In an article written for Contently’s Freelancer section, Charlie Kasov critiques a freelancer service called TaskRabbit. According to Kasov, the site has radically redesigned itself in a number of ways that are detrimental to the freelancers who use it to find jobs:
In the old app, people posting jobs described what they needed done and either set a price—”Quick Assign” tasks in TaskRabbit jargon—or opened the task up to bidding. In the new app, however, TaskRabbit has done away with bidding completely, replacing it with a requirement that users set hourly rates for each type of gig they’re willing to do. Now, I have to wait for Task Posters to choose me.
Having experienced my share of “improved” online services, I sympathize. I’ve never used TaskRabbit myself, but I have used services or written for companies that managed to make things harder, or impossible, for one set of clients (and yes, the freelancers who use TaskRabbit are clients) in order to cater to a different set. Or it could simply be that somebody higher up had a bright idea and thought it would make things better — and it didn’t.
While Kasov’s obviously angry about the changes, he describes them clearly and well, in a way that could help others using the service. And this is apparently making waves elsewhere; Salon has also run a piece called “TaskRabbit workers receive a useful lesson in capitalist exploitation.” The article adds that TaskRabbit workers are so angry, they may be organizing. Hmmmm.
(P.S., a word to Charlie: Whatever your poetry professor said about sexual mores between 1967 and 1973, don’t believe it — there were still STDs and accidental pregnancies off in them old-timey days…)