TaskRabbit and Zaarly merge social networking with the DIY economy. TaskRabbit, available as an iPhone app, allows users to post tasks they want done and what they are willing to pay. Any legal task can be posted, but the app focuses on conventional services like repairs and maid service. The app matches the task master with a nearby worker who makes the best offer. Workers go through a vetting process that includes a criminal background check. Once in the community, they are ranked by reputation. When task masters pay the workers, using a registered credit card account, TaskRabbit takes a transaction fee.
TaskRabbit was an early comer to the space, launching in late 2008. But it seems to be thriving now that other mobile location apps have grown in popularity, according to a representative.
Zaarly, which launched in May, focuses on the sale of goods, rather than services, within a given location, although it can also offer services. Would-be buyers post what they want. Would-be sellers can search offers based on price and distance. The buyers then choose among the responses to their offers. There's no obligation to accept any offer. When a task is completed, Zaarly takes a cut.
The system requires users to verify their identities with an email address, a phone number and a Facebook account.