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## Latest From Second Life Creator: Crowdsourcing Small Jobs74

Posted by timothy
from the 3d-through-6th-life dept.
waderoush writes "At Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale led the creation of Second Life, a virtual world with a complex internal economy. Now he's applying some of the same ideas to the real world at Coffee & Power, a hybrid workclub and crowdsourcing marketplace for small jobs. The C&P site (which was itself crowdsourced via another Rosedale project called Worklist) matches sellers and buyers of services from personal shopping to software tutoring. Payments are handled using a virtual currency, and members can meet up to collaborate or deliver services at the C&P offices in San Francisco and Santa Monica. 'Coffee & Power is a tool that asks the question, 'If you had an extra three hours today, how many things could you do?'' Rosedale says. 'We all have a lot of skills that we don't use in our day jobs.'"
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## Latest From Second Life Creator: Crowdsourcing Small Jobs

• #### Important figures from article (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:00PM (#38590228)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: \$12

So if you live in China, India, Nigeria, etc. and would love to work for \$24 a day, great news! And for those you who live in the first world, well, enjoy the continued outsourcing that's going to have us all living in a goddamned Mad Max dystopia by the end of the century. Buy your Chinese-made shouldpads and dune buggies now.

• #### Re: (Score:3)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: \$12

1) What's the exchange rate between C\$ and USD?

2) According to TFA, C&P takes "a 15 percent cut when users convert their C\$ into real dollars;" assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?), which end does the 15% come off?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

They are pretty much the same: 1 Canadian dollar is 0.99 US dollar at the moment.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

ouch.. i hadn't looked at exchange rates in a while.. last time i got a Canadian money it was 1.50 Canadian = 1 USD

• #### C\$ != C\$ (Score:2)

Yeah, it was a pretty myopic decision to choose to use C\$ as their currency denominator, considering it's already used by that giant country to the north of them.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

1) What's the exchange rate between C\$ and USD?

From the C&P site:

You can also buy C\$ for US\$1.00 each by using the menu in the upper right by your balance.

assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?)

It is 1:1. They use virtual currency so they don't have to deal with payment processing fees/regulations each time a transaction occurs, only when money is cashed out.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

1) What's the exchange rate between C\$ and USD?

From the C&P site:

You can also buy C\$ for US\$1.00 each by using the menu in the upper right by your balance.

assuming it is not a 1:1 exchange rate (because, if it were, why the need to pay me in fake digital currency?)

It is 1:1. They use virtual currency so they don't have to deal with payment processing fees/regulations each time a transaction occurs, only when money is cashed out.

The price at which currency, especially fake currency, is sold is =/= to exchange rate; for example, I happen to have in my possession a stack of Indian Rupees, which I will gladly sell to you for \$1 USD each. That doesn't mean the exchange rate between USD and Rupees [xe.com] is 1:1, it just means I'm a greedy asshole.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

No, but if the government were to agree to sell all Rupees for \$1 each and buy Rupees at \$0.85, then that does nail down the conversion rate pretty tightly. Furthermore, in the context of the discussion, it means that you are being paid less than \$24 for a days worth of work, as no one is going to pay more for \$C than C&P does.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

The great idea in Second Life isn't the avatars or 3D graphics, it's a "frictionless microcurrency". Frictionless in that transactions between users have no fees, and microcurrency in that the smallest unit is 0.004 US\$. The great failure of Linden Lab (owners of Second Life) is not realizing that frictionless money has huge potential outside their little virtual world.

Meanwhile, what does Rosedale come up with? A new kind of currency with 15% overhead, even more than credit cards and PayPal charges. Al

• #### It isn't the outsourcing (Score:2)

It's the 20 year de-leveraging which will do it. At the end of it, \$12 will be a good days pay.

• #### Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Who said this was a replacement for a real job?

Average pay for moonlight job: \$12
Average pay for wasting time on the internet instead: \$0

Its better than a kick in the balls.
• #### I hate this argument (Score:4, Insightful)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:48PM (#38590678)
It's used by cheap labor conservatives to justify crap wages, especially for white collar IT workers. The argument goes it's OK to kill yourself making \$3/hour because it's better than goofing off you lazy bastard. It's like when factory owners argued in the 19th century against the 40 hour work week because they lower classes would just spend it drinking anyway.

