Craigslist Gets Competition From Social Media Ya-hoos

Curbo140

Craigslist may have made message boards popular, but some young social media gurus out of Los Angeles have built a help-wanted site on the promise of hyper-local search and social media. The site, Turbo140.com, could give the grandfather of message boards some competition.

Co-founders Jonathan Hegranes, Dorian Collier and Russell Malixi are out to create a social marketplace where people can "outsource one-off gigs." These micro-jobs include anything from fixing a toilet to mowing the lawn. "Craigslist is creepy, but there's no alternative for local services," Hegranes says.

People looking for help can post a description of a "gig" in 140 characters or less. For example, "I'm looking for a plumber to clear a drain in Huntington Beach." Turbo140 sends a tweet through their Twitter account, and posts a message on the company's Facebook Fan page and Web site.

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Professionals who can fulfill the work log on to Turbo140's Web site and place a bid for the job, along with an explanation of why they think they're the best person for the job. People can review the bids and respond to the bidder with one of three buttons: remove a bid, select a winner, or ask for more information about the bid.

Gigs remains on the site from five hours to two weeks. The viral distribution and local-social nature of the site tends to generate more bids because search functions allow the site visitor to narrow focus on hyper-local gigs. Hegranes hopes it will attract more local companies -- not to advertise, but to post profiles, similar to Yellow Pages.

Companies that have profiles will eventually have an option to optimize keywords that would trigger an alert through SMS message, Facebook page, Twitter or email when someone in their geographic area posts a gig looking for help related to their expertise, Turbo140 CTO and Co-Founder Dorian Collier plans to integrate semantic search features, so when someone types "beagle" into the search field the site knows the person wants a dog walker or something related to pets.

The features roadmap includes promoted gigs, featured bids, user verification, sponsored listing, and a payment processing system for consumers to pay for services through the site. Consumers using the site will see a variety of premium features, similar to eBay. Companies could also have access to reports some time in the future.

The site launched in May, but has recently begun to attract interest from seed groups and angel investors, Hegranes says.

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