In a previous life, I was a field representative for one of the major mobile phone companies and among my many daily duties, I had to visit stores in my territory to inspect whether or not they complied with our merchandising guidelines. Are posters current and put up properly or pricing tags correctly labeled? These were tasks that I would need to repeat from store to store and report back to our corporate office. It wasn't too bad as it got me out of the office and interacting with our customers while putting on countless miles traveling to various stores.
A new app called Field Agent is taking these similar types of tasks and putting them in the hands of iPhone users to perform. But here's the best part: you can actually get paid to complete them.
Field Agent works like this. After downloading the free app to your iPhone and registering for the service (be prepared to answer a brief survey for demographics purposes), you can scan for assignments in and around your area and filter by distance or by amount paid for the assignment. Tasks vary from visiting merchants and noting the price of a particular product or snapping a picture of a merchandising aisle. You can earn anywhere from $2-$8 for completing an assignment. Once you claim a job to perform, you'll have 2 hours to complete it.
Tasks that have been completed satisfactorily are compensated through a PayPal account. Field Agent also employs feedback and a point system that rates you as an agent. Complete enough tasks and accumulate enough points and you can get priority to claim tasks before they are made available to everyone else.
The idea is a pretty interesting one: get enough iPhone users to crowdsource market data and compensate them for their efforts. It can be a fun and easy way to earn a few dollars while you're out running some errands. The only drawback so far is the limited number of assignments available. There were only a handful of jobs that popped up in my region and they were mainly the same task repeated in different stores throughout the city.
If the idea catches on and more businesses add to the list of jobs, this could be a fun way to earn some money to spend on more apps. For now, it's a promising idea that hopefully more merchants embrace.