Hey, you know what? I like living in a world where there's more to life than endless toil. You think the rich bastards that shoved this crap down your throat in grade school work 70 hours a week? If you do, you haven't been paying attention. Here's an idea: Pay people enough to make a difference in their lives and see how much interest you get.
• #### Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

You're a bit off comparing it to employment. Try comparing it to a contracting market
The reason the average job is \$12 is because thats what the people doing the work are willing to accept.
There is also little correlation between "Average job is \$12" Average time for a job is 4 hours". A lot of 10 minute \$10 jobs and a few 100 hour \$6000 jobs would be enough to get those two averages - except the average \$/hr is \$60, not \$3. I'm sorry you failed at maths.

ps: I'm a white collar IT worker. I don't accept
• #### Re: (Score:2)

How is the IT market in New Zealand? I've always wanted to visit there, and wouldn't mind working there 6-12 months to do it.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Not bad. Just don't try looking for jobs over the Christmas period. Most companies shut down for 3 weeks. Wellington is pretty quiet in the few months before elections too as government departments are more cautious with long term projects. I don't know how you'd get on being a visitor though. I'm 18 months in to a 12 month contract at the moment, with another 3+ months to go...
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Who said this was a replacement for a real job? Average pay for moonlight job: \$12 Average pay for wasting time on the internet instead: \$0 Its better than a kick in the balls.

That's assuming time on the internet is "wasted". I consider it leisure time, which has a non-zero value to me. If I really wanted to I could get a part-time job at a coffee shop to use up these hours where I'm not at work, but I value non-work hours more than I value the \$40 I'd get doing a shift at Tim Horton's for the evening. There's more to life than making money.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

There people go comparing contracting to employment.
If you were to pick and choose which shifts you felt like doing at Tim Horton's, you'd get fired pretty quick. If you decide not to pick contract, no one cares.
Some people enjoy doing constructive/challenging and getting paid for it may just be a bonus. Work is not supposed to be unenjoyable.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Its what? :P

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Sorry. It's better than a kick in the ball(s) and/or vagina.
• #### Great Idea for the GOP (Score:2)

The GOP will certainly be able to support this, since then they will be able to add all the virtual people to the unemployment statistics.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Average length of job: Half a day
Average pay of job: \$12

Yeah it's like those people in Extreme Couponing on tv, they get 500\$ worth of grocery for 25\$, but they spend 45 hours finding, cutting and sorting coupons to get that. Working full time would bring at least that much money and possibly give more growth opportunity than sorting coupons in a big Excel file.

• #### Unemployment (Score:2)

Working full time would bring at least that much money

Provided that employers are offering a position for more than \$10.56 after taxes, which would be closer to \$13.00 per hour. That's not guaranteed until U.S. BLS unemployment figures drop a couple more points.

• #### Re: (Score:1)

Interesting topic! What do you think people that live off \$25 a month would say to this? If you are in a company that uses or has used crowdsourcing, please contribute to the research I am conducting (100% anonymous) on crowdsourcing in the UK, please see the link: http://svy.mk/xl6tcZ [svy.mk] Much appreciated!
• #### mini wage and the IRS (Score:2)

I can see this ending badly. Also I think by law they must pay in real cash as well.

• #### Crowdfunding adding features to FOSS projects (Score:1)

Was an idea I had, well someone beat me to it. :-P Well my idea was to have a company that would serve client requests for features in various FOSS projects but this idea is cooler.

• #### Kickstarter (Score:2)

Well my idea was to have a company that would serve client requests for features in various FOSS projects

Like Kickstarter?

• #### Congratulations, you've invented virtual day labor (Score:4, Insightful)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:14PM (#38590364) Journal

How is this, in any fashion, different than a landscaping contractor rolling up to a street corner and spot-hiring half a dozen undocumented workers for an enjoyable day of grass-mowing and leaf-blowing at 7 bucks an hour?

What could possibly go wrong?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

>

What could possibly go wrong?

Spammers from third world countries.

• #### Just-in-time disposable employees (Score:5, Interesting)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:20PM (#38590428) Homepage

Rent-a-Coder, Mechanical Turk, Freelancer.com, and now this.

Manpower, Inc. is one of the US's largest "employers".

• #### unions (Score:3)

This is why we need more of them and more workers rights. Freelancer / contractor also need more rights there is a lot of abuse. The cable industry is real bad with that. Also there is more stuff like change backs where you can have funds taken away from your after doing the job.

• #### Re: (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward

Posting anonymously to protect myself:

I once interviewed with "IDT Energy". They're a power/gas reseller in NY and NJ. Regulations went away, they buy power in bulk, and they "save you money" supposedly. This is rarely the case for most people. They got hit over the head by the NY government for fucking things up a lot.

Long story short, training consisted of high-pressure sales tactics. Pay was about \$350 a week, but you're looking at 70-90 hour weeks. Oh, and you didn't work for the company, you were an "i

• #### freelancer.com for hipsters (Score:2)

because, hey, you know? freelancer.com just doesnt have enough 'passion' involved.

