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Latest From Second Life Creator: Crowdsourcing Small Jobs

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the 3d-through-6th-life dept.

Businesses 74

waderoush writes "At Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale led the creation of Second Life, a virtual world with a complex internal economy. Now he's applying some of the same ideas to the real world at Coffee & Power, a hybrid workclub and crowdsourcing marketplace for small jobs. The C&P site (which was itself crowdsourced via another Rosedale project called Worklist) matches sellers and buyers of services from personal shopping to software tutoring. Payments are handled using a virtual currency, and members can meet up to collaborate or deliver services at the C&P offices in San Francisco and Santa Monica. 'Coffee & Power is a tool that asks the question, 'If you had an extra three hours today, how many things could you do?'' Rosedale says. 'We all have a lot of skills that we don't use in our day jobs.'"

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Important figures from article (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590228)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: $12

So if you live in China, India, Nigeria, etc. and would love to work for $24 a day, great news! And for those you who live in the first world, well, enjoy the continued outsourcing that's going to have us all living in a goddamned Mad Max dystopia by the end of the century. Buy your Chinese-made shouldpads and dune buggies now.

Re:Important figures from article (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590308)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: $12

That's 12 C$, which leads me to ask 2 important questions:

1) What's the exchange rate between C$ and USD?

2) According to TFA, C&P takes "a 15 percent cut when users convert their C$ into real dollars;" assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?), which end does the 15% come off?

Re:Important figures from article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590348)

15% off pre-multiplication is going to be the same result as 15% off post-multiplication.

Re:Important figures from article (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590614)

I think he meant does the guy who buys the C$ pay the 15% or does the guy cashing out the C% pay it? And I'll bet the answer is: both.

Re:Important figures from article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590672)

Makes more sense to take it when cashing out, as long as it's in their system it's effectively money in the bank for them, so they'd want to encourage people to make transactions and leave their money as C$.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591218)

I think he meant does the guy who buys the C$ pay the 15% or does the guy cashing out the C% pay it? And I'll bet the answer is: both.

From now on use a remote to start you car because unknowingly you just revealed the Amazon and Apple Store business models!

Re:Important figures from article (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593380)

Was about to post that it's certain rosedale will screw up this too, just like he did for SL.
But i guess the answer to that was easy to notice.

Greed and ignorance in the way of innovation. Again.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

xlsior (524145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590798)

They are pretty much the same: 1 Canadian dollar is 0.99 US dollar at the moment.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592710)

ouch.. i hadn't looked at exchange rates in a while.. last time i got a Canadian money it was 1.50 Canadian = 1 USD

C$ != C$ (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595212)

Yeah, it was a pretty myopic decision to choose to use C$ as their currency denominator, considering it's already used by that giant country to the north of them.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590832)

1) What's the exchange rate between C$ and USD?

From the C&P site:

You can also buy C$ for US$1.00 each by using the menu in the upper right by your balance.

assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?)

It is 1:1. They use virtual currency so they don't have to deal with payment processing fees/regulations each time a transaction occurs, only when money is cashed out.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595980)

1) What's the exchange rate between C$ and USD?

From the C&P site:

You can also buy C$ for US$1.00 each by using the menu in the upper right by your balance.

assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?)

It is 1:1. They use virtual currency so they don't have to deal with payment processing fees/regulations each time a transaction occurs, only when money is cashed out.

The price at which currency, especially fake currency, is sold is =/= to exchange rate; for example, I happen to have in my possession a stack of Indian Rupees, which I will gladly sell to you for $1 USD each. That doesn't mean the exchange rate between USD and Rupees [xe.com] is 1:1, it just means I'm a greedy asshole.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596202)

No, but if the government were to agree to sell all Rupees for $1 each and buy Rupees at $0.85, then that does nail down the conversion rate pretty tightly. Furthermore, in the context of the discussion, it means that you are being paid less than $24 for a days worth of work, as no one is going to pay more for $C than C&P does.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593670)

The great idea in Second Life isn't the avatars or 3D graphics, it's a "frictionless microcurrency". Frictionless in that transactions between users have no fees, and microcurrency in that the smallest unit is 0.004 US$. The great failure of Linden Lab (owners of Second Life) is not realizing that frictionless money has huge potential outside their little virtual world.

