The uber-socializers at SXSW's Interactive Festival got busy with a different kind of networking this week when the Bang With Friends crew rolled into Austin with "Bang With SXSW," a spin-off of the Facebook app that anonymously matches up friends looking to hook up.
Unlike the regular Bang With Friends, which requires potential hookups to already be friends on Facebook, "Bang With SXSW" shows the names and photos of all the people who have signed up for the service during the festival (some 3,560 festival-goers, according to the site's cofounder). And, just for the occasion, the team introduced more sorting features to deliver the most relevant results based on the last time people logged in to check for a match. (Suggested pairing: this app.)
The organizers of SXSW were not impressed. They sent the Bang With Friends team a cease-and-desist letter on Saturday and had staffers remove their posters—which were deemed "inappropriate"—from the Austin Convention Center. The complaint centered on the unsanctioned use of "SXSW" in the Bang With SXSW URL (originally sxsw.bangwithfriends.com).
The Bang team quickly changed the URL to austin13.bangwithfriends.com, says one of the app's anonymous cofounders, who goes by C. They also added a cheeky disclaimer to the bottom of the landing page stating, "Bang With Friends is in no way condoned or affiliated with SXSW—in fact, it turns out they are not big fans of bangin."
SXSW did not respond to a request for comment.
After its posters were taken down from around the Convention Center, Bang With Friends' guerrilla street team took to local bars to advertise the sexy service. They passed out condoms emblazoned with the Bang logo and images of couples in various sexual positions.
Despite the ban, "Bang With SXSW" had hooked up 221 successful "bangs" as of Tuesday.
[Images courtesy of Bang With Friends]