Digital Economy: Taskrabbit - Paper Example

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Middlebury College
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In this essay, we look at the Crowdwork platform Taskrabbit. Crowdwork platforms are companies providing online platforms for individuals and organizations to access an unlimited and anonymous group of other people and solve particular problems or to offer particular products or services in exchange for payment. These platforms seek to organize the subcontracting of jobs to a wide pool of online workers than to individual members of staff. Technology is crucial to enable these kinds of transactions to occur as they are entirely online based. They kinds of tasks posted include macro jobs that are less automated and needs more preference on the workers side; simple projects needing notable investment of skills and time by the worker and in rare cases, complex projects. As a Crowdwork platform, Taskrabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that connects freelance labor with demand, letting the clients to find speedy assistance with daily tasks such as moving, cleaning, handyman work and delivery among others. The company was established by Leah Busque in 2008; getting the idea for the organization after she discovered she was always pressed for time to buy dog food.

What is the business model of the company?

How does it make money in this area?

TaskRabbit is a double-sided that links TaskPosters, individuals needing assistance, with TaskRabbits, a network of preapproved and screened people, who have the time and skills required to finish the listed task CITATION Jug151 \l 1033 (Juggernaut, 2015). It is beneficial for those with more money than time, it lets individuals to outsource small tasks to others in their communities. The firm aims to assist individuals to have flexible work hours as well as make money after accomplishing tasks on the online platforms. The value proposition that the firm offers is that it saves time, makes it easy to obtain assistance, offers insurance for tasks valued up to $1000000, local tasks in and around their communities, cash free payments, flexible work schedules, better wages on reputation as the level improves, and instant wages immediately following the completion of tasks CITATION Jug151 \l 1033 (Juggernaut, 2015). People who need to outsource tasks can post their job on the service and it will link them to eligible Taskers available to assist. Individuals who are time pressed can put up the job through the service and have the task taken care of by the time they get back. It also allows payment through the app after the task has been attained.

Taskdoers are individuals who are unemployed or underemployed or those who are seeking to earn some spare cash can join the service. The background is screened and an applicant is cross-examined after being quizzed to be chosen as a Tasker. In their earlier business model, Tasker would bid for a job, but from June 2014 Taskers are then allotted a job CITATION Jug151 \l 1033 (Juggernaut, 2015). They can either agree to it or reject it. The service follows a three step model. A TaskPoster puts up a job and TaskRabbit proposes three contractors, as well as their hourly rates, who characterize a variety of fees and level of experience CITATION Jug151 \l 1033 (Juggernaut, 2015). A Tasker can accept or reject the job depending on their availability and convenience. The job is then finished by the Tasker and the payment is administered through the app. All the taskers in the TaskRabbits record are wholly qualified and confirmed following a comprehensive screening. Following the completion of a task, a taskposter can appraise and rate the service.

The sole way through which TaskRabbit receives its income, is through taking a percentage on all transactions taking place through the app. Earlier when TaskRabbit had set up its business portal for local businesses who could obtain staff from TaskRabbit, the firm would charge approximately 26% from the local business. Nevertheless, TaskRabbit shortly closed its business portal CITATION Jug151 \l 1033 (Juggernaut, 2015).

Themes of the digital economy the business model builds on

As a Crowdwork platform, TaskRabbit can be firmly confirmed to be operating in the digital economy which can be described as the economic undertakings resulting from multitudes of daily online linking of devices, processes, businesses, people and data. The pillar of the digital economy is hyper connectivity meaning that there is increased interconnectedness of organizations, people and machines stemming from the internet, the internet of things (IoT) and mobile technology. They digital economy is emerging and displacing the traditional ideas regarding the structuring of businesses, how consumers acquire goods, services and information. TaskRabbit is disrupting the usual model of how people work, and the process of finding employment among other practices it hiring and recruitment. The aggressive application of data is altering business models, enabling the production of new services and products, yielding more utility, as well as welcoming a new culture of management CITATION Wha2 \l 1033 (What is digital economy? Unicorns. transformation and the internet of things, n.d.).

More specifically, TaskRabbit portrays the sharing economy model which is a key theme under the digital economy CITATION Vic16 \l 1033 (Espinel, 2016). The platform enables individuals and organizations to share services. With more people choosing to make the platform their sole source of work, the service is changing how individuals manage their work schedules, and gives them choice with regards to the tasks that they choose to complete. It also makes it easy for individuals and organizations seeking assistance in completion of tasks to obtain the help, and choose the best possible person for the task.

