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Mobile App Pays People to Take iPhone Pictures, Collect Info

Gigwalk(NEW YORK) -- Make money while snapping photos on your iPhone?  That's what a startup company called Gigwalk offers its participants.

The company lets iPhone users earn money for easy tasks they can complete on the go -- "gigs" such as taking pictures or collecting basic information about local places.

Gigwalk, which launched in private beta in October and opened to the public this week, lets large companies and small businesses "post a gig" for locations in seven major metropolitan areas in the U.S., including Boston, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

The mapping company TomTom, for example, might ask mobile workers to verify street addresses or traffic signs.  MenuPages, another Gigwalk customer, might ask a smartphone-carrying explorer to snap a few pictures of an up-and-coming restaurant and its menu.

"Gigwalkers" earn from $3 to $90 for each on-the-fly freelance assignment.

Ariel Seidman, Gigwalk's CEO and co-founder, said his new company grew out of frustration.  At his previous job at Yahoo, he said everyone told him it would be impossible to collect useful amounts of local data.

"But there are all of these Android and iPhone owners," he said.  "Why don't we ask them to do it and give them financial incentives along the way. ...That could be very powerful."

So, in July of last year, he left Yahoo to launch his company, which says it turns the world's iPhones into an "instant mobile workforce."

Seidman declined to provide hard numbers about the number of customers and Gigwalkers currently connected to the site.  But he said the startup has completed "many, many thousands of gigs at this point."  And traffic is high enough that a well-priced gig in Manhattan (that pays about $10) would attract a Gigwalker in a matter of hours, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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