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The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the park-that-anywhere dept.
Bennett Haselton writes "If you read no further, use either the BestParking or ParkMe app to search all nearby parking garages for the cheapest spot, based on the time you're arriving and leaving. I'm interested in the question of why so few people know about these apps, how is it that they've been partially crowded out by other 'parking apps' that are much less useful, and why our marketplace for ideas and intellectual properly is still so inefficient." Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

I casually asked a couple of my friends in Seattle -- where street parking is often unavailable, and parking garages vary widely in price -- if they'd ever heard of an app that would let them find the cheapest available parking garage, based on the time they wanted to enter and the time they planned on leaving. (Street parking is usually cheaper if you can find it, but the app would be useful for times that you can't find any.) Most of my friends said that they'd never heard of such an app, but they'd definitely use one if it existed. I also looked up parking apps on Google but the small subset that I randomly tried out, didn't do what I needed. So I thought about writing a "Somebody-with-more-time-than-me-should-go-and-do-this-thing" article, similar to the ride-swapping piece, when one of my friends casually mentioned the BestParking app.

Well, I tried it and it worked. (Lest I be accused of undue favoritism, ParkMe does the same thing just as well, although I didn't find it until later.) In both apps, you bring up a map centered on your current location, or scroll the map to where you plan on looking for parking later. You enter the time that you'll be entering and leaving, and the app shows a map with each parking garage represented by an icon showing the dollar amount that it will cost to park for that time. Without these apps, comparing rates is an annoyingly complex process to do by hand, in a crowded city like Seattle with many garages with different rates (and different times when their "evening rates" kick in -- usually 5 PM, but ranging from 4 to 7 PM), but the apps factor all of that in to give you the cheapest garage for the given time range. You can tap the individual garage icons for more information (if you plan on returning by 11 PM but you're not sure, you'd probably prefer a 24-hour garage instead of one that locks up at midnight). Also, if you're sitting at your computer and you already know the neighborhood where you'll be parking later, you can do the same search on each of their websites. (Although if you are on your phone, please don't do this from a moving car, duh. In Seattle there are plenty of 3-minute spots where you can pull over and do a search.)

So, I've been quite happy with both apps -- but I thought it was interesting that almost none of my friends had ever heard of them. I threw a quick survey up on Amazon's Mechanical Turk website, which I've used before for crowdsourced surveys and other experiments. I polled 50 people, offering them 25 cents apiece to answer these questions:

Would you use these apps? Section A: Parking garage app

Suppose a website and/or smartphone app existed where you could specify a neighborhood of a city, and enter a start and end time for when you wanted to park, and the app would automatically find the cheapest parking garage for that time range (assuming its too hard to find street parking).

1. Are you aware of any such apps/websites that already exist? If yes, whats the name of the app? (No need to do a web search -- only answer "Yes" if you already know of such an app or website.)

2. Would you use such an app/website if it existed? (Or, if youre aware of such an app that already exists, do you use it?)

Yes/No Section B: Spare room rental app

Suppose a website and/or smartphone app existed where you could list a room in your house as a temporary rental, and visitors to your city could rent it out for a single night, or more.

3. Are you aware of any such apps/websites that already exist? If yes, whats the name of the app? (No need to do a web search -- only answer "Yes" if you already know of such an app or website.)

4. Would you use such an app/website if it existed? (Or, if youre aware of such an app that already exists, do you use it?)

Yes/No

The second section, about a spare room rental app, was thrown in as a control in the experiment -- I knew the answer to that question (AirBnB), and I thought a large portion of the survey-takers would too, so I wanted to make sure they weren't just filling out the survey with blow-off answers to get the 25 cents as fast as possible.

Of the 50 people who filled out the survey, 14 of them said they had heard of using AirBnB, Couchsurfing, or Craigslist for the purpose of renting out a room or finding one to rent (almost all of them mentioned AirBnB specifically). But of the same 50 respondents, only two of them mentioned any parking apps that they had heard of, and only one of them mentioned one of the two that I'd found which actually worked. (The other person mentioned an app called ParkWhiz, which, when I tested it out, only displayed one $17 parking garage in a neighborhood where I know of several $5 garages, which BestParking and ParkMe did list correctly.)

This seems to confirm the anecdotal evidence from my survey of my Seattle friends -- there is a great deficiency in awareness of these apps, relative to how useful people would find them if they knew about them.

