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    Posted August 9, 2015 by

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    Consumer network websites are the new trend in the tech-world

    By Paul Fitzgerald

    Consumers want their lives made simpler and the tech-world is stepping up to deliver.

    In Canada, the USA and Asia - to name a few countries – new consumer networking sites are launching to offer people a one-stop-shop to outsource work they need done.

    “People with families’ live busy lives these days, more so than ever before,” says Graham Lock during his talk at the recent New York City Disrupt Technology Conference. Lock is widely known for his expertise in new tech-start-ups and consumer behavior in the online world. He also guest lectures on new media and new tech start-ups at the Harvard Business School, Kent State University Business School, and the London School of Economics. “This means that people who need work done around the house - or if they need a specific service - simply don’t have the time anymore to surf the internet looking for businesses they can hire. Consumers now want a main 'go-to' place online to get what they need. This is why there is a new surge in consumer networking sites. There are all sorts of start-ups launching around the world and many are going to cash in big while helping make consumers lives easier.”

    Lock indicates that consumer networking sites, also dubbed handyman sites or online service marketplaces, is going to soon be a $600-billion industry.

    “Opening up a consumer networking website is the way to go if you want to make money online,” adds Lock. “Sure you will have to invest in the right software, website design and development, branding, marketing, advertising and media relations, but it’s all worth the investment. There is a pile of money to be made in this industry.”

    While there are a large number of new start-ups offering handyman type websites, the notables and frontrunners in their own right appear to be CeelDeel in Canada, Seekmi in Asia, and Thumbtack in the USA, according to Lock. These sites, which take a small percentage of transactions made on a per deal basis, have thousands of users and businesses signed-up and all are getting ‘matched-up’ on a daily basis.

    “Matchmaking consumers with businesses is now becoming just as popular as social media websites. If you need a sink fixed, a math tutor, or auto-mechanic, to name a few examples, these new consumer networking sites will bring businesses right to you in a matter of minutes,” says Lock.

    CeelDeel offers consumers the opportunity to give a ‘Shout’ on its website. Right after you send out a ‘Shout,’ businesses start competing for your business right away. That’s right they all come to you with their pricing and availability. And you get to pick which business you want to hire.

    “We spent a long time researching the needs and wants among consumers and it’s clear that they want a way to find professionals quickly instead of browsing listing directories or search engine lookups,” says Senai Iman, who is the CEO and co-founder of CeelDeel in Toronto, ON. “People want a one-stop-shop that is trusted and reliable and they want their ‘to-do-list’ completed without any hassle.”

    Marco Zappacosta, the CEO and co-founder of Thumbtack in San Francisco, CA, a company backed by Google, says hiring a handyman should not be a difficult task.

    “We stumbled on upon this problem: Why is it so hard to hire a plumber?

    “We help customers connect with local service professionals like plumbers, caters, tutors, for whatever project they're trying to accomplish,” says Zappacosta. “What they need to do is come to Thumbtack, tell us what you need to get done, and we'll send that out to our network of pros and the ones that are available, interested and qualified, get introduced directly to you.”

    Nayoko Wicaksono, the CEO and co-founder of Seekmi in Jakarta, highly anticipates that his company will see a large volume of people seeking domestic type services – cleaning, maintenance, and nannies - but they are expanding their online platform to cover a broader range of distinct and unique services that include graphic designers, photography, web developers and make-up artists, to name a handful.

    “In a way we’re like a Tinder for services. We just make the introduction, everything else happens afterwards,” says Wicaksono.

    CeelDeel and Thumbtack both now offer a broader scope to connect consumers with businesses. The two are now even linking lawyers up with clients seeking legal representation.

    While consumers are benefiting from these new interacting sites, so are businesses seeking to get their name out there and grow.

    Lock says the tech-world is essentially simplifying people’s lives and empowering businesses to flaunt their talent.

    “Consumer networking sites are proving to be a great commodity,” he says. “People no longer have to do extensive searches in their local area to get their tasks done, and businesses now have direct access to a solid pool of new clientele and if they perform well then their customer base with only flourish.”

    So, if you need some work around the house done or you need a specific service, you can now jump online with ease.

    As Lock puts it, “These one-stop-online-networking sites are here to stay.”
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