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Microtask: Crowdsource Business Tasks

October 26th, 2010

Let’s say you’re running a business and decide to outsource a tedious, time consuming task. One way to tackle the problem would be to visit any of the many outsourcing job websites, type up the project details, collect bids and choose a winning party.

There’s a bit of risk involved. Usually companies outsource tasks because they don’t have the resources to complete them themselves. If the third-party misses a deadline or completes the work incorrectly, the company is placed in a difficult position. There’s also the concern with trust. People submitting bids may only be able to judge an applicant based on a star rating or a portfolio of work. What if your task contains confidential data?

Microtask offers the alternative. Instead of assigning your project to one party, Microtask breaks tasks into multiple little pieces and distributes them across their network. If someone doesn’t finish a task completely, the task can be easily reassigned to someone else without impacting the deadline. It’s like having a group of people try to solve a jigsaw puzzle (and each person being paid less) versus leaving it to one person (and being paid more).

The service also alleviates one of the primary concerns for businesses:  distributing proprietary data to anonymous parties. Since the work is broken into many pieces before hitting any workers, people only see a fraction of the project, and none of the workers have access to the entire set of data. They also don’t see the project’s brief. Once work is submitted, Microtask is able to begin stitching everything together automatically.

Other popular outsource marketplaces show their rates upfront and allow people to dictate budgets behind a web form. Microtask requires people to reach out for a quote, which is understandable because each project’s scope is different. At the moment, it seems the service is set up best to handle form processing, transcriptions and digitalizing archives. Projects like programming or writing may be best left to the other guys.

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