So how is it that people are finding -- or not finding -- these apps? In a Google search for "parking app", the first result was an ad for ParkWhiz. BestParking and ParkMe did show up in the results, but so did another one called Parker, as well as a Mashable article by Kate Freeman listing "7 City Parking Apps to Save You Time, Money and Gas". Of the apps listed in the article, the only city-specific one that worked in Seattle (PrimoSpot) has been discontinued, and of the non-city-specific ones, only Parker is still around. (The article doesn't even mention BestParking or ParkMe, although I don't know if they existed when it was written.) Finally, a friend in my survey told me about an app called Parkopedia, which has over 100,000 downloads on Google Play (the same as BestParking, and more than ParkMe).

So even if it did occur to you to look for a parking-garage-finding app, the problem is that if you randomly picked one of the five most popular parking apps (BestParking, Parker, ParkMe, Parkopedia, and ParkWhiz), you might accidentally pick one of the three out of five that is a fail:

  • ParkWhiz, as noted above, only showed one $17 garage in a neighborhood full of other, cheaper garages.

  • Both ParkMe and Parkopedia display their results as a map with an icon marking each parking garage -- but with no price information. Simply having a map of parking garage locations isn't too useful, since you could get that by searching Google Maps for "parking" anyway. In both apps, you can click on parking garage icons to bring up a window showing their rates, but in Parker most of the listed garages just said "Contact facility for current rates". Parkopedia did usually display the rates for different garages -- but it's a pain to click on each of a dozen parking garage icons looking for the cheapest one. A typical area of downtown Seattle will have one garage where you can park for $5 for the evening, surrounded by garages where parking costs $10 or more, but Parkopedia doesn't make it easy to find it. And neither app lets you specify a start and end time for your parking so that you can find the cheapest garage for that time range.

So it seems odd that according to the Google Play store, Parkopedia has more downloads than ParkMe (100,000+ vs 50,000+), even though ParkMe seems a lot more useful. Meanwhile ParkWhiz, the one that found only one overpriced parking garage in a neighborhood full of cheaper ones, has fewer downloads but a slightly higher star rating in the app store than ParkMe. Of course in my parking-app survey of friends and Mechanical Turk users, the far-and-a-way winner was simply not knowing that any of these apps existed at all.

And here's why it matters to you even if you ride a granola-powered bike to work: I think this is a confirming instance of what I've been arguing for years, that the marketplace for ideas, inventions, and intellectual property is far less efficient than most people think it is. Every day a huge amount of human capital is squandered by people trying to jostle their competitors out of Google search results, or even just trying to raise the capital to advertise their products to people who would find them extremely useful, but will never find out about it if the venture capitalists don't come through with the money to advertise it. All of that is time and effort that could have instead gone towards making the products better.

I've suggested an algorithm based on "random-sample voting" as an antidote to some of these market inefficiencies, such as stopping people from buying votes on Digg, promoting the best ideas on Obama's "We The People" petition website, or even deciding whether J.K. Rowling is the world's greatest author or just lucky. Basically, in each scenario, the competing entities -- whether apps, or songs, or ideas for improving U.S. government policy -- would be rated by a sufficiently large random sample of qualified raters. ("Qualified raters" might mean economists in the case of the White House policy-petition website, or it might mean music consumers in the case of an algorithm to find the best new songs.) Each entity would receive an average rating from those raters, and then the entities with the highest average rating would be the ones promoted to the widest audience (at the top of Google search results, for example). It sounds deceptively simple, but it's far less amenable to "gaming the system", because you can't rope in your friends to vote for your app, or pay voters to rate you highly on Digg. The only way to win in this system is to make your song, idea, or app, the best that it can be -- which means your human capital is being channeled productively, instead of being wasted hiring an SEO company to try and knock your competition out of the top spot on Google.

If competition between parking apps worked this way, then all the current users of Parker, ParkWhiz and Parkopedia, would switch to BestParking and ParkMe, saving themselves a lot of hassle in the process, and those second-rate apps would have never even gotten on the ground unless they got their act together and implemented the same features. More broadly, if competition in the marketplace of ideas worked this way, then there wouldn't be so many users who really wish they could have an app like this, without realizing that the apps exist!

