Gigwalk: Crowdsourcing Brilliance

by JT McGee

Crowdsourcing through Gigwalk gets jobs done.Of all the brilliant ideas that have come from cloud sourcing, Gigwalk has to be one of the best. The company, which launched no more than three months ago, allows people to find “gigs” through their iPhone.

The gigs mostly consist of local mapping and imagery jobs. A user logs into the Gigwalk iPhone App, searches for gigs in their area, and can see odd jobs including taking restaurant pictures for local search, validating that a street is one-way, or even reviewing a local hotel.

The pay ranges from $3 to $90, depending on the complexity.

Gigwalk and Cloud Sourcing

Behind Gigwalk’s business model is a trend toward “cloud sourcing,” which allows companies to take advantage of immediate, hyper-local labor needs for odd jobs located anywhere in the world. Recently, Microsoft partnered with Gigwalk to source thousands of jobs, mostly to improve its own search engine, Bing. Users can submit pictures of local restaurants, attractions, for a reward equal for a few dollars.

A recent Bing deal paid users to take panoramic views of local restaurants with Microsoft’s Photosynth app.

Earlier, GPS maker TomTom posted thousands of jobs to improve its database of construction delays, detours, and street signs. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company can post jobs for Gigwalk users in the United States, who can confirm, in real time, TomTom’s assumptions about roadways.

TomTom doesn’t have to worry about 1099s, employment laws, or any of that nonsense, and the cost to account for thousands of users is balanced across Gigwalk’s many clients.

Two other startups in a similar, but not so similar space, are TaskRabbit and Zaarly, which connect individuals to other individuals like a handheld version of Craigslist. Creepers not included. 😉

Future for Mobile Crowdsourcing

I’m interested to see how this develops. I came up with a few possible uses for Gigwalk:

  1. Curbing customer complaints – Frequent calls to a customer service line upset McDonalds. The HR department at HQ hires someone on Gigwalk to go to the store, and slap the manager.
  2. Repos – A bank wants to repossess a car, but the borrower is 100 miles away from the office. To make the trip worthwhile, it posts a job on Gigwalk to confirm that the employee is at work, where the car can be repossessed while the employee is slaving away at their 9-5.
  3. Vending routes – A local vending machine company realizes that the cost of gas cuts into their normally thick margins. To reduce overhead, the company decides to outsource its route to Gigwalk users, who check the levels of the gum machines once per month and report with a picture of the gumball machines. It costs the company $3 to get the task done, but saves them $10 in overhead.

The uses for Gigwalk in a corporate environment are limitless. Unfortunately, the app is only available for iPhone users, but something tells me their millions of dollars in VC money and orders from Microsoft will force them to bring an Android version to market very, very soon.

Photo by: jdn

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Zach July 20, 2011 at 08:58

I have done a lot of these gigs in NYC. Here are some tips:

– Hotel reviews (these are the biggest payers) don’t pay enough. The big price per review looks good, but the work must be very detailed.

– Each gig is quality reviewed. At first you get only small gigs to build up your “street cred” (reviews) to get better paying offers. The $3 gigs add to your street cred quickly because you can do so many in a day.

– TomTom and Bing are great payers. You have to do a lot of their jobs to accumulate a lot of money taking pictures of restaurants and checking roadsigns. I look for new ones whenever I have extra time for lunch. These are better than hotel reviews, IMO.

– You can claim and schedule gigs so that you can get a lot of them done in one day. Plan ahead because the gigs are really close to eachother in some cases.


JT McGee July 23, 2011 at 11:05

Thanks for your input, Zach. I appreciate it, as I don’t have an iPhone, though I look forward to an Android based app for Gigwalk. According to my friends with an iPhone, the gigs are mostly in larger cities.


Zach July 20, 2011 at 09:10

I have not used Zaarly or Task Rabbit. I will download their app now.


Financial Uproar July 20, 2011 at 10:06

I saw these guys on CNBC yesterday, the concept seems pretty cool. And like most cool things, its not available in Canada. So that’s a bummer.


JT McGee July 23, 2011 at 11:06

It’s not available in my city either, so I guess I live in Canada. 😉


Darwin's Money July 21, 2011 at 21:57

This is a pretty neat startup. Evidently, one of my friends is a friend of one of the founders (uncle’s sister’s cousin…). Anyway, yeah, I did a writeup on it a few weeks back and a lot of the comments were criticizing the inability to get clout or whatever and actually get good gigs. Sounds like early bird gets the worm, so start now if it’s something you want to do in your area and you could see yourself doing gigs long-term!


JT McGee July 23, 2011 at 11:07

Good point on starting early to get your “streetcred.”

You might want to throw some money at the firm if you’re that close to it. Maybe you can get in on an equity round of financing. 😀


101 Centavos July 22, 2011 at 07:16

How about reviews of local public fishing spots, especially kid-friendly ponds and creeks. Fishing reviews are mostly geared towards experienced fishermen, not towards Moms and Dads that want to take their young kids for an afternoon’s outing, fishing from the bank.


JT McGee July 23, 2011 at 11:07

This is a good idea! I’m surprised there isn’t a niche app/site dedicated to this. Looks like you’ve a good business model for a site of your own.


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