Today we were forwarded a press release being distributed by Quicken Loans about the Detroit-based startup Picket Report, "a new online research tool that helps homebuyers find their perfect neighborhood." And how does it do that? By letting you know about schools, crime, or the danger that your neighbors might not be all that WASPY. Our favorite of the multicolored categories that pops up to describe residents is called
Social Pariahs Struggling Societies. It lets you know if your neighbors are likely to be an "economically challenged mix of singles, divorced and widowed individuals in smaller cities and urban areas looking to make ends meet." Basically it lets you know if they might smell like poor people! Oh but there is more than one flavor of that in the grey box.
The system asks you to put a zip code in the rank-o-matic. So we picked America's Cheapest Zip code. Detroit's 48208. It gave us some great new nicknames for who might be our neighbors. Imagine calling over to the porch of an elderly black dude, "Hey SOUL SURIVOR! What is shaking?" or if you see another ethnicity, just say "Hi HARD TIMES, want to come over for beer? I bet you like the cheap kind." If you don't speak Spanish, you may not know the word "cuidad" [SIC*] means city. If you don't speak Quicken start-up, you might not know a CUIDAD STRIVER is a hispanic family that got out of the ghetto and into "mid-scale" living, where they might have been next to SOULFUL SPENDERS, which are upper-middle class black people.
Want to feel like this neighborhood in the 48208 is on the up-and-up. You can boast that the ROLLING THE DICE crowd is also here. No, they are not Detroit casino investors, they are the middle aged people that might be divorced. (Is the dice they are rolling in the dating world? Good luck on Match.com, losers!) So for contrast, we popped in the neighborhood of Bloomfield Hills to see what would happen. See the purple boxes [bottom right] sing out the praises of monied existence. And so now we ask ourselves unanswerable questions. Is it more embarrassing for Detroit that this was born here, or that people might actually use it to decide that Woodbridge is not right for them because it did not sound young and hip (it is).
And is this easily colored-coded rank-o-matic supposed to help people move to downtown Detroit, an area Dan Gilbert supposedly champions? The start-up Picket Report started at Bizdom, "the Detroit-based entrepreneurial accelerator founded by Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans."
* As a tipster points out, it should be ciudad, not cuidad. We think. We don't speak Quicken Loans.
UPDATE: They fixed el typo as of 2:30 pm.
UPDATE #2: They took down the "Lifestyles" section.
· Picket Report [Official]