May 5, 2011
I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, right.” It sure sounds like a scam, doesn’t it? But soon, you may in fact be getting paid— just for having your iPhone in the right place at the right time. No, it’s not news photography or investigative reporting, and no, it doesn’t involve bonding with your inner paparazzi. But the money is real, and the idea... well, let’s just say it’s pretty original. A new startup called GigWalk is looking to help corporations break up their massive crowdsourcing projects into tiny “micro-errands”, then source them out to willing participants in the streets. Each gig can be done in a few seconds or minutes, but each one credits your Paypal account from $3 to $50 each—you unlock higher-level gigs after you’ve gained experience (called “street cred”). All this via their dedicated iPhone app. And what are these gigs, you might ask? GigWalk’s very first customer was TomTom: they wanted photographs of areas where their GPS systems had errors, or two-way streets that were actually one-way. An important task, to be sure, but not important enough that they'd get it done in any sort of a timely manner. Enter the amazing crowdsourced abilities of the GigWalkers, whose services are also used by business directories (a whopping 20% of businesses close every 9 months), restaurants (who want photos of their establishment, or of the menu), stores (who might want to know why their sales are so bad on Thursdays, or to ask if the salesperson tried to upsell), and many more— think photos of health code paperwork, local pricing comparisons, maps of an airport lounge, or locating the exits for a train station. Each of these tasks is trivial on their own, but together they smooth out the sometimes-rough edges that are bound to show up in any massive sets of data. The app is free — all you need is an iPhone (sounds like it's for 3G, 3GS and 4), a PayPal account in order to get paid, and a little bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time. I'm almost scared to post this, since now you'll all know about it :) In any event, now you've got absolutely no excuse. Jump on it! Gigwalk is available on the App Store free of charge.