Meanwhile, what does Rosedale come up with? A new kind of currency with 15% overhead, even more than credit cards and PayPal charges. All I can say is WTF?

What advantage does Coffee and Power have over the "Gigs" section of Craigslist, aside from prettier website? Does anyone know?

It isn't the outsourcing (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590332)

It's the 20 year de-leveraging which will do it. At the end of it, $12 will be a good days pay.

Re:Important figures from article (2, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590394)

Who said this was a replacement for a real job?

Average pay for moonlight job: $12
Average pay for wasting time on the internet instead: $0

Its better than a kick in the balls.

Re:Important figures from article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590644)

Who said this was a replacement for a real job?

Average pay for moonlight job: $12
Average pay for wasting time on the internet instead: $0

I did!

1) Average pay at my day job: $50/hr
2) Cost of hiring some other dufus to do the boring parts my day job while he slacks off from his day job: $12/hr
3) PMy net pay for wasting time on the internet instead: $38/hr. PROFIT!

Re:Important figures from article (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591032)

1) Average pay at my day job: $50/hr
2) Cost of hiring some other dufus to do the boring parts my day job while he slacks off from his day job: $12/hr
3) PMy net pay for wasting time on the internet instead: $38/hr. PROFIT!


1) Average pay at your day job: $50/hr
2) Cost to your boss of hiring some other dufus to do the job while he slacks off from his day job: $12/hr
3) Your boss's net expense: -$38
4) Your net pay - $0

I hate this argument (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590678)

It's used by cheap labor conservatives to justify crap wages, especially for white collar IT workers. The argument goes it's OK to kill yourself making $3/hour because it's better than goofing off you lazy bastard. It's like when factory owners argued in the 19th century against the 40 hour work week because they lower classes would just spend it drinking anyway.

Hey, you know what? I like living in a world where there's more to life than endless toil. You think the rich bastards that shoved this crap down your throat in grade school work 70 hours a week? If you do, you haven't been paying attention. Here's an idea: Pay people enough to make a difference in their lives and see how much interest you get.

Re:I hate this argument (1, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590808)

You're a bit off comparing it to employment. Try comparing it to a contracting market
The reason the average job is $12 is because thats what the people doing the work are willing to accept.
There is also little correlation between "Average job is $12" Average time for a job is 4 hours". A lot of 10 minute $10 jobs and a few 100 hour $6000 jobs would be enough to get those two averages - except the average $/hr is $60, not $3. I'm sorry you failed at maths.

ps: I'm a white collar IT worker. I don't accept contracts that pay $3/hr. Hell I don't even accept $NZ60/hr.

Re:I hate this argument (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591088)

How is the IT market in New Zealand? I've always wanted to visit there, and wouldn't mind working there 6-12 months to do it.

Re:I hate this argument (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591214)

Not bad. Just don't try looking for jobs over the Christmas period. Most companies shut down for 3 weeks. Wellington is pretty quiet in the few months before elections too as government departments are more cautious with long term projects. I don't know how you'd get on being a visitor though. I'm 18 months in to a 12 month contract at the moment, with another 3+ months to go...

Re:I hate this argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38607920)

We working class did get the 40 hour week. I do spend the rest of it drinking. Sometimes the drinking encroaches into the 40 hours. It's hard to know exactly because I'm quite drunk.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590984)

Who said this was a replacement for a real job? Average pay for moonlight job: $12 Average pay for wasting time on the internet instead: $0 Its better than a kick in the balls.

