Thumbtack Creates Work By Giving the Yellow Pages an AI Twist

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

How Thumbtack Creates Work By Giving the Yellow Pages an AI Twist (Fast Company)
Although the company, which charges service providers a fee when customers contact them in response to a quote, is not yet profitable, Zappacosta predicts it can be by the end of 2019, thanks to Instant Match.

Understanding the Proxies That Can Undermine Location Data (Street Fight)
Rob Friedman: For marketers, the ability to deploy technology that identifies and bypasses online users who may be masking their locations and digital traits yields improvement in the form of targeted campaigns and fewer wasted impressions.

Amazon Plans to Open As Many As Six More Amazon Go Stores This Year (Recode)
Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year.

How Local Healthcare Providers Can Imitate Advances in Retail to Boost Efficiency (Street Fight)
Jon Schepke: Providers need to do, ironically, what the best retailers do: make the experience better. To that end, data management is key. Here are some steps providers can take to address patients’ need for access and control.

Twitter Tightened Up the Requirements for Its Amplify Publisher Program (AdWeek)
Twitter made a move to protect brands from having their advertisements appear alongside objectionable content by tweaking the requirements for participation in its Amplify program for publishers.

GQ Buys Into Commerce Content (AdExchanger)
People who read about brands on GQ’s site spend twice as much time with its content overall – around 14 minutes – and are nearly 10% more likely to return, according to research commissioned from Skimlinks and

NBCU Adds Refinery29 to Its Growing List of Digital Publisher and Platform Partners (Digiday)
NBC Sports and Refinery29 are embarking on a yearlong social editorial and marketing partnership focused on telling stories about female athletes and other women in sports.

Facebook Simplifies Metrics After Data-Reporting Issues (WSJ)
Facebook is trying to clarify and simplify the metrics used to gauge the performance of advertising on its platform after coming under scrutiny for a series of measurement mishaps and learning that some people are confused about its data.

LBMA Podcast: Verizon, Omnicom, Ericsson & Placecast (Street Fight)
This Week in Location Based Marketing is a weekly video podcast from the Location Based Marketing Association with Asif Khan, Rob Woodbridge & Aubriana Lopez. On the show: Denver airport, LinkNYC, O2’s Weve, Radius8, Selfridges.

Street Fight Daily: Thumbtack Brings AI to Local Services, Amazon Go Model to Expand

How Thumbtack Plans To Become The Amazon For Home Services

Thumbtack started eight years ago with one goal in mind: to become an Amazon of sorts for home services like plumbers, home inspectors, and house cleaners. Today it moves a little bit closer to that goal with the launch of Instant Match on the service, a new feature that instantly connects customers with service providers who are available to work.

“When you think about it, there are very few things at this point you have to work hard to buy. The internet has made them dramatically more accessible and more convenient and yet the entire local services category, not just plumbers, not just home services, remains an exception to that broad trend,” says Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta.

He thinks that hiring someone to perform a service in your home should be as easy as ordering a book online.

Marco Zappacosta [Photo: courtesy of Thumbtack]

“Over the last eight years, we’ve made an immense amount of progress toward that dream. We’ve helped more than 25 million Americans find pros and have sent cumulatively billions of dollars to our pros from these customers,” he says.While Zappacosta feels like the company has made great strides toward its goal of becoming an Amazon of home services, he notes that the company still has a bit further to go.

“The reality is if you sort of take me at my word and say we want to make hiring a plumber as easy as buying a book, we have not yet accomplished that,” he says. “But today we’re going to take a big step in that direction.”

The way things used to work on Thumbtack, you would make a request for a plumber, for instance, who would come and unclog your shower drain. That request would get sent to all the available plumbers in your zip code, who would then respond to your request with their price quotes. You’d look through all those bids, and then make your selection.

That made it dramatically easier than looking through a directory and calling all those plumbers one by one, but it also wasn’t perfect.

“The reality is you still had to wait to get options, and nobody wants to wait. We all want things instantly,” Zappacosta says.

