TaskRabbit Wants to Be Your Social Service Network

The next subdivision of social media may come down to what a new website calls “Service Networking.” Essentially, it means networking online to outsource tasks you need done and offer individual services that you can provide.

The term was coined by a Boston couple who started TaskRabbit (formerly runmyerrand.com). Their site was founded based on the popular conception that there is never enough time in the day to get things done, especially all the simple, common tasks of everyday life. The site suggests things like IKEA furniture assembly, airport rides and grocery runs but current tasks range from iPod playlist updating to mowing a lawn.

This is how it works: You post the task you need done to the “Task” section of the site, and then set an offer price for the task to be completed, or allow “runners” to place bids. When the task is complete, your debit or credit card is charged to pay the runner, who you are asked to rate for effectiveness.

Tasks can be anything from picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping or moving furniture. It is important, however, to think carefully before setting a price for your task to be certain it includes the cost of gas and travel tolls in addition to ensuring it’s fair based on the amount of time it will take to complete, whether it’s time sensitive and how strenuous it is. {PrimeWriter}

The site doesn’t employ runners directly, but is instead meant as a platform for people who need extra help and those who can offer it to meet. “Runners” are stay at-home parents, young professionals, retirees, and college students, who are subject to background checks and chosen based on schedule and location.

For people assigning tasks, it’s almost like having a pay-per-task personal assistant for busy days. For those who need some extra cash but like a bit of flexibility in their schedule, it also seems to be a good idea. While a post on Craigslist would probably turn up similar tasks, and responses from local people looking for odd jobs, the background check option, feedback system and social elements add a much needed layer of confidence.

AirBnB (AirBed and Breakfast) gained a solid audience by applying similar features to vacation rentals, and if PriceRabbit can grow beyond their Boston base, there’s no reason to believe they couldn’t see similar success  by applying ratings and a bit more personality to the local service section of the classifieds.

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