pokémon,” says Nick Abouzeid, a 21-year-old charger in San Francisco. Several nights a week after work, he and his girlfriend go on walks around the city, collecting scooters and bringing them back to his apartment building to charge in the basement.
 

IcePickFreak

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Well they won't be making that much money once Birds management finds out people are making that much in a night.
 

haste.

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It's kind of genius, though, as a way to keep employee costs low. But I can't believe it would be $600 a night, unless you had a miracle night.

I still think we should go back to 5-cent surcharges on all beverage bottles and cans, that was the way I made money as a kid.
Just find the beer drinking dads in the neighborhood...
 

Gweenz

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Well they won't be making that much money once Birds management finds out people are making that much in a night.
Exactly what I came here to post. If money is being made somewhere, some shitbag will always swoop in to take a cut and ruin it for everyone.
 

Dekar12

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Or the fact that they are using their buildings electric to charge and not their own, I am sure that helps on their bottom line.
 

katanaD

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I still think we should go back to 5-cent surcharges on all beverage bottles and cans, that was the way I made money as a kid.
one of the best parts of our recycling program is the homeless going through the trash getting all the items that can be turned in for money. Heck one old guy that would go through our trash im doubting he was even homeless.
 

Spire3660

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Or the fact that they are using their buildings electric to charge and not their own, I am sure that helps on their bottom line.
Keep in mind it really is cheap to charge these things. My electric bike with 600 watt motor and 48v/10AH battery costs about $0.10 to fill up, and i live in the most expensive electric market in the USA.
 

Woody1150

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“I’d tell anyone getting into this to be safe,” he says. “I’d say to others: Bring mace or a taser because there’s a lot of crazy people out there, even the [chargers themselves]. I’ve had people yell at me, threaten me. It’s the Wild West.”
Sounds like a great time... especially the part where it says people are putting the Birds in places to lure people in to rob them.
 

sfsuphysics

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I still think we should go back to 5-cent surcharges on all beverage bottles and cans, that was the way I made money as a kid.
Go back? It's still very much a thing here, and yeah people do collect cans/bottles/etc, it's not kids doing it though, older Asians go around when it's garbage night and scour through recycling bins (even though it's technically illegal) and you see them walking down the street with huge bags of aluminum cans.
 

sfsuphysics

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San Francisco has a nice view of these scooters, they absolutely hate them, there's always someone to bitch because one time someone did something wrong and so that's now the norm of what everyone does. Scooters are literally left anywhere, middle of the sidewalk, got so "bad" that the city confiscated scooters for the time being, saying the company didn't get the proper permits or whatever shit. And to be fair if you're going to literally use city property as your work environment you should have to get some sort of permission to do so.

That said, yup, as soon as word gets out this is a way to make money then lots will do it and it will be profitable for none.
 

sfsuphysics

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$5-$20. AND you pay to charge it. Plus you pay your time and gas to go get it. Makes sense if you see one somewhere to grab it but thats about it.
Makes sense if you rip the GPS out, pull off stickers of company, give it a quick spray paint, then sell a flea market for a hundred bucks
 

Cyraxx

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I don't quite follow this -

First, I presume that they only pay you if you get a scooter with low (or no) battery left. Otherwise you would just be moving the scooter?

Second, what does the person do after charging it - do they have to take it back to a specified location?

Third - As the person above mentioned - what stops people from just... taking the fucking scooter and not returning it?
 

Silentbob343

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I heard about these in California and thought thank god they're not here...they rolled out service here a couple weeks ago. Almost got run over a few days ago, I was on the sidewalk where they aren't supposed to be.
 

Cyraxx

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I heard about these in California and thought thank god they're not here...they rolled out service here a couple weeks ago. Almost got run over a few days ago, I was on the sidewalk where they aren't supposed to be.
Next time you see one trip them up please. Make them learn a lesson. It's just like bicyclists - they think they are kings or some shit. They drive on the sidewalk when they want - and when they drive on the public roads (like they are supposed to) they think that traffic laws such as stopping at red lights and stop signs don't apply to them. You don't get to cherry pick which laws you like and which ones you dont.
 

Wierdo

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Yeah these are awesome, lotsa fun and convenient. Nice combo with $2 Uber rides around the city, saving me hundreds on transport costs every month.
 