One striking thing about looking at a map of downtown parking garages, is how wildly the rates vary from each other, with $15 garages situated right next to the $5 ones. In theory, in a competitive marketplace, such rates should stabilize around a single price, for goods that are roughly comparable. But the $10 lots do still manage to get some customers who don't know any better, because it's just not practical to criss-cross a grid of several dozen city blocks looking for the cheapest garage. BestParking and ParkMe help people deal with this inefficient marketplace. So it's ironic that they're being held back by a marketplace for ideas that operates just as inefficiently in its own way.

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The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

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  • by ElectraFlarefire (698915) on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:45AM (#46747985) Journal

    Because when I have to go somewhere that parking is tricky, I'm always on two wheels. And there's always somewhere to park it.
    Plus it's often quicker in busy cities, cheaper, gets you fit(If you don't have an engine) and above all, is fun!

    • by Anrego (830717) * on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:49AM (#46748027)

      You got modded down but it's a good general point.

      If I'm going somewhere that parking is going to be an issue, I take a bus or a cab down. It's not worth the aggravation and cost of trying to find a spot. I imagine a lot of geeks fall into a similar behaviour.

      • by MrNaz (730548) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:42PM (#46748559) Homepage

        When I want to go somewhere and it's too much trouble, I make procrastinate until it's too late to make it to whatever appointment I was going for, and that way I don't even have the bother of traveling anywhere at all.

      • by Suki I (1546431)

        You got modded down but it's a good general point.

        If I'm going somewhere that parking is going to be an issue, I take a bus or a cab down. It's not worth the aggravation and cost of trying to find a spot. I imagine a lot of geeks fall into a similar behaviour.

        I wish I had that option. I guess I could make it an option, but I have just to much stuff I have to bring with me when I leave the confines of the office and do my "real job" out with the clients along the eastern seaboard. Another issue is that I drive a pretty big pickup that my Beloved Fiance made just for me, and it holds everything with plenty of spare room too.

        On the issue by the submitter, how on earth is this true? how is it that they've been partially crowded out by other 'parking apps'

      • by houghi (78078)

        In Europe many cities have a 'parking route' that will let you drive from parking to parking and they even often indicate how many places are available.
        So the use of an app to find a free place is less urgent.
        Also public transportation is pretty good in most places.

        • by rioki (1328185)

          Also public transportation is pretty good in most places.

          If you come from further away: Park & Ride FTW!

    • I wish. A bicycle is not feasible for me, and a motorcycle is too dangerous in my area.
      • by gmclapp (2834681)
        Motorcycles are too dangerous in all areas if you're being honest with yourself. But, totally worth it. If I gotta go, I wanna go in a fiery wreck! I'm being sarcastic, but I love motorcycling.
      • by mlts (1038732)

        Similar dilemma. A regular bicycle is unfeasible due to distance. Hopping a bus with a bike is iffish, since there are only two bike spaces in the rack per bus that shows up every hour... and assuming a slot got made free, it would be a battle of speed with others. Which leaves folding bikes and having to lug a Brompton into and out of a building.

        Even if you find a space, the parking meters are kiosks on every block, and you -will- get a ticket between the time you walk to the kiosk, get the ticket print

    • It always cost me the same as a car to park a motorcycle in a parking garage. Even when I'd tuck it into a spot a car wouldn't fit in, just to be nice.

      • by langelgjm (860756)
        I'm surprised you even find garages that let you in. Most garages around me (and even just lots) specifically say no motorcycles. I think it's liability fears about the gate coming down on your head or something.
    • Because when I have to go somewhere that parking is tricky, I'm always on two wheels. And there's always somewhere to park it.
      Plus it's often quicker in busy cities, cheaper, gets you fit(If you don't have an engine) and above all, is fun!

      "And here's why it matters to you even if you ride a granola-powered bike to work: I think this is a confirming instance of what I've been arguing for years, that the marketplace for ideas, inventions, and intellectual property is far less efficient than most people think it is."

      This isn't about parking, except as an example of the problem.

    • I have noticed that motorized scooters have been granted a status in some places of "absolutely magical". It is apparently legal to park them at no cost at bicycle racks, even if they prevent actual bicycles from parking there. They are, by association, legal to ride (or at least, push) on the sidewalk as well. You can carry whatever or whoever you want with you on it, seldom need a proper helmet, and if you have enough power you can go ahead and drive on the freeway as well. They generally need less in
      • I am a scooter rider. In most places in the US, the following rules apply:

        For scooters that are less than 50cc and cannot go faster than 35 mph:
        * You may park in the bike rack like a bike. In some places, you can even park on the sidewalk (!!) as long as it isn't obstructing pedestrian traffic.
        * Do not require a motorcycle or even a driver's license, but if you have a prior DUI, some states won't let you ride a scooter until your license gets reinstated.
        * Some st

    • Is this 'news' story some sort of astroturfing campaign for these applications or what?

