Gigwalk’s New Gig: Microsoft

When I first heard about Gigwalk I was instantly fascinated and knew that it had great potential. Microsoft has come along to validate that with a new deal that will have “Gigwalkers” capturing local business information and taking interior photography for Bing in all of Gigwalk’s eight metro markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle.

According to CEO Ariel Seidman Gigwalkers will be doing the following:

  • Confirming the business is there
  • Capturing some basic information about the business
  • Taking exterior photos
  • Taking interior photos with Microsoft’s Photosynth iPhone app

Gigwalk is an “on-demand mobile workforce” similar to but of higher quality than Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Would-be Gigwalkers download the iPhone app, sign up and start fulfilling “gigs.” Companies post gigs. The gigs can pay up to $7 but most pay $4 to $5 according to Seidman. Gigwalkers are scored and better Gigwalkers get access to better and better-paying gigs.

The first Gigwalker to show up at a gig location (confirmed by GPS) and claim a gig has 12 hours to complete it. Most gigs are completed within an hour. Seidman says that the iPhone app even has push notifications to let Gigwalkers know when they’re in an area with an available gig. Companies can often start getting data and content within a day.

Gigwalk soft-launched late last year with $1.7 million in funding. Since that time it has performed more than 115,000 gigs on behalf of customers and there are more than 50,000 Gigwalkers. The Microsoft partnership announcement is sure to get the attention of Google, Facebook and others interested in local, as well as VCs who’ll probably be picking up the phone to offer Seidman money.

Microsoft tested Gigwalk out before “going big” with this new partnership assignment. The following image is an example of the type of interior 360 degree photography that Gigwalk will be generating for Microsoft.

Gigwalk has the capacity to scale in cities where it operates and collect data and imagery faster than what Google can probably do using an outsourced network of professional and quasi-professional photographers for local business interiors.

Gigwalkers are not salespeople but they can perform a wide range of tasks in the real world. Seidman told me that in Gigwalk’s larger markets such as NY, SF and LA the Microsoft gigs have not exhausted the company’s capacity, but in some of the smaller markets they are nearing that point.

Seidman’s challenge now is to quickly build out more cities and additional capacity to meet what will likely be rapidly increasing demand.

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