With the Pokémon Go hype cycle burning as intense and brightly as Tamagotchis and pogs, the question on everybody's mind has been, "Hey, how do I make some real money off this?" There have been a couple small-time hustles and some other more questionable concepts, but so far it seems that millennial hero Ivy St Ive's idea of tossing up a Craigslist ad and going viral has been the most effective. St Ive, who got famous by offering her services as a Pokémon trainer, announced today that she's getting paid to help write a Pokémon Go strategy guide and will be a coach with a VC cash-backed gaming coaching website. Go ahead, pour another slug of whisky. We'll wait.
(Courtesy Ivy St Ive)
While St Ive's foray into into TOS-violating DIY Pokémon monetizing was cut short almost immediately, it got her onto the radar of both a major strategy guide publishing company and Gamer Sensei, a website that employs gaming coaches and sounds like a modern version of the 1-900 Nintendo Power tips line. St Ive said that the book company, which she declined to identify yet, reached out to her in the midst of her viral fame and was so eager for her services that they sent a rep all the way to her apartment in Bushwick at 7:30 in the morning to hammer out a deal. St Ive said that her job will be to teach people at the company how to play the game like an expert, and she'll also be writing a couple of sections of it.
As for her coaching gig, St Ive said that it will be similar to her original Craigslist offer, but she'll be virtually coaching people on how to play the game, instead of just walking around playing it for people.
Is this Michael Jordan-esque un-retirement and step up into the world of book publishing and VC cash a sellout move? St Ive made the case that it wasn't.
"I’m essentially doing the same service without breaking the terms of service, without actually cheating at the game, and it's just a lot less sketchy," she told us. St Ive compared being a Pokemon trainer with cat sitting, which she did for a time and also brought her into contact with strangers. But the key difference was that cat-sitting meant meeting at most four people per day, which the demand for her services as a Pokémon trainer outpaced. "The volume of responses [I got] made any sort of Craigslist type-underground training impossible for me to do."
St Ive also wanted to stress that she hadn't made any money from this just yet, with the strategy guide so far unpublished and a coffee meeting to hash out the Gamer Sensei deal set for next week.
And of course, it's not all book publisher groveling. St Ive also offered us a look into the hyper-competitive world she's currently a part of. "There are people who are spending 6 hours a day playing this game and really being power players and people who are already at level 18, 19 even in my neighborhood alone," she said. Yes, you read that correctly: level 19. That is NOT a typo. Go catch your shinebox.
As to whether becoming the world's first certified Pokémon coach makes St Ive a millennial hero, she can't quite say. "I’m just a girl who posted something on Craigslist as a joke. It went viral. And now I’m going to ride the wave."