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Crowdsourcing: Earn Cash by Putting Your Smartphone to Work

4 May 2011 No Comment

Originally posted by Sarah KesslerMASHABLE

Gigwalk wants to put your smartphone to work. On Wednesday the startup is launching its platform for on-demand, on-location task completion.

Businesses can use Gigwalk to post simple projects that can be completed by anyone who has a smartphone. A project might, for instance, ask users to take photos of a restaurant’s menu and answer a series of questions (i.e. “Is the establishment wheelchair friendly?”).

Using an iPhone app [iTunes link], Gigwalk members — or “Gigwalkers” — sign up to complete tasks near them in exchange for between $3 and $90 per task.

It’s not exactly a fulltime job, but it is an easy way to score some fast extra cash. The highest paid Gigwalker in the six-month long private beta earned $2,173 for 277 completed “gigs.”

 

“Every single iPhone or Android is a node in a network,” says co-founder and CEO Ariel Seidman. “We’re trying to activate that node and say that it actually contribute to a workforce.”


During the private beta period, GPS maker TomTom sent Gigwalkers to specific street corners to verify map factors like street names. It wouldn’t have had the funds to check the accuracy of their maps by driving every road themselves. Similarly, Motorola employed the Gigwalk workforce to scope out the positioning of its phones in Verizon stores after the carrier started selling iPhones. Local directories, consumer research firms and real estate companies have also signed on.

Before Gigwalk, Seidman says, many of his corporate customers had turned to Craigslist to fill these mini-positions.

Standard (and typically much cheaper) crowdsourcing platforms like Mechanical Turk often aren’t options because there’s no way to verify that the person completing an on-location task actually left his or her computer to complete it. A smartphone-based platform, on the other hand, has GPS.

There isn’t an extensive filtering process that determines who becomes Gigwalkers, but so far a “street cred” reputation score that rewards people who do consistently good work with more complex and higher-paying tasks has been sufficient. People who don’t meet a task’s stated standards don’t get paid for that task.

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