Gigwalk, a free app for iPhone and coming for Android, pays users small fees to perform tasks for companies that need local eyes and ears on the ground. Microsoft Corp.’s Bing, for example, enlists Gigwalkers to photograph businesses for map listings. Navigation service TomTom uses Gigwalkers to verify turn restrictions or bridge heights. Several consumer packaged-goods companies send Gigwalkers to retailers to ensure their products are being displayed properly.

MenuPages, an online restaurant directory with more than 33,000 menus and restaurant profiles in eight markets, uses Gigwalkers to photograph menus and get up-to-date business information on hard-to-contact restaurants, said Tom Bohan, director of MenuPages.

Previously, MenuPages would pay an hourly rate to one or two people to visit a list of restaurants scattered around a city, but it was difficult to control what the hires were doing, and it would take a long time for the information to come through, Bohan said.

With Gigwalk, hundreds of people are paid per task to visit restaurants they happen to be near and upload the information immediately. Doing it through Gigwalk is slightly more expensive, Bohan said, but they are able to accomplish in one month what previously took three

I’m not sure if this is going to be a short lived fad or if this could expand and grow into more businesses.


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