New websites putting up small jobs for bid, or micro-labor, are on the rise. Clean my compost bin. Buy my dog food. Job-hungry Americans are bidding low. Where does this go?
A lot of Americans need work. A lot of Americans need work done. A raft of new web sites is hooking them up around specific tasks that need doing. You want a pile of sand moved. You post a picture of that pile online.
I bid for the work. I'll move that sand for thirty bucks. Or twenty. Or ten. Or five if I'm hungry enough. The upside: efficient connection of job and labor, and I make a buck. The downside: it's work, but not a job. And the low bid that wins can be very low indeed.
This hour, On Point: the new era of bidding for work online. How hot it is. How low it can go.
Scott Kirsner, writes the weekly"Innovation Economy" column and blog for the Boston Globe and Boston.com.
Eric Koester, founder and chief marketing officer/chief operating officer of Zaarly, a peer-to-peer mobile start up that allows people to bid for goods and services.
Harley Shaiken, professor at U.C. Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy.
John Horton, staff economist at oDesk Corporation, a online global marketplace that helps people hire, manage and pay remote freelancers or teams.