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Homejoy Mysteriously Relaunches As Fly Maids, Customer Confusion Ensues

Former Homejoy customers were alarmed when their personal data appeared on a plagiarized website site called Fly Maids.

Homejoy Mysteriously Relaunches As Fly Maids, Customer Confusion Ensues
[Photo: Flickr user Benjamin Reay]

Homejoy, the cleaning service that shuttered back in July, is making a comeback under the moniker “Fly Maids”–and has a plagiarized website to boot.

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In a Medium post published Wednesday, a former Homejoy user wrote that he received an email from the now-defunct company, which invited him to use Homejoy’s new partner service, Fly Maids. Upon looking at the Fly Maids site, he found that all of his Homejoy account information–home address, email, and credit card number–had been transferred over to Fly Maids, whose site appeared to be a blatant imitation of the website for Handy, Homejoy’s biggest competitor.

Turns out Fly Maids is Homejoy cofounder Aaron Cheung’s attempt to take another stab at his failed startup. According to a comment Cheung made on aggregator site Hacker News, Fly Maids acquired Homejoy’s domain and customer data. “When we contacted customers, we didn’t tell them we were Homejoy relaunching because we wanted to gauge reception to our new model without the influence of Homejoy’s brand,” Cheung wrote. “As a result, we scared many customers, who expected the worst had happened to their data. We should have told customers upfront who we were, what we were testing, and used original content.”

Cheung added that, as of Wednesday, Fly Maids had deleted all the credit card information it obtained through Homejoy (none of which had been used, he says), and that the company’s Stripe account had been closed. The Fly Maids site has also been suspended temporarily, though Cheung didn’t directly address why it so closely resembled Handy’s.

Still, this brings up the question of what companies should do with customer data if they go under. The onus should be on the company to either dispose of the data, or store it securely–and transparently–if the plan is to relaunch under another name. When Homejoy closed its doors in July, Google immediately swooped in and supposedly hired about 20 members of its tech team. It’s unclear how many Homejoy employees are following Cheung to Fly Maids.

Homejoy, which was founded by Cheung and his sister Adora in 2010, cited a lack of funding and the pressure of mounting worker classification lawsuits when it announced that it was shutting down. But a deep dive into the company’s troubles, published to Medium earlier this week, says a number of former employees claimed Homejoy was facing a multitude of issues, including “mounting losses, poor customer retention, a costly international expansion, run-of-the-mill execution problems, technical glitches and the steady leak of its best workers to direct employment arrangements with its own (now former) clients.”

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About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.

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