By Teresa Hanafin
By: Gigwalk Inc.
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Should you get it? If you have time on your hands and want to make a little extra money.
Sounds like a great match: Companies need research done to help them run their businesses, and lots of people can use some pocket change to help with expenses. That's the business model of Gigwalk, a mobile app where companies post "gigs" they need done, people apply, get accepted, do the gig, and get paid.
When you're a newbie, the gigs you are offered are low pay: $3, $5, $8. But the more gigs you do - and do well - the more lucrative the gigs are that you will be offered.
What are the gigs? Well, I did four of them (more later): I checked to see where a brand of vodka was placed on the shelves of a liquor store, I checked out an electric vehicle charging station, I tried to evaluate a parking garage, and I reviewed a deals app.
And the pay? I made $24 - less than I spent in gas driving to the locations!
To be fair, for purposes of this review, I chose any gig that was offered, no matter where it was. So I drove all the way to Fitchburg to check out the liquor store and down to Plymouth for the car charging station. If I really was interested in maximizing the value of the gigs, I'd stick closer to home.
The payments went directly to my Paypal account - nice and convenient.
The gigs themselves were interesting. At the liquor store - Kappy's Liquors in Fitchburg - I had to photograph the entire Premium Vodka section with my iPhone. The directions were very specific: Shoot the bottles straight on, not at an angle; get all of the shelves, top to bottom, in each shot; shoot the shelves left to right so the photos could be stitched together.
I brought along my colleague Eric Bauer for moral support, and good thing: When I started photographing the bottles, I swear one of the cash register clerks was giving me the ol' stinkeye. So I had Eric stand at the end of the aisle to block her view.
Nobody bothered me. If they had, I would have been honest about what I was doing, and if they asked me to leave, I would have "accidentally" knocked a few vodka bottles on the floor and left. (Just kidding.)
This gig was from a company working for New Amsterdam vodka. I also had to photograph that brand, showing what brands were immediately above, below, and to the left and right. The manufacturer obviously wanted to know where this liquor store had placed their product on the shelves in relation to the premium vodka section. I don't think they would have been happy; New Amsterdam was fairly far away, next to Pearl and Stoli Wild Cherry. Sounds like one of my high school parties.
I also had to photograph the outside of the store (so they could make sure I was at the right place), answer a few questions, and upload the photos. The entire thing took about 20 minutes, but that doesn't include the close to one-hour driving time there and back. For my efforts, I earned $3. Out of the goodness of my heart, I gave Eric 50 cents.
At the electric charging station, located outside Granite City Electric, I also had to photograph the device and answer several questions: How many chargers were at the station, what was the connector type, etc.
While I was doing it, a guy drove up in a truck and said to me, "I did that yesterday." What? Am I meeting another Gigster? No. He saw an electric car charging up, and thought it was so interesting that he snapped a photo - same thing he thought I was doing. Uh, no, buddy -- I do this only when somebody is paying me $8.
The next gig I couldn't complete because it involved a parking garage at Boston College, in a section of campus that was blocked off. So I photographed the blocked-off area at one entrance and the security guard at the other, shipped them off with an explanation, and got paid anyway - $8.
Finally, I reviewed the DealSquare app, which aggregates deals from the major providers like Groupon and LivingSocial so that you can see all deals in your area in one app. In my job, I do a lot of QA on new sections and products, so I was probably a lot more comprehensive than they expected. In fact, I told them that I thought my stellar work was worth more than $3, and they sent me back a message agreeing -- but didn't cough up any more dough. C'mon - I have backyard birds to feed!
Sometimes you'll be shown a gig that is reserved for members of a Gigwalk group - people who have proven that they do good gigs. For example, I'm now part of the DealSquare Customer Group. Right now, I'm being shown gigs to conduct a shopping study of baby toiletries at local stores for $60, but they are reserved for members of something called the Crandalla Inc. private group.
In conclusion, the gigs I did definitely weren't worth the money I was paid, but that's because I traveled far to do them, using lots of gas and time. If I kept at it, Gigwalk says, I'd be shown increasingly lucrative gigs. The problem is that at times, there just aren't many gigs available to do in metro Boston. It may be that in urban areas, gigs get scooped up quickly.
But give it a try yourself to see if the extra money is worth it for you. Those dollars can add up.