• #### Great idea, but not original. (Score:2)

Here in NYC, TaskRabbit is doing, more or less, the same thing. If you have free time and want to make a few bucks, you go to their website and sign up for something to do. Works great for college students and people who really need the money. I know I've seen ads for other services that do the same thing. The big difference is that these sites take real money. Apart from Bitcoin, I don't understand the lure of using virtual currency that requires real currency to obtain. What does this accomplish?
• #### Re: (Score:3)

I believe the idea is that with the already existing services you're talking about, every time you get hooked up with a client via that service, the service takes a cut. With this "new" service, they hook you up free of charge. The client has to buy the currency with the 15% surcharge. Once you get your virtual money you can either save it, or pay it to someone else without having to pay the surcharge. So imagine you're really good at project management and finding clients. They pay you in virtual dollars,
• #### Disclaimer: Not Trolling (Score:1)

It nice to know about a me-too crowd-sourcing concept (Fiverr, Zaarly etc) but it looks like an unwanted commercial in between those tech posts.

Or its just me!
• #### I have a question (Score:2)

"If you had an extra three hours today, how many things could you do?"

What, did they change celestial mechanics and the day is now 27 hours?
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Clearly your just not working enough hours. You should give up on sleeping so much... sleep is for the poor.

this is great, of-course for local jobs this will pretty quickly degenerate into cheapest bj proposals given what the majority of the people's skillz are.

• #### Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @09:09PM (#38591344) Journal

I wonder what the IRS, state tax boards, various employment/workplace regulatory bodies and such are going to have to say about this... they're going to want their cut of the action.

I also suspect the Treasury Department may have something to say about virtual currencies being used to pay for real-world goods and services. This ain't Second Life scripted wang-doodles we're talkin' about here. Scrip is a legal minefield.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I pay the IRS for my Second Life net earnings just like any other small business. The key thing to understand is that it becomes real money at the point Linden Lab/Second Life cashes me out to PayPal. Anything before that is just internal data on their servers. I also get to deduct all my legitimate expenses, like internet connection, depreciation on my PC.

As far as labor laws, the question is are Coffee and Power service providers (the people doing the work) an employee of anyone under government rules?

• #### This reminds me of Indian slum economies... (Score:3, Interesting)

on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:32PM (#38591920)
A retailer needs 500 handbags to sell to rich women...

In the USA (and most traditional economies):

The retailer contacts a supplier who contacts a handbag company who contacts a factory in China who makes the bags and ships them to the retailer. For better or for worse, it's Capitalism in action where fancy bags come from big factories across the ocean.

In the slums of Mumbai:

The retailer contacts a supplier who goes into the slums and talks to poor women in their shacks and asks them to make him a couple bags each. He goes from shack to shack and picks up the two-three bags and gives the women a tiny payment. Then he goes to another neighborhood and distributes the bags to a dozen other ladies who stitch the patterns onto the bag. Someone else picks them all up or tells the ladies to bring the bags to another shack where they are counted and the women are paid a few cents each. The supplier ships the bags to the retailer. For better or for worse, it's crazy decentralized unregulated and unregulatable chaos Capitalism where fancy bags come from a hundred poor living rooms.

At least in the Chinese factories, workers are starting to demand better conditions and wages and there are standards and some regulations and standards in place. In India the workers get paid next to nothing because they are all working in their homes and don't have any idea who they are working for and aren't employees - work on contract only - and don't know any of their fellow workers so they can't unionize and demand better wages, and they work in their homes deep in slums so there is absolutely no regulation.

My point is that this kind of small crowdsourced job idea reminds me of the Indian model, and I don't like it.
Feel free to disagree though, what else is /. for?
• #### Re: (Score:1)

How much IT work lives in a vaccum without context, as does a handbag?

This new service might be useful for a few one-time scripts by someone with more experience than the customer, but real business value requires integration & continuity. Etc.

Things will get more interesting if these guys can introduce an "OpenCEO" product. Why pay for high-priced execs when you can download the equivalent for free?

• #### Hey, need your help! (Score:1)

I'm doing study on Crowdsourcing and have very limited time to write my MBA dissertation. I need to collect information from people who engaged in crowdsourcing professionally. I made a 10 question survey (takes less than 5 min) for anonymous data collection. Check it out http://svy.mk/xl6tcZ [svy.mk] if you think it considers you, and SHARE please! Could anyone also tell me where I can share to get the highest response rate possible? Any help appreciated!
• #### Here's An Idea (Score:1)

You are of course free to start your own business and work for yourself at any wage you can afford to pay yourself.

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