PLEDGE NOW
The Rise Of Micro-Labor

New websites putting up small jobs for bid, or micro-labor, are on the rise. Clean my compost bin. Buy my dog food. Job-hungry Americans are bidding low. Where does this go?

Micro-labor websites are taking off. (Photo illustration/WBUR)

Micro-labor websites are taking off. (Photo illustration/WBUR)

A lot of Americans need work. A lot of Americans need work done. A raft of new web sites is hooking them up around specific tasks that need doing. You want a pile of sand moved. You post a picture of that pile online.

I bid for the work. I’ll move that sand for thirty bucks. Or twenty. Or ten. Or five if I’m hungry enough. The upside: efficient connection of job and labor, and I make a buck. The downside: it’s work, but not a job. And the low bid that wins can be very low indeed.

This hour, On Point: the new era of bidding for work online. How hot it is. How low it can go.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Scott Kirsner, writes the weekly”Innovation Economy” column and blog for the Boston Globe and Boston.com.

Eric Koester, founder and chief marketing officer/chief operating officer of Zaarly, a peer-to-peer mobile start up that allows people to bid for goods and services.

Harley Shaiken, professor at U.C. Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy.

John Horton, staff economist at oDesk Corporation, a online global marketplace that helps people hire, manage and pay remote freelancers or teams.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal “A new crop of websites and smartphone applications are allowing people to farm out chores to a growing army of temporary personal assistants. These micro-employees are taking the division of labor to once-unthinkable extremes.”

The Boston Globe “Here’s today’s column from the Boston Globe, about sites that enable small jobs to be distributed to a global network of freelancers. I’m publishing it here in its entirety because the Globe’s website seems to be down this morning.”

ABC News “One young woman, an experienced advertising director, stands in her kitchen preparing dinner for some college students. “

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 4, 2015
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of a migrant child after a number of migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (DHA/AP)

Migrant crisis in Europe. The Iran deal, cleared. A Kentucky clerk and gay marriage. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Sep 4, 2015
Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Kiki Bertens, of the Netherlands, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Serena Williams. The undisputed queen of tennis, and what she’s meant in sports and beyond.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 4, 2015
Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Kiki Bertens, of the Netherlands, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Serena Williams. The undisputed queen of tennis, and what she’s meant in sports and beyond.

 
Sep 4, 2015
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of a migrant child after a number of migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (DHA/AP)

Migrant crisis in Europe. The Iran deal, cleared. A Kentucky clerk and gay marriage. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Martin O’Malley On ‘Rigged’ Democratic Debates
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2015

Former Baltimore mayor and Democratic Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has single digits in the polls in Iowa but is out there swinging. He joined host Tom Ashbrook on Wednesday.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments