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Airtasker – Outsourcing Small Jobs

Airtasker.com is a new company that is dedicated to outsourcing small jobs [1]. It’s still in a “beta” phase and has no way of making money – the worker is paid directly by the employer and there’s no facility for either of them to pay Airtasker, I would really like to know what the business model will be before considering whether to use it. It also doesn’t seem to operate outside of Sydney which seems quite strange, how hard can it be to have separate Google maps instances for each city in Australia?

The jobs that are advertised seem to be mostly household repair tasks and from the member list it appears that some people who already run small service businesses are trying to use Airtasker to get more work. There are also a lot of delivery tasks such as buying something from a shop and delivering it and driving a car from Melbourne to Sydney (good for someone who wants a subsidised interstate holiday). But there are some unusual tasks such as pretending to be someone’s girlfriend to make his mother stop nagging him.

It will be interesting to see whether this takes off. One thing that I might use it for is delivering computer equipment in the CBD. Some of my clients have no good parking near their office so I end up carrying computer gear from a tram stop or an inconvenient parking spot to their office. I’d rather have someone paid to do at least half the work in carrying the gear and the rates that are being discussed on Airtasker are well within the range that my clients would be happy to pay.

7 comments to Airtasker – Outsourcing Small Jobs

  • Hi etbe – You can use Airtasker for almost any service – really anything that you can think of within the marketplace rules. Airtasker just launched in Sydney and are looking to move quickly across the country so that everyone can start getting a helping hand with everyday tasks.

    In regards to the Airtasker business model, it’s similar to eBay. When a Runner completes a task and gets paid, Airtasker charges a small fee ($2 + 5% of the task value). Just like eBay, its a win-win situation as you only ever pay a fee when you receive a job.

  • etbe

    Tim: Thanks for the official response from Airtasker.

    Now can you please tell me what the “marketplace rules” are? I couldn’t see anything on your site, do I have to establish an account to see the rules?

    https://www.airtasker.com/tasks/hotties-to-wait-boat-party-waitress-3

    I think that your rules should have something against the above advert for “hotties”. At best that advert would fall foul of the gender discrimination legislation. The acceptance of such adverts could result in Airtasker being used for sex work.

  • Hi etbe – you can find a link to our marketplace rules in the footer links here:
    https://www.airtasker.com/marketplace-rules

  • etbe

    Thanks for the link, it’s good to note that “Requests for sexual activity of any kind” are banned. But what defines such requests if a request for “hottie waitresses” doesn’t count?

  • eric

    I use the site alot to post tasks. But I think one vulnerability of the system is that it assumes the beneficence of its posters and taskers. When the system allows for total strangers to interract, there will be conflicts of interest and abuses of power. As already mentioned, adverts for hotties, pornographic videos, special personal services and pretend girlfriends have been taken down by the administrators just in time b4 any bad happened. As a website that not only hooks pple up, but takes commissions, they are then responsible for their customers. (Unlike gumtree). If anything causes it to fail, I think it would be this.

  • etbe

    eric: All Internet sites which involve user-user interaction have to rely on most people doing the right thing. I agree that Airtasker has some additional risks because of the personal involvement. A woman I know commented by email that she would have great concerns for the safety of any woman who took a job that involved being stuck on a boat with a bunch of drunk men.

    As for adverts being taken down, the advert for “Hotties” is still on the site, it appears to have expired without being completed due to the poster not following through – but it’s still listed and presumably regarded as OK by the Airtasker people.

    I didn’t bookmark the pretend-GF advert so I’m not sure what happened to it, but it’s a lot less sexual than the “Hotties” adverts so it presumably wasn’t taken down.