      You might as well ask why there are differences in price in any other market.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:46AM (#46747995)

    This is filler spot on daytime tv news sad.

    • The TL;DR version is that Google still isn't very good. It favours heavily SEOed results over quality results. There is no substitute for curation or polling by trusted people.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Even TFS was tl;dr. It's completely obvious too - the time you waste messing around with the app, which requires foreknowledge of when you will finish your shopping/eating to work, is not worth it. Most people would rather just park, maybe pay a fraction more but not have to wait in a queue or walk further, and get on with their lives.

  • tl;dr (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why does anybody read anything by Bennett?

  • by concealment (2447304) on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:48AM (#46748017) Homepage Journal

    Bennett, I like all of your stuff and this is well-written but...

    These apps are just going to increase mass neurosis. We don't need our heads filled with this crap. We need to spend more time thinking about important issues, not the trivia.

    "Western man is externalizing himself with gadgets" - William S. Burroughs

    • Bennett, I like all of your stuff and this is well-written but...

      Troll! Get him, boys!

      These apps are just going to increase mass neurosis. We don't need our heads filled with this crap. We need to spend more time thinking about important issues, not the trivia.

      I think the more important issue is the general inefficiency in the marketplace for apps (as well as ideas and intellectual property in general). That was my main point. I wouldn't have written the article just to tell people about the parking apps, although I hope some people find that useful.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Bennett, I like all of your stuff and this is well-written but...

        Troll! Get him, boys!

        These apps are just going to increase mass neurosis. We don't need our heads filled with this crap. We need to spend more time thinking about important issues, not the trivia.

        I think the more important issue is the general inefficiency in the marketplace for apps (as well as ideas and intellectual property in general). That was my main point. I wouldn't have written the article just to tell people about the parking apps, although I hope some people find that useful.

        If that's the issue then why wouldn't you (serious question, not asking rhetorically i promise) gin up a Turk quiz about how app markets are perceived and participated in? It seems like you already knew the answer to "does anyone know about all these cool parking spot apps?" so just get on with the bigger question. The one I have spent a lot of time pondering (non-scientifically) is what could an app store possibly offer by having >1,000,000 apps? Or even >500,000 apps?

        At some point ( i would guess

        • by Agent0013 (828350)
          From a simple analysis I have a couple of answers. One: It's marketing! Our laptop has more ram, or faster Mhz, or shinier screen, on whatever. Just like all the bullet points for a software package, even though most of them don't matter or are basic functions that don't even deserve to be pointed out. So saying the market place has millions of apps sounds better than saying it has thousands. Two: If only one percent of the apps are any good you are more likely to find one that does what you want and is a g
        • Interesting idea -- what kind of questions did you have in mind for a survey like that?

          Part of my point was that people don't realize how inefficient the marketplace for ideas (and intellectual property generally) actually is, so I'm not sure what a survey should ask if I'm writing about a problem people aren't even aware of.
          • by jeffmeden (135043)

            When deciding on an app there are only so many variables that come in to play that can allow someone to compare apps:
            1. Number of downloads
            2. Average review
            3. Specific feature list
            4. Price
            5. "Editor's choice", top search ranking, "top apps" chart, etc

            How each are weighted, in which ecosystems, and by demographic would start to expose where the knowledge gap lies and how to close it. Since you sound more like you are interested in a thesis to solve the problem, you should start from the problem and work bac

      • by tomlouie (264519) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:09PM (#46748879) Homepage

        > I think the more important issue is the general inefficiency in the marketplace for apps (as well as ideas and intellectual property in general).

        Bennett, you just summarized your 2,000+ word textwall into a single 24 word sentence. Was that so hard? Seriously, a single summary sentence at the start of your submissions would be greatly appreciated.

        • That's the conclusion. The article is the argument to support the conclusion.

          There is a summary at the top: "If you read no further, use either the BestParking or ParkMe app to search all nearby parking garages for the cheapest spot, based on the time you're arriving and leaving. I'm interested in the question of why so few people know about these apps, how is it that they've been partially crowded out by other 'parking apps' that are much less useful, and why our marketplace for ideas and intellectual p
        • I was talking with a fairly large group of tech-savvy friends here in Austin the other day, and it was nearly unanimous - the last thing we ever want is another damn app to download, constantly whine for updating, and try to find among the other 200 crap apps on our phones or tablets. We coined this rising level of disgust "App Fatigue"...