That's assuming time on the internet is "wasted". I consider it leisure time, which has a non-zero value to me. If I really wanted to I could get a part-time job at a coffee shop to use up these hours where I'm not at work, but I value non-work hours more than I value the $40 I'd get doing a shift at Tim Horton's for the evening. There's more to life than making money.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591098)

There people go comparing contracting to employment.
If you were to pick and choose which shifts you felt like doing at Tim Horton's, you'd get fired pretty quick. If you decide not to pick contract, no one cares.
Some people enjoy doing constructive/challenging and getting paid for it may just be a bonus. Work is not supposed to be unenjoyable.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591780)

Its what? :P

Re:Important figures from article (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591898)

Sorry. It's better than a kick in the ball(s) and/or vagina.

Great Idea for the GOP (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590874)

The GOP will certainly be able to support this, since then they will be able to add all the virtual people to the unemployment statistics.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591192)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: $12

Yeah it's like those people in Extreme Couponing on tv, they get 500$ worth of grocery for 25$, but they spend 45 hours finding, cutting and sorting coupons to get that. Working full time would bring at least that much money and possibly give more growth opportunity than sorting coupons in a big Excel file.

Unemployment (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594914)

Working full time would bring at least that much money

Provided that employers are offering a position for more than $10.56 after taxes, which would be closer to $13.00 per hour. That's not guaranteed until U.S. BLS unemployment figures drop a couple more points.

Re:Important figures from article (1)

atknot (2546134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596144)

Interesting topic! What do you think people that live off $25 a month would say to this? If you are in a company that uses or has used crowdsourcing, please contribute to the research I am conducting (100% anonymous) on crowdsourcing in the UK, please see the link: http://svy.mk/xl6tcZ [svy.mk] Much appreciated!

mini wage and the IRS (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590276)

I can see this ending badly. Also I think by law they must pay in real cash as well.

Re:mini wage and the IRS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590604)

contractors can stipulate whatever they wish to receive as compensation for their work...
there is no law mandating that "payment" for "work" be in the form of "real cash" -- whatever you define that to be... US Currency? *stifles a laugh*

also a contractors can mess up that get billed (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590772)

the costs and then some lets say to make a typo in a web app and they clam it broke there sever and they want to you buy them a new one.

Or on the other side it trun's out the system is very under powered to start with and it can't do the work load they want to code for them and then they come asking for all new system all at your cost as the code you added made there side go down.

Re:mini wage and the IRS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590702)

Wasn't ABBA paid in real estate etc when they toured America, in order to avoid the taxes of their socialist country?

Fiver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590314)

So.. basically, it's Fiverr?

Ever been to the Mechanical Turk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590318)

Crowdsourcing labor is the most bullshit anti-worker move in recent memory. Now you're not just competing against everyone else, you're competing against fractions of their time for even less money.

Re:Ever been to the Mechanical Turk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590598)

You're going to bend over, grab your ankles, and take it up the ass for your corporate masters, and you're going to LIKE IT!

Seriously though, the almighty dollar is the only thing that matters these days I guess. Little people aren't supposed to have money or a decent standard of living, that's for executives and politicians. Just because they have more money than the rest of us means that they are inherently *better*.

Re:Ever been to the Mechanical Turk? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590882)

Ask any Evangelical Christian preacher, and he'll confirm it. Rich people have more money because God loves them more, and has blessed them with prosperity. It's called "Prosperity Theology" [wikipedia.org] and it's the basis for evangelical Christianity in America today.

Slaving for God and for Riches? I am disappoint. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594982)

Which is part of why I left the movement popularly called "evangelical Christianity": I got disillusioned with the worship of riches. As Jesus pointed out: "No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches." (Matthew 6:24) But not all Christian congregations that practice evangelism (i.e. spreading the message of God's coming kingdom) have the promise of worldly riches in mind.

Re:Ever been to the Mechanical Turk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38597132)

From your own link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology#Theological_criticism [wikipedia.org]

Mainstream evangelicalism has consistently opposed prosperity theology[12] and prosperity ministries have frequently come into conflict with other Christian groups, including those within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.[1] Critics, such as Evangelical pastor Michael Catt[41] and Simon Coleman, have argued that prosperity theology has little in common with traditional theology. Prominent evangelical leaders, such as Rick Warren, Ben Witherington III,[7] and Jerry Falwell,[42] have harshly criticized the movement, sometimes denouncing it as heretical.[7] Warren proposes that prosperity theology promotes the idolatry of money, and others argue that Jesus' teachings indicate a disdain for material wealth

Just because someone appears on TV more often than other people does not make that person representative of the norm.

