M4Jam dishing out cash

Cape Town – The first micro job was completed two minutes after M4Jam (money for jam) launched on Monday at 08:00, with South Africans earning R15 000 in the first two-and-a-half hours of launch.

M4Jam co-founder Andre Hugo told Fin24 that 500 micro jobs were completed within the first hour-and-a-half, and there was a 56% growth in users in the first three hours.

“It seems people set their alarm clocks to check if M4Jam was legit,” said Hugo. “They found that it was.”

WeChat’s revolutionary micro jobbing platform was heralded as a momentous shift in the way service-based companies could relate with their communities, giving real value for small, specific tasks.

“There’s been a phenomenal uptake, which shows that this really is easy money for easy work,” said Hugo. “We’re ecstatic with the initial response and look forward to offering our micro jobbers more opportunities as the weeks go forward.”

One of M4Jam’s first jobs seen on the platform by Fin24 was to take a photo of your favourite cold drink and to answer a few questions, pinpointing your location. The R15 earned would have been far more than the actual drink, making the taste of it that much sweeter.

There were also jobs from insurance company 1Life to complete a survey, a request from TomTom to check if places of interest still existed in your geographic location and a medical aid survey by Jenus, with payments ranging from R15 to R25.

If M4Jam users shared the platform on social media, they could earn R5. “People will go to the model if it has been referred by word-of-mouth, which is something Uber did very successfully,” said Hugo.

Twitter reaction

User Q&A with M4Jam

Fin24 users sent through a flood of queries last week, with concerns and questions about how they could sign up.

Fin24 user Graeme Murray wrote: “This is South Africa: starting salary is R12 500. Cheap labour [is] not allowed - it is classed as slavery.”

M4Jam responded: “M4Jam is not positioning itself as an alternative to full time employment. It allows people to earn between R15 and R30 for a job that takes less than ten minutes, which is well above the minimum wage if you had to break it down in terms of time spent doing the work. M4Jam is a means to make easy ‘extra money’ by completing easy tasks. It is completely opt-in, so people are not locked in to any contract and can stop ‘jobbing’ whenever they like.”

Fin24 user Brown Hair: “Between data costs, equipment costs, transaction costs and transportation costs, I am weary about people actually making money. I suggest you pull out a calculator before accepting a micro job. However, I am sure there will be a few viable opportunities available.”

M4Jam responded: “We have worked out that with data and transaction costs (which are minimal), people will still be able to make enough ‘easy money’ to make completing the jobs worth their while. M4Jam is also accessible via Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing people to access jobs within their vicinity, so there will be no requirement to travel to do jobs. The only piece of equipment needed is a smartphone, and over time these will become more and more accessible to the general public.”

Fin24 user Mick Waters: “I suggest reading the T&C section before signing up for this. Seems that as part of what they are doing, they will be selling your personal information on for marketing purposes as well...”

M4Jam: “In order for M4Jam to validate that you are who you say you are and ensure that you are over 18, we do need you to register key information with us. This in turn by law has to be supplied to the brands that you are performing the micro jobs for. In addition to the legal requirements, they may have questions on the answers that you supplied and would therefore like to contact you. M4Jam will only pass on your details to the company you have agreed to work for. The power is in your hands: you don't have to do jobs for brands that you don't want to engage with.”

How to sign up:

Going forward

Now that the initial jobs have gone live, Hugo said M4Jam is working to create more complex jobs that will add to the country’s service delivery opportunities. “We’re in talks with local municipalities and metros to bring them on board to improve service delivery,” said Hugo.

Take your local park for example. If you take a stand on each corner and send your location, they can measure each park in the country. If you take a photo of a dustbin overflowing or a broken swing, they can dispatch someone to maintain the problem. And each time this happens, users earn money.

“HIV/Aids is also another big issue that we would like to bring awareness to,” said Hugo. “People can earn money by completing tasks that educates them about where their local testing centre is and how to complete a form.”

M4Jam is also in talks with the department of health to incentivise people to get Aids or TB tests. “If they have chronic disease, every time they get medication and get tested, they get paid.”

Hugo said M4Jam would double the amount of businesses offering jobs by the end of August. “The more jobs we have, the more jobbers will have access to more easy money, which can only be good for South Africa.”

- Fin24.

* Share your experiences with M4Jam.

* Fin24 is part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers. Naspers has a 34% stake in Tencent.

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