          Web apps could conceivably be a decent alternative, but only if someone gives me Settings option checkboxes labelled,

          [ ] Never, ever, show me the crippled mobile versio

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        I think the more important issue is the general inefficiency in the marketplace for apps

        If that was the important issue then you should have led with that and used the parking app issue as support for whatever conclusion you wanted to come to, instead of droning on and on and on about how nobody knows about parking apps for Seattle and how bad some of them are and how you think people on some survey website are your friends, and only then writing a tiny bit about "the more important issue".

        By the way, you keep talking about parking apps finding garages, but you don't consider "is there a sp

        • The second sentence is "I'm interested in the question of why so few people know about these apps, how is it that they've been partially crowded out by other 'parking apps' that are much less useful, and why our marketplace for ideas and intellectual properly is still so inefficient." That's the conclusion; the example with the parking apps is the supporting argument. (I never called the online survey takers my "friends"; I said that I did two surveys, an informal poll of my friends and then a survey on M
    • Huh? This is just an example of a branch of price comparison app. At worst it will save the user money by guiding him to the best deals. At best, if enough people use them, it will drive prices down. Both these outcomes are good and useful things.

      There are plenty of crap app categories. This isn't one of them.

    • He's actually providing an editorial service for millions of other people. Conservatively, he freed up a million people to spend 5 minutes thinking about important issues.

      That's just under 10 years of total time they can think about important issues.

      And that's ignoring the time/money savings resulting from those who select the app.

      He's justified a significant portion of his existence with just the one post.

      • by shitzu (931108)

        Let us say this together - is is an Advertisement. I usually do not find myself in awe of how much research time advertisements "save" me.

  • WOAH! I'm goin' to the movies!

  • What is going on?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:51AM (#46748041)

    Who the flip is Bennet Haselton and why is he allowed to have verbal diarrhea on Slashdot?

    • He paid Dice 25 cents

    • by jnik (1733)
      Somebody figured we were missing the Jon Katz days. (Although I actually kinda liked his articles.)
    • by eepok (545733)

      How in the world is this insightful? What's with all the rage against the author?

      The guy has a question. He has an idea. He describes it all clearly enough. And he somehow deserves ridicule?

      This is News for Nerds. Not "News for Me and Only Me".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Desler (1608317)

        The point is that Slashdot is not his blog.

        • by eepok (545733)

          No, it's a news aggregator that will sometimes source content from its readership ("Ask Slashdot"). So this submission isn't done under the flag of "Ask Slashdot"-- he deserves ridicule for this? All I see here are pseudo-alpha nerds taking some joy in hating on a "lesser nerd" because he had the audacity to do something outside of the norm.

          There is too much rage here for what used to simply be "TL;DR".

          You guys are taking Slashdot posts way too seriously.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Why does it keep getting modded up in the firehose instead of thrown down the memory hole? Why don't the editors summarise his 2000+ word summary into, you know, an actual summary? Why are we even asking these questions when clearly neither of us is new here?

  • Use a jetpack, problem solved!

  • but it depends on how close you are to a local attraction or work site. i had to drive into manhattan today and parked in the $25 garage because it's the closest one to where i work. sure i can find a cheaper spot but then it's a 10 minute walk for me

    and it's not my money. i get pre-tax parking benefits from my employer and pay with a special credit card

    • but it depends on how close you are to a local attraction or work site. i had to drive into manhattan today and parked in the $25 garage because it's the closest one to where i work. sure i can find a cheaper spot but then it's a 10 minute walk for me

      Obviously a different world since where I live doesn't have half the population density as NYC, but I've always been that guy who parks in the corner space at the far, far back end of the lot. My ship's far less likely to be wanged that way, plus the extra bit of exercise is good for me. Plus, when I'm on the clock I'm getting paid for that 10 minute walk.

      YMMV, as the only experience I have with driving/parking in NYC was selling my sister's car after she moved there, because she had no use for it and didn'

      • by Agent0013 (828350)
        It sucks when your clock doesn't start until you have gone through the badge swipe doors. Then you want the closest spot possible. Why give them the 10 minutes for free!
        • It sucks when your clock doesn't start until you have gone through the badge swipe doors.