Re:Ever been to the Mechanical Turk? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598554)

Just because someone appears on TV more often than other people does not make that person representative of the norm.

I disagree; when someone appears on TV a lot, it means that they're getting a lot of funding from somewhere. With TV preachers, that generally means lots and lots of devoted followers sending in bags of money on the promise that God will reward them tenfold. It isn't cheap to be on TV, have your own channel, have a private jet to fly you to Africa and back frequently, etc. And with the way that most conservative voters these days are both highly religious and also openly revere rich people and want to lower their taxes, there's plenty of evidence that Prosperity Theology is indeed the mainstream for conservative Americans.

Crowdfunding adding features to FOSS projects (1)

noobermin (1950642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590330)

Was an idea I had, well someone beat me to it. :-P Well my idea was to have a company that would serve client requests for features in various FOSS projects but this idea is cooler.

Kickstarter (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594992)

Well my idea was to have a company that would serve client requests for features in various FOSS projects

Like Kickstarter?

Congratulations, you've invented virtual day labor (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590364)

How is this, in any fashion, different than a landscaping contractor rolling up to a street corner and spot-hiring half a dozen undocumented workers for an enjoyable day of grass-mowing and leaf-blowing at 7 bucks an hour?

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Congratulations, you've invented virtual day la (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590628)

>

What could possibly go wrong?

Spammers from third world countries.

Re:Congratulations, you've invented virtual day la (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38591392)

....spot-hiring half a dozen undocumented workers for an enjoyable day of grass-mowing and leaf-blowing at 7 bucks an hour?

$7? Try $4

Just-in-time disposable employees (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590428)

Rent-a-Coder, Mechanical Turk, Freelancer.com, and now this.

Manpower, Inc. is one of the US's largest "employers".

unions (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590720)

This is why we need more of them and more workers rights. Freelancer / contractor also need more rights there is a lot of abuse. The cable industry is real bad with that. Also there is more stuff like change backs where you can have funds taken away from your after doing the job.

Re:unions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593166)

Any achievement of protectionism will end up pricing ourselves out of the market, and further drive up costs of living(which is why we consumers turn to companies that hire cheaper labor in the first place) just like so many of the private sector unions. Only the most heavily subsidized still survive today, along with their unapproachable government union counterparts. For the rest of them, those industries thrive in other countries where they are permitted to price things how us consumers are willing to buy.

Pushing for conditions more desirable for us tech workers is admirable, so long as the methods used are voluntary. If violence is the means used, the incentives involved between buyer and seller will become lopsided as the cost evaluation doesn't measure the traded item itself, but also the threat of harm also included in the deal. It upsets the pricing mechanism. Force will merely distort the balance, and thus find some other mechanism to return to level, which is necessarily worse for most everyone including us. It may not happen right away, and maybe our generation would make off with some loot but it will most definitely cost the next generation of workers dearly, as it has in so many other sectors of the market.

Re:unions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593390)

Posting anonymously to protect myself:

I once interviewed with "IDT Energy". They're a power/gas reseller in NY and NJ. Regulations went away, they buy power in bulk, and they "save you money" supposedly. This is rarely the case for most people. They got hit over the head by the NY government for fucking things up a lot.

Long story short, training consisted of high-pressure sales tactics. Pay was about $350 a week, but you're looking at 70-90 hour weeks. Oh, and you didn't work for the company, you were an "independent contractor". This means that the company did not pay into unemployment or social security, nor did they take any taxes out whatsoever. All of that was your responsibility, meaning that your pay was now probably closer to $200 a week for at least 70 hours (Monday-Saturday).

Every day also consisted of a 1 1/2 hour meeting repeating the same high pressure sales tactics and lauding the people who made a lot of sales the previous day - regardless of how much they lied. (The company never told you to outright lie, but the managers sort of winked and nodded about not filling everyone in on all the details, that is a "lie of omision".)