With the company’s new Instant Match feature, your wait time is cut down from hours to seconds.

The process starts with the Thumbtack app as a brief 5- to 15-question interview. If you’re looking for a house cleaner, for instance, interview questions might entail asking you how big your home is, how many bedrooms need to be cleaned, and if you have pets.

[Photos: courtesy of Thumbtack]

Once you’re done answering questions, Thumbtack will instantly return a handful of automated quotes from professionals in your area it knows are available to do the job. You can look at all of them, read reviews, and decide which one best fits your needs. When you find a pro you like, you can message them within the app to set up an appointment for the service.“Really what Thumbtack is doing is interviewing and sort of replacing the conversation that you used to have to have with each and every individual pro to basically tell them ‘Hey, here’s what I need. Can you do it.? And if so how much are you going to charge,’” says Zappacosta.

The instant quote saves plenty of time–previously, a pro would have to look over the survey and decide how much to quote you. Now, It’s instant due to some inputs that Pro has already put in. A housekeeper, for instance, can say they’re available to work 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, and charge $100 for a 1-bedroom apartment, $150 for a 2-bedroom apartment, and $300 for a 3-bedroom. When I put in my request for my two-bedroom apartment to be cleaned on Thursday, I’ll get their quote seconds later, saying it can be done for $150. If I want my cleaning on Friday, then that person won’t be part of my returned quotes since they’re not available.

It streamlines the whole process by eliminating the need to find out if someone is available or how much they’ll charge for your specific job.

It’s also good for professionals. When they set those rates, Thumbtack uses its database of historic prices that’s it’s collected over the past eight years to let them know the average cost for that service in that zip code. For instance, if most housekeepers charge $250 for a 2-bedroom, then the person who is charging $150 knows they can probably charge a little more. If the average cost is $75, then they can know they’re overcharging a bit based on the norm, and that’s probably why they’re not getting much business.

“We can get you quotes that are as intentful, as specific, as the pros doing it themselves but programmatically, Zappacosta says. “This is admittedly straightforward. But this represents I think the biggest step that the service sector has taken in basically its entire existence. It’s about moving it from the 20th century to the 21st century.”

Going back to that Amazon example, he thinks that one of the biggest reasons Amazon is so successful is because you can go to the site and instantly see everything that is available, read reviews, and take action to buy the item you want.

The way they’re able to do that is because they have data on what’s in the warehouse ready to be shipped. In a way, having professionals fill out their availability and pricing within Thumbtack gives it the same power.

[Photos: courtesy of Thumbtack]

Asking for quotes from professionals is free for everyone involved. When you as a customer ask for more information or contact one of the professionals, then that professional is charged for the interaction, regardless of whether or not you ultimately choose them for the job.It’s a process somewhat like Google AdWords. A plumber, for instance, can say he’s willing to spend $100 a week on getting new customers. The pricing for how much an interaction costs changes a bit depending on how expensive the service is and how many other professionals are on the platform doing the same thing. A house cleaner might pay $12 for a connection, but that might lead to a $200 job every single week.

That’s a bit of a difference from Thumbtack’s previous model, in which it charged professionals each time they gave a quote to a customer. Now the charge happens a little further down the pipeline, so they have a greater chance of success. It’s also a bit cheaper, something Zappacosta says Thumbtack has done because it thinks Instant Match is better, and it wants to incentivize pros to come over.

Currently, Thumbtack has a supply problem. There’s more demand for services on the platform than it’s able to fill. The hope is that Instant Match will help move the process along faster, and make it easier for professionals to find work, and customers to find them. It also makes it so that house cleaner, plumber, or landscaper can focus on what they do best, without having to figure out marketing in the process.

Thumbtack has been trying out Instant Match with roughly 7,600 of the professionals currently on its platform. Tuesday’s announcement opens that program up to all of the professionals using the service in 11 categories nationallly; 65 categories are available in at least certain markets, with more on their way.

