RED BANK APPER: DON’T LET BEDBUGS BITE

adam-kotkinAdam Kotkin in his Red Bank office. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Adam Kotkin is freaked out.

As a longtime resident of New York City, it may be hard to imagine that, after years of living and traveling through the petri dish that is the Big Apple, he’d get freaked out by a little outbreak of something like bedbugs.

OK, maybe it’s an epidemic. No, it may be worse.

“They call it an epidemic,” Kotkin, 31, said. “I call it a pandemic.”

So what’s he doing about it, besides avoiding movie theaters and stripping hotel room beds before he even gets his luggage in the door? He’s doing his cyberduty by telling iPhone users where the bedbugs are.

Kotkin, chief executive officer of the Red Bank-based AppsGenius, developed an app for the iPhone that highlights where bedbugs have been reported nearby. It uses news and health reports to gather the info, and has a wealth of information on the micro critters for anybody interested in learning more about them.

When Kotkin pulls his phone out and types in “Manhattan,” a map appears and a cluster of orange dots overwhelms the screen, giving him an idea of where not to go.

“No matter where you are, you can find them,” he said. “If I go to Savannah tomorrow, I’ll find bedbugs.”

Bed Bug Alert started as a side project Kotkin tasked his team of developers to take a crack at. They’re normally busy with other things, as the company mainly develops games. Within weeks there have been “several thousand” downloads, at $1.99 a pop, he said.

It bodes well for his small company, which has seen more popularity in its Facebook games.

In a third-floor office on the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road, virtually unknown to outsiders, Kotkin and his 11-person team plug away at games and apps. The company’s biggest seller, My Mad Millions, a game in which the goal is to — a la Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions — spend $300 million on lavish parties and outrageous purchases, has more than 100,000 monthly users.

AppsGenius also has smaller applications, like Drama Lama, through which you can send a Facebook friend who’s cluttering your news feed with all their whining, a token of un-appreciation for having to pt up with it.

“If someone has drama in their life, send them a Drama Lama,” Kotkin said.

Also in the way of doing unfriendly things to your friends, Kotkin developed an iPhone app where you can take a picture of a friend and, using your finger on the touch screen, slap them around in a variety of settings. Kotkin chose to slap his friend around a jail cell for his demonstration to redbankgreen.

Then there’s the Crybaby application, which allows Facebook friends to post a “crybaby” on another friend’s wall. Kotkin received a bunch of crybabies from his employees on his page Monday, when he stayed home from work because of sciatica in his leg.

The affliction was a result of an injury at the gym, which Kotkin will assure you does not have bedbugs.