This is what we as a country are becoming. Nobody wants to work 80, 90, 100 hours a week for slave wages. But de-regulation, gutting of safety nets, and a incredibly shitty job market is destroying any hope we as Americans have of actually earning a decent wage without killing ourselves.

freelancer.com for hipsters (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590542)

because, hey, you know? freelancer.com just doesnt have enough 'passion' involved.

Great idea, but not original. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590626)

Here in NYC, TaskRabbit is doing, more or less, the same thing. If you have free time and want to make a few bucks, you go to their website and sign up for something to do. Works great for college students and people who really need the money. I know I've seen ads for other services that do the same thing. The big difference is that these sites take real money. Apart from Bitcoin, I don't understand the lure of using virtual currency that requires real currency to obtain. What does this accomplish?

Re:Great idea, but not original. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590806)

I believe the idea is that with the already existing services you're talking about, every time you get hooked up with a client via that service, the service takes a cut. With this "new" service, they hook you up free of charge. The client has to buy the currency with the 15% surcharge. Once you get your virtual money you can either save it, or pay it to someone else without having to pay the surcharge. So imagine you're really good at project management and finding clients. They pay you in virtual dollars, you get other people to do the different bits of the project for you from the same service and pay them in the virtual dollars without having to pay the 15% on what you pay them... then you take whats left over as you're pay. The better you are at working deals with people the more of the money you get to keep. None of the transactions are subject to any regulatory authority or taxes until you cash out. You could even wait to cash out until the tax climate is more favorable.

Don't get me wrong, it's a stupid idea. It's something that would work great if it was large scale, but getting people to buy in will be nearly impossible and by the time it gets anywhere near big enough to make a difference, the government is going to come down on them like a ton of bricks. Not to mention they are starting it in California, the worst state as far as taxes go and the only state to actually start squeezing sales taxes out of online retailers. That's before we even get to the likelihood that the administrators of this service decide to invest the money they're holding onto for you in the market, lose their pants, try to cover it up and this entire affair turns into a giant ponzy scheme. Which I think is fairly likely.

If you had an extra three hours today, how many... (1)

nlindstrom (244357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590686)

"If you had an extra three hours today, how many things could you do?"

If it was a Wednesday, play Halo Reach on Legendary with all skulls on.

Disclaimer: Not Trolling (1)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590692)

It nice to know about a me-too crowd-sourcing concept (Fiverr, Zaarly etc) but it looks like an unwanted commercial in between those tech posts.

Or its just me!

I have a question (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590958)

"If you had an extra three hours today, how many things could you do?"

What, did they change celestial mechanics and the day is now 27 hours?

Re:I have a question (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592836)

Clearly your just not working enough hours. You should give up on sleeping so much... sleep is for the poor.

QA Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38591094)

I worked on this for a while but there didn't seem to be a good pay structure for QA people who were testing. I wasn't ending up getting payment, so I ended up quitting the whole deal. Maybe they have worked out the kinks by now, but I am not confident.

Who? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38591174)

Who the fuck still uses second life? Seriously?

Re:Who? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592068)

Who the fuck still uses second life? Seriously?

If it's that serious, go search Google.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592196)

Nobody ever used it in the first place, really. (Disclaimer: That's "nobody" in the sense of "such a tiny proportion of the overall population that it might as well have been nobody".) I can't believe how much hype it generated, for a product that was obviously headed absolutely nowhere.

Re:Who? (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593786)

An average of 50,000 people at any given moment (it varies by time of day). About half a million regular users. That's probably more than Slashdot.

mad skillz (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591314)

this is great, of-course for local jobs this will pretty quickly degenerate into cheapest bj proposals given what the majority of the people's skillz are.

Tax (4, Insightful)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591344)

I wonder what the IRS, state tax boards, various employment/workplace regulatory bodies and such are going to have to say about this... they're going to want their cut of the action.

I also suspect the Treasury Department may have something to say about virtual currencies being used to pay for real-world goods and services. This ain't Second Life scripted wang-doodles we're talkin' about here. Scrip is a legal minefield.