“Phase one is all about the supply side, enabling this sort of instant match product by building out this whole inventory system, sort of like the equivalent of our fulfillment center,” Zappacosta says. He says that Phase two, which will likely be announced next year, will take things a step further and make them every more streamlined, allowing you to make that purchase even faster.

“There’s no magic in terms of what customers want. They want things instantly. They want to see prices, they want to see reviews, and they want to take action with confidence. We’re going to do that for the whole service sector.”

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Airtasker Taking On Sharing Economy in TaskRabbit’s Footsteps

A former property investment banker is bringing his sharing-economy startup to London, months after an unprofitable rival sold itself to a furniture maker and at a time when regulators are cracking down on similar gig services.

Airtasker Pty Ltd. is targeting London as its first city outside Australia in early 2018. It will initially operate from a co-working space in Finsbury Square, a short walk from London’s tech startup hub in Old Street.

The Airtasker website

Tim Fung founded the service in 2011, which lets individuals list a job they need undertaking — from web design consultancy, to knitting, to assembling Ikea Group’s flat-packed furniture — while other members bid to take on the work for an agreed-upon fee.

“There was a guy earning something like A$20,000 a month doing graphic design,” the chief executive officer and founder said in an interview. He also cited locksmith work as another popular job undertaken.

Airtasker, which takes a 15 percent cut of user earnings, bears numerous similarities to the one-time darling of the gig economy, TaskRabbit. Founded in 2008, TaskRabbit pioneered the internet-based model of connecting part-time workers with customers willing to pay to get jobs done. However, it surrendered lucrative parts of its business and never focused on particular segments, unlike Uber Technologies Inc. and Instacart Inc. Its CEO said the company would be profitable by the end of 2016, then backed away from that forecast.

Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin has said the furniture maker will consider further acquisitions following its purchase of TaskRabbit, which agreed in September to be acquired by the Swedish company for an undisclosed sum.

Airtasker declined to reveal details about its annual earnings, and wouldn’t comment on whether it was profitable.

Gig Economy

Fung is launching in London in the middle of strong criticism to the gig-economy model. In the U.K., Uber lost an appeal over whether it should pay overtime and give vacation time to its drivers. Deliveroo, a London-based food-delivery company valued at more than $2 billion, is being sued by dozens of riders over its failure to pay the minimum wage.

Fung says his company is different to Uber, Deliveroo, and TaskRabbit because each job is opt-in from the point of the worker. “A person doesn’t get told what to do, or how much to do it for, or when to do it,” he said.

While TaskRabbit operates similarly to an agency, where applicants are approved as “Taskers” before they can take work, Airtasker allows anyone to post jobs of most kinds, and any other person can bid on carrying out the work.

It’s likely anyone completing any jobs via Airtasker will be classed as self-employed, said Glenn Hayes, partner and employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell LLP.  “As soon as the company starts to exercise some level of control over them, or stipulate rules, that’s when you start to get into the territory of employee status,” he said.

Airtasker, which employs about 120 people, has received about A$63 million in funding to date, said Fung. The most recent round, in October, totaled A$33 million from existing and new investors, and was led by Skyfield Capital – a family-run Australian firm with additional directors based in China, according to filings made to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Airtasker’s largest shareholder is Morning Crest Capital, a Chinese VC group, which participated in previous funding rounds and has also invested in drinks startup Wheelys Cafe and Australian ride-hailing service GoCatch.

The Australian founder says that while an IPO is nowhere in sight while he focuses on growing the business, he has aggressive expansion plans. He said he is “open to conversations” about local corporate tie-ups similar to Airtasker’s existing partnership with Ikea. Airtasker partnered with the Swedish company in May to create a customized app for buyers of Billy bookcases and its many other flat-packed items, offering assembly jobs to Ikea-certified members of the public.

“We’re trying to do what took us three-and-a-half years in Australia in nine months in the U.K.,” he said.

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Small business owners across Florida feel good about economy, study says

Small business owners in Florida and Miami are feeling pretty optimistic about the economy, according to a recent study.

