At Your Service: Outsourcing apps facilitate a big market for small jobs

Outsourcing apps facilitate a big market for small jobs

TrendCentral Notes: TaskRabbit was among the most buzzed about apps at this year’s SXSW Interactive. So compelling is the concept that the company subsequently raised $5 million in Series A funding, counting early Kickstarter supporter Collaborative Fund among the initial investors. Now, with similar services offering fast cash seekers ways to earn money on the go, a new mobile workforce is brewing.

Fiverr: What are people willing to do for the cost of a large latte? Social marketplace Fiverr offers answers to just that. Founder Micha Kaufman was inspired to create the site when faced with the task of converting a Microsoft Word chart into Excel, a job too small for a hired contractor but time-consuming enough to make Kaufman not want to do it himself. He concluded that there was a need for a micro economy – a “place for people to share things they’re willing to do for $5” – in which all jobs are created equal. Tasks range from tweeting an ad to more than 6,000 followers toposing as one’s boyfriend on Facebook.

AirRun: Contrary to popular belief, it turns out that not all outsourced jobs reside in Indian call centers. AirRun is an iPhone app that facilitates “a location-based community job hub.” Members consist of Seekers (people with jobs in need of completion) and Runners (people who get paid to do those jobs). Seekers can vet candidates through online profiles which log their completed tasks and share their connections within the mobile workforce community, as well as more personal information. Jobs range from picking up McDonald’s for a hungry office worker who can’t leave the desk to making an emergency printer cartridge run. And, unlike Fiverr, AirRun’s economy is free-market.

Gigwalk: Instagram addicts and Yelp novelists now have a way to transform their citizen journalism talent into cash. Newly launched startup Gigwalk “turns(s) iPhones into second paychecks” by offering users compensation for completing easy roving reporter assignments that range from taking pictures of food in local restaurants, to analyzing how well a pair of jeans fit, to identifying incorrect road signs. All one needs to do to become a Gigwalker is download the app, and depending on the nature of the task, Gigwalkers can earn anywhere between $3 and $90 per, well, gig.


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