Existing and potential competitors

TaskRabbit faces several competitors in the Crowdwork platform arena as there are a number of firms that are delivering similar services. These competitors are either head on, which means that they compete with TaskRabbit directly, or they are adjacent, which means the services they offer are somewhat similar. The space in which TaskRabbit competes is a big one, and all the players are looking to become the Amazon of services. One is Postmates located in San Francisco, with an estimated revenue of $75 million, 1800 members of staff, which is transforming the manner through which goods are transported around cities by letting individuals have anything delivered on-demand. Their revolutionary Urban Logistics platform links clients with local couriers who can convey anything from any outlet in a matter of minutes. They enable communities to shop locally without waiting, and endow businesses through their API to offer delivery. Rinse offers Dry-cleaning and laundry as well as delivery. Bringing in estimated revenues of $15 million and having about 60 employees, the firm serves San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Then there is Zaask which assist individuals to employ qualified individuals to undertake their tasks. This online platform, just like TaskRabbit, enables the user to compare and employ rated service professionals. Zaask is Europes biggest player in this space. Zaarly is a marketplace where the users can request for an array of services. Presently, the platform is available in Minneapolis, Denver, Kansas City, and the cities in Northern Virginia. There is Handy, a platform which links users is searching for household service providers like plumbers, handymen and cleaners. It enables booking through the mobile app. Through, users can post requests and link with service providers or other people who are able to complete the needed task. College Labor also offers TaskRabbit some competition in the crowdwork platform sector by working as a job locator for college students where the services can be basic cleaning or haulage. The platform serves both Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area. Porch links house owners to professional so as to maintain their home and finish projects such as landscaping and remodeling. Thumbtack links clients to local professionals for an extensive array of services and tasks in categories such as wellness, events, home and lessons.

How the company developed into what it is today

The characteristics of the industry of the company

Online crowd work is undertaken in marketplaces which enable requestors to seek and support workers in getting work. It falls under the peer-to-peer market whose aim is to create trade between huge numbers of fragmented buyers and sellers. A majority of professional work comprises of complex sets of inter-reliant tasks that require coordination across people with varying capabilities and expertise. Peer-to-peer markets are typically characterized by a high amounts of heterogeneity. Consequently there is a problem of matching buyers and sellers as well as determining the right price. These problems have a vital informational component information is shared regarding the people who ought to be matched and at what price, so in order for a market to be effective, it must successfully aggregate information. The markets also need to abate transaction costs, for instance the time needed to communicate information or look through the selections. A majority of the features of internet marketing design can be perceived as trading off between the efficient application of information and keeping transaction costs low.

The internet allows peer-to-peer markets to apply an extensive range of varying pricing options. Online labor markets permits buyers to post jobs and invite bids from interested suppliers. This auction model is alluring since it lets the prices respond to the market conditions. Nevertheless, contingent pricing does not essentially need an auction. Marketplaces such as Amazon, Airbnb and Etsy make it simple and economical for sellers to adjust prices in real time, with some sellers doing this by applying automatic algorithms. However, auctions have been gradually declining for over ten years. This has been attributed to the fact that competition is becoming more intense and decreased seller margins, and partly since buyers concern towards partaking and bidding in auctions has deteriorated over time, although they can anticipate on average to obtain a better prices.

Market transactions need trust, and this is particularly true in markets seeking to enable spot trades between big numbers of buyers and sellers that are spread out. This trust can be obtained from reputation, prior inspection, and from outside enforcement CITATION Ein16 \l 1033 (Einav, Farronato, & Levin, 2016). Internet markets are dependent on these three, but frequently in varying degrees from conventional markets. Inspection is more problematic when buyers and sellers encounter online, creating opportunities for misrepresentation CITATION Ein16 \l 1033 (Einav, Farronato, & Levin, 2016). A crucial aspect to a majority of peer-to-peer markets is the application of reputation or feedback mechanisms. These mechanisms are easy to establish online and seem to have marked bite although researchers have identified a majority of their faults and inadequacies. Within markets where the stakes to autonomous transactions are increased, or where personal wellbeing is a concern, reputation mechanisms have become gradually complicated CITATION Ein16 \l 1033 (Einav, Farronato, & Levin, 2016).

Potential and existing privacy concerns and ethical issues

According to a report by Electronic Frontier Foundation, service for hire firms such as TaskRabbit barely safeguard the privacy of their users. The organization does not need a warrant prior to sharing the files and locations of the users with the police, nor do they issue clear guidelines and transparency reports regarding their work with the authorities CITATION Ele...

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