Data released by on small business sentiment shows that 66.72 percent of Florida small businesses felt optimistic about the economy last month. This ranks Florida sixth out the 18 states Thumbtack analyzed this month in small business optimism, increasing .36 percent percent from October.

Small businesses owners in Washington state had the most economic optimism, with 68.55 percent feeling confident, the study said.

Overall, 65.25 percent of small businesses expressed confidence in their small businesses and the economy at large out of the study’s 2,718 respondents.

But the study also showed that only 44.47 percent of small businesses with employees report they’re currently hiring, making November the fourth-slowest month for hiring in 2017.

Similar to Florida, Miami small business sentiment was also on the upswing with about 67 percent of small businesses feeling somewhat positive in November, placing the city 8th nationwide.

Miami business owners said the top problems in November they faced were: acquiring new customers, competition from other small businesses, and uncertain economic conditions.

Thumbtack’s monthly Small Business Sentiment Survey captures the economic sentiment of thousands of small businesses nationwide based on survey responses collected the second week of every month.

The survey’s results fall in line with a recent study by Bank of America, which found that 87 percent of Miami entrepreneurs are confident that their year-end revenues will exceed those of 2016. In addition, 22 percent of Miami entrepreneurs are planning to apply for a loan in the year ahead, which was the highest among business owners surveyed in 10 major cities.

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How to choose a cloud service provider for your business

As a company, a cloud service provider becomes your lifeline in the business world.

This service guards your company against sudden disaster and keeps you afloat when times get hard. What to consider when choosing a cloud provider?

In fact, the cloud has proven so valuable that 41 percent of businesses want to invest in the coming year in cloud technologies.

An estimated 51 percent of big to mid-size businesses plan to migrate to the cloud while only 35 percent of the smaller firms plan to up their cloud budget.

How do you choose a dependable cloud service provider? What criteria do you use for selecting a cloud provider?

Continue reading How to choose a cloud service provider for your business

Browsenfind – Thumbtack Clone Script | Taskrabbit Clone | Online Marketplace Service Script

Roamsoft Technologies dependably take after the unmistakable pathway to delight the client. To make another breakthrough of progress, Roamsoft Technologies see the criticalness of online Marketplace and develop the commendable item and named “BrowseNfind“. Individuals adhered to locate the reasonable administration experts to carry out their employment like Plumber, Electrician work, Carpenter and so forth. Airtasker clone commercial centre goes about as an interface between the Local service provider and the Customers who are intrigued to outsource their activities. The customer can use the marketplace as user and the service provider’s can utilizes as a both service provider as well as user. In Thumbtack Clone Marketplace, the service professional should have a dealer license to become a member and they can upload their complete service information simply by filling the forms. These subtle elements help clients to pick their fitting administration experts. So also, the client should refresh their own data to end up noticeably a client and this data causes tradesmen to contact clients.

Roamsoft Technologies propelled an Online Marketplace Script called “Browsenfind” a Thumbtack Clone.

Thumbtack Clone Script | Taskrabbit Clone | Online Marketplace Service Script
Thumbtack Clone Script | Taskrabbit Clone | Online Marketplace Service Script

Thumbtack clone states thought of online commercial center business and incorporate numerous basic features. A wellspring of the script is to give an on-
screen nearby service for asset and customer to connect in light of online marketplace.

Continue reading Browsenfind – Thumbtack Clone Script | Taskrabbit Clone | Online Marketplace Service Script

Tips to be a smart service provider

Modern consumers want the latest and greatest. Thus, service providers are also need to evolve and innovate to address the changing customer requirements.

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VeloCloud Partner Program Aims to Onboard Service Providers ASAP

The software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) vendor VeloCloud announced its new Ready Set GO program, which promises to spin up an end-to-end SD-WAN service for service providers in 30 days or less.

Continue reading VeloCloud Partner Program Aims to Onboard Service Providers ASAP

Most Promising Online Business Ideas for Your New Startup

Being a generation of entrepreneurs, we have various business opportunities to invest in a new startup but making the right choice is still the toughest part.
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