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Do This ASAP – free online service offers a real human servant to do stuff for you

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Almost since the dawn of the Interwebs people have been trying to improve search. They’ve tried graphical search engines, text ones, multilingual, niche topics, you name it and someone has come up with an idea and a project. Now the latest is a kind of combination of an online concierge service and Yahoo Answers, neither of which ideas are new, but who knows, maybe this one will strike the cord?

Do This ASAP is a free online service which offers to do stuff for people. All you have to do is send them a request via their big friendly text box, and you’ll get the job done. What kind of jobs? Well they say they will

* create logos
* edit images
* convert file formats
* order a pizza for you
* buy theater tickets
* do some research

etc etc. It’s all very good stuff, and clearly they’re getting some serious interest since apparently they’ve had 130,000 visitors in just 20 days, and have handled almost 90,000 queries. They’ve spent a bit of advertising money to get traction, and we’re not really sure what kind of criteria they’re using to complete tasks (can it only be something that can be done online or will they handle other stuff like collecting dry-cleaning? We’re not told).

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We sent their team a request about the Scottish referendum, which is pretty easy to find on a Google search, and sure enough the next day we got a response back with a one line link to a web site. Still, for someone who’s not web savvy (are there many of those now?), this could be a useful thing. Wait, hold on. If they’re not web savvy how do they know to use this service? Ahhh…

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We’re not going to diss the idea, even though similar concepts using human beings have been tried before with varying degrees of success (cough…mahalo.com…cough), but suffice it to say that to make this thing pay is going to need a huge number of eyeballs, in order to pull the kind of advertising which will let the service scale up. Not an easy task, especially nowadays. One to watch, we’re thinking.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


1 Comment

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