Joshua Schachter, the creator of Delicious, has launched his newest creation, Jig.
At first glance the site seems a bit like Twitter, but it has a different focus. Instead of posting about what you are doing, you post about what you need. Then other people reply with suggestions, ideas, answers, help, or presumably commercial products and services that can meet your need.
This is not a new idea. It’s been done before, at least in print, quite successfully, in the form of “the want ads.” Want ads are classified ads, where instead of offering something, you ask for something. They are basically inverse classified ads. Like a reverse auction is an inverse auction.
But although it’s not groundbreakingly new, it’s beautifully executed and quite simple and elegant. It’s elegant enough in fact that it might catch on. And if it does, it could be quite useful.
The site has some similarities to Quora, but it’s broader. It’s not just about questions and answers – it’s about getting help with any kind of need.
Looking through the initial needs being posted by early users there are requests for restaurants suggestions, a guy asking what gift he should buy for his minimalist girlfriend, a request to understand how UFO propulsion works, requests to hire people, and even a request for affordable health insurance.
There also seems to be quite a bit of spam, or at least unhelpful questions and comments, including some harmless but irrelevant banter. Jig will need to provide for a way to rank needs, comments, and authors so that noise is filtered out. This is a problem that Schachter should be able to solve in his sleep, so I’m not worried about that being a barrier to adoption. It will be resolved soon, I’m betting.
There’s a lot of potential here, if people actively start helping to share their tips and advice for getting needs met. One challenge will be to make it easy for people to find needs they can help with. A categorization system, based on hashtags perhaps, would help to find needs that match your offers or areas of expertise.
All the product level issues are pretty easy to solve. This is not rocket science. But a harder problem to solve is, how is Jig going to make money? Who is going to have to pay for what? There’s always a catch somewhere. At least if the goal is to build a revenue business.
Will users eventually be charged to post certain kinds of needs? Or is the idea to charge companies, for example, as they are asked to do when posting job ads in Craigslist? Or will there be some kind of reverse auction or group buying angle to this – when enough people have the same need they can pool together and negotiate for a group deal?
Time will tell. But since it’s Joshua Schachter, Jig is bound to get a lot of attention. Check it out for yourself and see if it meets your needs.
By the way, if you’re reading this, tell our reporters at The Daily Dot (@dailydot) what you think of Jig, and whether it’s helped you in any interesting ways. We’re curious to hear your perspective.