          Wow, that does suck! Talk about time theft.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please at least sign up for a WordPress account. Please?

  • So now I need an app to help me park with as little butthurt as possible. It could be that people haven't realized how thoroughtly nickle-and-dimed our lives have become. It's pretty sad. Any everytime I try and think of something sadder, its already been done.
  • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:06PM (#46748159)

    I can park just fine without an app. Not sure why this is even on here. Go blog that shit.

  • tldr (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:07PM (#46748161)

    can we all pitch in $5 a month and get this bennett guy his own blog? (and punt him the hell off slashdot?)

    • Prioritize. The first $5 goes for booting timothy, if there's money left over we can get rid of this guy.

  • Slashvertisement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:07PM (#46748167) Homepage

    Stop this.

    Seriously.

    Just stop.

    • Stop this.

      Seriously.

      Just stop.

      I don't think you bothered to do more than skim the summary, if that. Although to be fair, the summary could have simply said that good apps are getting drowned out in white noise of not-so-good apps because the review/curation system in the app stores is completely ineffective.

    • This site is doing all it can to drive away core members. Many have already given up. That they would try to pass off something so shamelessly promoting products and not think we can't tell it's a pitch should insult all of us.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't beta supposed to have a BH filter?

    Why, why, why does this dreck keep getting posted?

  • This random sample voting idea is already in use on Google play. It came into effect a few months ago. If you open Google play on your Android device you will see a widget that invites you to vote for one of your recently installed apps.

    I don't know how well this could work even if done perfectly. The ultimate measure of the quality and appeal of a product is whether or not you will recommend it to someone explicitly (and not just implicitly by liking it on Facebook or G+ or what not). I doubt Google has a

    • Google don't care whether their results are the best for consumers. Their customers are advertisers.

      • by rasmusbr (2186518)

        Google don't care whether their results are the best for consumers. Their customers are advertisers.

        But then Google needs to have a selection of apps that are tolerable enough that you'll use the apps despite the Google ads.

        Ad-free apps (often FOSS) might help make the experience as a whole more tolerable, especially for power users, so there's no reason to punish those.

        • But then Google needs to have a selection of apps that are tolerable enough that you'll use the apps despite the Google ads.

          If only it was only the ads. It's the collection and sale of every detail of your mobile life that is intolerable.

  • by essaunders (469150) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:22PM (#46748329)

    I think the issue is the Parking apps are targeted at a very small subset of people. the only real audience are people who occasionally park in a city. I suspect that most people in that subset rely on their hotel or destination parking suggestion and leave it at that.

    I did try out several apps (and web sites) during a recent weekend trip to Boston. Several were next to useless, a couple were good. I ended up saving about 50% vs what my hotel valet service would have been - but I did have to walk a half mile from the garage to the hotel.

  • If engineers were left to design a parking app, they'd make it work for all forms of paid parking in at least one country. Instead, we're saddled with a fragmented market.

  • Well, for one they only seem to really work for US locations and I'm quite a ways from there. ParkMe did find some nearby results but the information was wildly wrong.
  • by mythosaz (572040) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:54PM (#46748687)

    ...did he try them in any other city than his?

    How well do those work in LA? Boston? New York?

    How we do the ones he panned work there?

    Short-sighted drivel.

    • You know that feeling you have right now? Yeah, that's how the rest of us feel whenever one of you NYC morons tests something in your own city and then assumes it goes for the rest of the country. Apparently it's only wrong if other people do it.
  • When I rode the train in to work this morning, the app failed miserably when I tried to find the best place to park it in the rail yard. Also, the conductor's goons stopped me from getting to the locomotive.

  • I would pay money for a parking app that can tell me which towing company tows cars from there. Where I live, car theft is 100% legal if you are a towing company - it has been demonstrated repeatedly on camera and in court - and some companies are far more frequent offenders than others. I am willing to pay more to park in lots that are not patrolled by certain crooked towing companies.
  • Works very well for me.

    • by adisakp (705706)
      I would mod this up if I had points. I'm a big fan of Spothero. It works great in Chicago.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:08PM (#46748873) Homepage Journal

    He's got a bad case of verbal diarhea and a love of hearing himself write. He is not insightful; he's a blow-hard.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:09PM (#46748877) Journal

    Let's say hypothetically a slashditor (let's call him "Supnezmas"), when not posting duplicate articles from 2 days before, has a major erection for some web commenter (let's call him "Notlesah, Ttenneb").

