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Pokémon Go has spawned a crew of for-profit Poké-hunters

Pokémon Go launched in Canada just a few days ago, and it’s already a city-wide obsession, consuming the lives and cellphone batteries of all who cross its path. And so, of course, some of the game’s more entrepreneurial fans have started finding ways to cash in. Kijiji and Craigslist are both loaded with ads from for-profit Pokémon hunters, willing to rent out their services—which range from chauffeuring people on Pokémon runs to actually catching Pokémon on others’ behalf—by the hour. Meet some of Toronto’s Pokémon profiteers:

Irfan Akhtar

28, account executive from Markham
Rate: $15 per hour, per person Service area: Markham, East York and downtown Toronto Money made to date: $30, from one customer

“My first customer was a woman in her mid-20s. I took her to places that she wanted to go for specific Pokémon, as well as popular areas that had worked for me in terms of lures. I also gave her tips. By the end of the night, she had gone from level 10 to 14. When we first started the tour, she was a stranger, but she became someone whom I can see myself hanging out with outside of the game.”


 

Andrew Blackwood.
Andrew Blackwood.
Andrew Blackwood

25, computer technician from Scarborough
Rate: $15 per hour, per person Service area: Scarborough and Durham Money made to date: $30, from two customers

“When I put up my ad on Kijiji, I was expecting to hear from people my age—but I got a phone call from a father on Monday, asking how far I would go. He gave me $15 and his 15-year-old daughter’s account info. I went to the Malvern Library and Telfer Park. He called me at 8:30 p.m. to ask how it went. I’d caught six Pokémon in one hour. I’ve received about 40 calls since I put up my ad, but I don’t respond to unknown numbers.”


 

Abraham Farah

25, software developer from North York
Rate: $20 per hour, plus $5 per person Service area: North York and downtown Toronto Money made to date: $55, from two customers

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“I picked up my first customer at 9 p.m., the second one closer to 11 p.m. I think they feel safer being in a car at night rather than walking around on their own to catch Pokémon. Still, I can’t believe people are willing to go to this extent. They are desperate to get to the next level in the game.”


 

Ken Wong.
Ken Wong.
Ken Wong

28, salesperson from Scarborough
Rate: $25 per hour, but the price is negotiable Service area: Scarborough, Markham and North York Money made to date: $100, from four customers

“I’m surprised by the peace and love my customers have shown towards me, a complete stranger. Good vibes.”

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