iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
What do worker bees and freelancers have in common? Well, they both strive to stay busy. I don't know why the bees do it (instinct I guess), but I know freelancers usually love their job, and they always need the money. BusyBee is an iPhone app that aims to keep freelancers busy by creating a social network for worker bees (freelancers) and lead bees (users looking for services). Basically, you can list yourself as a contractor, create a profile, and keep in touch with other small businesses and freelancers, or you can log in and search your area for specific services (writer, mechanic, artist, etc.) and find a list of workers. It is more interactive than a typical job search, and it allows users to connect with each other instantly via phone or chat. Some of the highlighted features include:
Business profile builder Find work opportunities or find workers, based on your location Chat tool for instant communications
Quick message - send quick, pre-built or custom messages to other users
Recommends - Recommend colleagues to other users and have them displayed in your profile
Multi-profile/Multi-skill - A single user can have multiple profiles that contain multiple skills, to allow flexibility
Feed - This will allow the user to instantly be aware of opportunities for their skill, plus a synopsis of their activity (still working on this feature)
So, if you're a freelancer, contractor, or small business, or you are just someone looking for special services then BusyBee might be the right tool for the job. At any rate, it's a free app, and I can see it being very useful in some circles.
If there is an app award for the app with the most specific niche, I think Gigwalk Inc. deserves the crown for their official Gigwalk app. From what I can gather, Gigwalk is a service that pays users to take pictures/videos and review local venues. Once you become a member you can earn Streetcreds to access higher paying gigs, and to increase your status among other Gigwalkers. The app description isn't very forthcoming, and it generalizes everything with the word "gigs" over and over. Don't let that discourage you, though, because if you happen to be one of the few people that live in the supported areas you can eventually earn money via Paypal by completing these gigs when the service takes off.
As of now, the app only supports people living in the following areas, but I am sure this will expand if their business model is successful:
(1) Los Angeles Metro Area
(2) New York City
(3) San Francisco Bay Area
(5) South Florida
(7) Orange County
(8) San Diego Metro Area
(9) Santa Barbara Metro Area
The service is currently private, but you can enter your email address at the official website to be notified when they are ready for you to try out their offerings. You can also apply directly from within the app, but location has to be turned on to be sure you are in one of the designated areas. If you meet all their requirements (which are currently a mystery to me) then you might be accepted.
The concept is interesting because it pays users to do something they would probably do for free anyways. How many times have you taken a picture at a coffee shop or restaurant and forwarded it to all your friends to make them jealous? I know plenty of people do it to me. I also always see pictures of concerts and events with descriptions of how awesome they were on my Facebook wall all the time. Even if the pay is low I can really see this taking off because it offers a sort of grassroots marketing to venues that want new ways to advertise. It also gives the businesses critiques that can help them improve, and we all know how popular user opinions are these days (take any surveys lately?). Perhaps, one day this type of service might be in every major city, and our children will all wonder why we ever shared any of our opinions without some sort of monetary gain.