Re:Tax (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593736)

I pay the IRS for my Second Life net earnings just like any other small business. The key thing to understand is that it becomes real money at the point Linden Lab/Second Life cashes me out to PayPal. Anything before that is just internal data on their servers. I also get to deduct all my legitimate expenses, like internet connection, depreciation on my PC.

As far as labor laws, the question is are Coffee and Power service providers (the people doing the work) an employee of anyone under government rules? If they are, then minimum wage and other rules apply. But your hair salon person isn't your employee, they are providing a service for a fee. If they come do it at your house, generally they would still not be an employee. There are technical rules about when you do become one, and thus covered by all the labor laws.

Re:Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593764)

It's accordant with conventional contracting. The IRS expects contractors to report and pay taxes on the income they receive. Income doesn't have to be cash - it can be stock, gold, kittens, etc.

No, it does not beg the question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38591772)

It raises the question.

http://begthequestion.info/

This reminds me of Indian slum economies... (3, Interesting)

phik (2368654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38591920)

A retailer needs 500 handbags to sell to rich women...

In the USA (and most traditional economies):

The retailer contacts a supplier who contacts a handbag company who contacts a factory in China who makes the bags and ships them to the retailer. For better or for worse, it's Capitalism in action where fancy bags come from big factories across the ocean.

In the slums of Mumbai:

The retailer contacts a supplier who goes into the slums and talks to poor women in their shacks and asks them to make him a couple bags each. He goes from shack to shack and picks up the two-three bags and gives the women a tiny payment. Then he goes to another neighborhood and distributes the bags to a dozen other ladies who stitch the patterns onto the bag. Someone else picks them all up or tells the ladies to bring the bags to another shack where they are counted and the women are paid a few cents each. The supplier ships the bags to the retailer. For better or for worse, it's crazy decentralized unregulated and unregulatable chaos Capitalism where fancy bags come from a hundred poor living rooms.

At least in the Chinese factories, workers are starting to demand better conditions and wages and there are standards and some regulations and standards in place. In India the workers get paid next to nothing because they are all working in their homes and don't have any idea who they are working for and aren't employees - work on contract only - and don't know any of their fellow workers so they can't unionize and demand better wages, and they work in their homes deep in slums so there is absolutely no regulation.

My point is that this kind of small crowdsourced job idea reminds me of the Indian model, and I don't like it.
Feel free to disagree though, what else is /. for?

I did the experiment myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592752)

I got myself 2 free hour.

I got myself an account on Mechanical Turk, entered my PayPal info and such.

I clicked and clicked, do jobs big and small.

Then I stopped.

2 weeks later I checked my PayPal account.

I was eight dollar richer.

Eight dollars ain't that much, but to some poor sods in India or Guatemala, eight dollars in exchange of 2 hours of their lives still worth something.

Re:This reminds me of Indian slum economies... (1)

John Da' Baddest (1686670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593220)

How much IT work lives in a vaccum without context, as does a handbag?

This new service might be useful for a few one-time scripts by someone with more experience than the customer, but real business value requires integration & continuity. Etc.

Things will get more interesting if these guys can introduce an "OpenCEO" product. Why pay for high-priced execs when you can download the equivalent for free?

Re:This reminds me of Indian slum economies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594206)

Agreed! These crowdsourced work models result in a "race to the bottom" in wages. They suck, and the people who run them are nothing but low-life parasites!

Hey, need your help! (1)

atknot (2546134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593672)

I'm doing study on Crowdsourcing and have very limited time to write my MBA dissertation. I need to collect information from people who engaged in crowdsourcing professionally. I made a 10 question survey (takes less than 5 min) for anonymous data collection. Check it out http://svy.mk/xl6tcZ [svy.mk] if you think it considers you, and SHARE please! Could anyone also tell me where I can share to get the highest response rate possible? Any help appreciated!

Here's An Idea (1)

SimFlyer (665313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602312)

You are of course free to start your own business and work for yourself at any wage you can afford to pay yourself.
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