TaskRabbit.com Blurring the Lines Between On- and Offline Community

By Laura Surma

TaskRabbit.com, a web and mobile marketplace that provides people and businesses with an easy and trusted way to get everyday tasks done in their communities, recently launched in San Francisco. The website has vetted errand runners ready to serve Hayes Valley and the surrounding communities.

The new website harnesses the latent potential of existing physical communities by connecting people who need help with those who can provide it. When you use TaskRabbit, you meet members of the local community who use their real identities and build reputations by successfully completing tasks. They can do almost anything such as grocery shopping, soup delivery to a sick friend, furniture assembly, and pet care. By aggregating tasks, the site can also help reduce vehicle trips.

Although TaskRabbit’s approach is market-based and requires “Senders” to pay “Runners” based upon their bids, it has the potential to do a surprising amount of good in communities that embrace it. One of the most common tasks that San Franciscans have requested in the short time since TaskRabbit’s launch is donation delivery to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Community Thrift. In Boston, TaskRabbit’s birthplace, its founders were thrilled to find that visually impaired people were employing the help of Runners to navigate unfamiliar parts of the public transit system and regular volunteers were hiring Runners to stand in for them during vacations. TaskRabbit.com is free to join. Go to TaskRabbit.com/signup to create your account. You can start sending tasks right away or apply to become a Runner.