Is "Washboard" even stupider than "Yo"?


Last week we brought you the story of Yo, a messaging app that can only send one word: “Yo”. Today we find out about Washboard… and could this be even more ridiculous?


If you’re looking for the answer to the question “Are we in another tech bubble?”, then the fact that Yo has apparently raised $1m from investors doesn’t point towards the answer we want to hear. But Washboard is, umm, a totally great idea and not a massive folly, right?

One of the things the internet is best at doing is turning things that we used to buy into a service: no longer do we need to own a car when we can pay a subscription at get access to Zipcar when we need it. Why would we need to buy DVDs and CDs when we can pay monthly subs for Netflix and Spotify? And so on.

Washboard is similar: you pay a monthly fee in order to get… umm… quarters.

The premise of Washboard is that with increasing card usage when paying for things, nobody has any loose change to put in the communal washing machine (commonly found in many American apartment blocks, apparently). So Washboard, every month, will send you stash of 25-cent coins for use in the machine.

Yep, that’s it.

Obviously Washboard need to make money, so to get $10 worth of quarters every month you need to pay… umm, $14.99. Yes, the tech industry has come up with a company that will sell you less money, in exchange for more money.


The website for the service plays it straight – explaining the features in a long, scrolling page (as is the current trend) and with sliders to configure a plan that is right for you. “Washboarders”, as literally no one is calling users of the service, are also able to login and manage how many quarters they get.

Ultimately though, whether this is really necessary remains to be seen – besides, surely most Americans have washing machines?

James O’Malley