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Microsoft’s search engine Bing will soon add crowdsourced photos to its map results. It will do so using the on-demand job board Gigwalk, which boasts 110,000 “gigs” just 9 weeks after its launch.
Gigwalk is a mobile app that allows brands to post odd jobs, or “gigs,” that need real-time attention. Examples include taking a photo of a menu, verifying a street name, confirming product placements in stores, etc. The company, which can only survive on the willingness and availability of its workforce, has 50,000 “employees” on-call. This means that those with work-ADD or those with job market blues can make a little cash, while brands take advantage of cheaper crowdsourcing.
“We are the Craigslist jobs category meets Monster meets Linkedin,” explained Ariel Seidman, co-founder and chief executive of Gigwalk. Seidman’s desire is to grow a reputable workforce of locals who build up “street cred” and can be counted on for bigger projects.
Newcomers takes advantage of the “street cred” model, by enforcing practice rounds, or non-paying gigs that up your level of reliability. Gigs are generally between $3-7 for a 20-60 minute gig, but can reach upwards of a $90 pay day. Street cred can be leveraged to unlock higher paying gigs in addition to push notifications, where the gigs come to you.
Microsoft will use Gigwalk to crowdsource photos for Bing’s map results. Those who take the gig have access to Microsoft’s Photosynth, a set of tools which allows Gigwalkers to capture the area surrounding them in 3D.
For Seidman, Bing’s goal for Gigwalk falls in line with his own. “I was at Yahoo, so I know how expensive mapping and local data is. You can solve this problem in a very different way.” Gigwalk is a potential solution for those who do not have access to satellite imagining and want a street level view other than Google’s.
GPS maker TomTom is another geo-local brand that uses the Gigwalk platform.
The flip side for Seidman is harnessing the power of calls to action in-app. “There are so many platforms for sharing, and those are great, but the next generation of products will answer, ‘How do I get people to do stuff’. That’s a lot more interesting to me.”
As for the future, Seidman wants to expand past its current eight markets, which include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle. “Anywhere there’s an NFL team, we want to be there as well,” he projected. Also in the works is an Android app.
Gigwalk currently has 8 employees and is located in Mountain View, CA. It has received $1.7 million in funding to date from Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Discovery, Bill Trenchard and Eric Paley of Founder Collective and more.
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