    How could I edit my settings so that worthless shit articles from "Supnezmas" referencing this "Notlesah, Ttenneb" were somehow downrated to oblivion so I don't see them anymore, ever? Is there a filter I can apply?

    Can I "foe" an editor based on context?

  • It would be nice to have this for every category of thing.

    Of course, if we did it on a regular basis, it would be coopted or corrupted by businesses in some way.

  • Guys, why all the vitriol for this article? Slashvertisement? It doesn't matter. He went out of his way to point out two different apps and an experiment that he did, where he shared the results.

    The topic, for the TL;DR people is essentially why are good apps unseen while poorer ones are popular. He cited ParkMe and BestParking as his basis of research.

    It's a questions that would apply to nerds want to popularize an app, but don't understand the phenomena that encourage apps to spread regardless of featu

  • There is a huge difference between a company that makes a good product and a company that is good at advertising.

    Honestly that's the main reason why tech people need to get MBA's to run their business. It's not that hard to figure out how to manage and do back office stuff passably well. Oh sure, you might pay too much in taxes, but it's not that big a deal.

    What is a big deal is the ability to get the word out - to tell people about your product.

  • Almost all marketplaces are broken. Getting eyes on your website, users to download your app, people to watch your commercial, etc. are all not meritocracies. That's why there are whole categories of professions to handle them (advertising, SEO, etc.). Everyone that makes products knows that if you want to make a ton of money, don't put your money into making a better product, put your money into advertising your currently crappy product.

    I got ripped apart a few days ago for making the comment that programm

  • One of those two apps runs only on iOS 7.0 or greater, and the other requires at least 6.0. Anyone who's had their phone for more than a year and is tight for space can't install these. I use the San Francisco specific "Parkola" app which will run on my 5.1 16GB device that is packed to the gills with essentials. At least those in the area where the tech industry is know that if you did an upgrade every time you got the offer, all you would ever be doing is upgrading.
  • Don't most people who complain about mods get metamodded to smitherines? This guy is complaining about moderation (being in the form of popularity and talk) about something.

    I'd get metamodded to shreds, he gets a front page post.

  • First I couldn't find it in the Google Play store. When I searched for it on the desktop, I found the app is "not compatible with any of your devices". Ho-hum.

    I tried searching for local parking on the developer's site. They have data for maybe 10% of car parks in central Birmingham, UK; and even then the prices are denoted in US dollars. I don't know whether $4 = £4, or if some exchange rate is being applied.

    If I search on Parkopedia, despite the slightly clunky interface not only is every local car

  • I don't need an app to help me find on-street parking, though it sure is handy being able to plug the meter by phone.

    https://paybyphone.com/ [paybyphone.com]

    I use it all the time.

  • It's difficult to focus on the concepts presented when the author employs such over-used, abused, and ultimately meaningless phrases as "marketplace of ideas" and "intellectual property".
  • I now know about a very handy parking app for DC. And I DID actually look for one and as the article suggests I found crap. Now I'm happy and his "textwall" not withstanding I have no baggage with this Bennett person so all I can say is "Thanks"

  • I'm not sure why you would use 'app' as a search keyword. It's pretty much guaranteed to generate nothing more than noise. When I typed "parking garage" into Google Play, the first result that came back was the supposedly unfindable "Best Parking" app... and it was the *only* app on Bennett's list that actually made it into the top ten (the only other app actually related to finding parking was Parknav, not listed in the article.) If I refine that by changing the search term to "cheapest parking garage",

  • The point is valid, but not that helpful. Yes, our current system for finding useful apps is imperfect.

    Sometimes when you invent a better mousetrap, the world doesn't figure it out and beat a path to your door. It would be great if the best ideas always win in the marketplace of ideas, but sometimes they don't.

    And, if you can solve this general problem, you will be very popular.

    I think social media can help a bit, but it's no panacea. (TFA noted that the voting for apps doesn't favor the best apps, and t

  • there are a lot of free places to park that this thing doesn't list... useless.

  • BestParking:

    This app is incompatible with all of your devices. Offers in-app purchases.

    Incompatible with a Nexus 5? *plonk*

    ParkMe:

    There are 5 apps by this name I can find in the Play Store. But the one I think you're talking about shows up in the "related apps" for those, and looking closer, it gives the same message as above.

    So to answer your question as to why noone is using your apps, make them compatible with phones people are using first!

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