Woody1150

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I don't quite follow this -

First, I presume that they only pay you if you get a scooter with low (or no) battery left. Otherwise you would just be moving the scooter?
I think the rate is based on if you actually charge the scooter or just take it back to a "bird nest" location.
Third - As the person above mentioned - what stops people from just... taking the fucking scooter and not returning it?
The app requires info including a drivers license and I assume a credit card for payment. I would think if you didn't return one they would contact you or charge your credit card. However, there are "chargers" that are purposely keeping scooters and waiting for them to be reported as lost, because you get more money for a "finders fee" for lost scooters.
 

Brian_B

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Well, part of that money is that ~you~ are recharging the scooter. Out of your wall socket (or whomever else you leech from).

From the point of view of Bird - that's a steal.

Can't wait until people start throwing them in the back of pickup trucks to be "repurposed" or "recycled". I'm sure they aren't exactly disposable.
 

Grimlaking

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Well, part of that money is that ~you~ are recharging the scooter. Out of your wall socket (or whomever else you leech from).

From the point of view of Bird - that's a steal.

Can't wait until people start throwing them in the back of pickup trucks to be "repurposed" or "recycled". I'm sure they aren't exactly disposable.
See the whole scooping them up with a pickup. I could totally see someone with a horse trailer cruising around town loading up all of the parked scooters. Throwing them in the back of their trailer that specifically doesn't allow electric signals through. (Actually super easy and relatively cheap to do.) Waiting the week or whatever and dropping them off at a location all nice and charged ready to be used again. Doing that 20 or 30 at a time once a month or so. Should be easy peasy.
 

modi123

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The only bird worth hunting is "Sweet Dee" Reynolds.. the queen TrashBird herself out in Always Sunny... :)
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSgJtWnHMgSpQCEeLo_pL8ZMSWWGhVYmYbAo-RpyjWjSdRsypZj.jpg
 

Brian_B

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See the whole scooping them up with a pickup. I could totally see someone with a horse trailer cruising around town loading up all of the parked scooters. Throwing them in the back of their trailer that specifically doesn't allow electric signals through. (Actually super easy and relatively cheap to do.) Waiting the week or whatever and dropping them off at a location all nice and charged ready to be used again. Doing that 20 or 30 at a time once a month or so. Should be easy peasy.
Or dismantling them and selling them off as parts/recycle/salvage. There are some sizable Li-Ion cells in there, and some pretty fun DC motors.
 

nightanole

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Makes sense if you rip the GPS out, pull off stickers of company, give it a quick spray paint, then sell a flea market for a hundred bucks
Odds are its like the city bikes where they are designed that no parts will fit another normal bike. Odds are they went full nintendo on all the screw heads. And high odds that the battery is like apple, and has to talk to a certified charger which the "Birder" rents. Plus even if the unit is completely dead, its only going to cost 5-15 cents to fill one up even if its dead. These things only have a 500wh battery pack.
 

bbf

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Odds are its like the city bikes where they are designed that no parts will fit another normal bike. Odds are they went full nintendo on all the screw heads. And high odds that the battery is like apple, and has to talk to a certified charger which the "Birder" rents. Plus even if the unit is completely dead, its only going to cost 5-15 cents to fill one up even if its dead. These things only have a 500wh battery pack.
Probably not, this is some start up that rushed things to market as quick as possible. You actually think they put any effort into engineering anything? Anyways even *if* they did, just the Lithium Ion cells in the battery pack would be worth quite a bit and there's no way they're going to make those proprietary.
 

Grimlaking

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Probably not, this is some start up that rushed things to market as quick as possible. You actually think they put any effort into engineering anything? Anyways even *if* they did, just the Lithium Ion cells in the battery pack would be worth quite a bit and there's no way they're going to make those proprietary.
They may not be physically proprietary but you trying finding a bulk buyer that doesn't know that models with the XXX labeling at the front come from these scooters and hence can only legally be purchased through channel Y. I think people trying this will invariably wind up in jail. (Just like the copper thieves often wind up electrocuted.)
 

InorganicMatter

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But I can't believe it would be $600 a night, unless you had a miracle night.
It's the same as people boasting about how much they make with Uber: These big numbers are usually one data point wildly inflated by the Friday night drunk crowd. You don't make that much the other 95% of the week.
 
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