x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

New TaskSpotting app that pays users attracting thousands in Emirates

TaskSpotting, a new locally developed app for smartphones, allows users to earn up to Dh75 by completing simple tasks and marketing survey for brands around town.

Naira and Karim Farouk earned Dh1,000 by doing 20 to 30 tasks over the course of a weekend. The smartphone app TaskSpotting allows users to make Dh20 to 100 by performing mystery shopping errands and completing surveys. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Naira and Karim Farouk earned Dh1,000 by doing 20 to 30 tasks over the course of a weekend. The smartphone app TaskSpotting allows users to make Dh20 to 100 by performing mystery shopping errands and completing surveys. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

We’ve all grumbled about that sales representative who walks up to us in the supermarket, a long questionnaire and a pen in hand, looking for consumer feedback for a brand. But what if that pen and survey sheet are replaced with an uncomplicated smartphone app that sends your honest response to the brand in real time and pays you for your efforts?

The Dubai-based entrepreneur Karim Aly had his finger on the pulse when he launched TaskSpotting at ArabNet last month. It has already got more than 2,000 residents volunteering their time to complete marketing-related missions around the Emirates for about 60 companies that have partnered with the venture.

Persistent app users have a lot to gain. The Dubai-based husband and wife Karim and Naiera Farouk made Dh1,000 by completing between 10 and 15 tasks each over the course of one weekend.

“Most of them were car mystery shopping missions,” says Karim, who is from Egypt. “We had to go to car showrooms, mostly on Sheikh Zayed Road, and pretend to be in the market for one of their cars. We asked simple questions, such as the price and current promotions, and fed the information into the app. It would take a few minutes and then we would move on to the next one.”

Karim, 29, adds: “It’s a fun and easy way of making some extra money.”

The app can be downloaded for Android and iPhone, after which you enter personal information to create an account and receive task updates based on proximity, tracked by GPS.

Aly says the app was born out of the need to fill a gap in obtaining accurate market research in a timely fashion. “It dawned on me that we can build a platform where consumers provide market information to businesses and be rewarded for it in cash.

“We have just replaced the archaic model of gathering market information with a more efficient crowdsourcing model.”

The start-up has partnered with consumer-goods retailers, restaurants and automobile companies to design three essential tasks for now. A popular task is collating retail information about a brand in various supermarkets, sending feedback about the product placement and pricing. Consumers are given the mystery-shopping mission and then collect competitor intelligence.

Aly calls it the “Three Fs” gratification system for users. “There is fortune: every mission has a cash reward. Then there is fulfilment: people often want to share their experience, good and bad. We allow direct feedback. And fame: there is a point system and privileges for people who accumulate more points.”

A “spotter” can earn from Dh10 to Dh75 per task, based on the complexity. Experienced spotters can unlock advantages, such as wbeing able to accept simultaneous missions and receive premiums of up to 50 per cent on the base amount of the task. Participants can receive their money from PayPal or via UAE Exchange – or they can donate their earnings to Noor Dubai, a charity for the treatment of blindness and vision problems.

One Abu Dhabi-based user, Essa Al Tayeb, donates the cash that he earns.

“I think it is a genius app,” says the 35-year-old Emirati. “It is an advanced take on gathering market intelligence in an efficient manner, while providing an incentive for feedback.”

Al Tayeb has completed six tasks so far and donated about Dh200 to Noor Dubai.

His recent assignment was to gauge the effectiveness of the Eid promotion in supermarkets for the chocolate brand Mars.

“It is very convenient. It is a step-by-step process, so you aren’t overwhelmed with information all at once. You complete a step and move on to the next. If you get distracted during the tasks, it pauses and you can continue where you left off in your own time.”

Al Tayeb was also treated to a free meal at the fast-food outlet Al Farooj, while earning an extra Dh25 for his evaluation of the quality and service.

Naiera Farouk says that they never had to go out of their way to complete any mission. “You can check missions that are close by on the map and how much they pay,” she explains. “So if you are driving to Sharjah, you can list all the missions and check them out before you head over.”

The app also sends notifications about tasks in the vicinity.

“When we had queries, we contacted the TaskSpotting team through the app and received a response immediately, allowing us to complete the mission in the time allocated.”

Aly says that there is an aggressive expansion plan for the app, starting with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in the coming months.

• For more information, visit taskspotting.com. Follow it on Twitter @TaskSpotting

aahmed@thenational.ae