Service as a service: Zaarly leads the way

A buddy of mine left a bag of stickers, tee shirts, and his laptop power cord on a sidewalk on 9th St. in New York City.

A buddy of mine left a bag of stickers, tee shirts, and his laptop power cord on a sidewalk on 9th St. in New York City. He was in a rush, and jumped in the cab, forgetting that his valuables were just sitting on the street. He didn't realize it until he arrived at the bowling alley on the west side of town. It would take a half hour to get back to where he came from, not to mention weaving through traffic at 7 p.m. in Manhattan.

He immediately pulled out his phone and started fidgeting with it. I said, "Who are you texting?"

"Zaarly," he mumbles.

"That's a weird name for someone. Is it a boy or a girl?"

"No dude, Zaarly is amazing. Check it out," he said as he let me see his screen.

What he showed me was truly awesome. He was filling out a form that offered $10 to anyone who would grab the bag he left on the street, and secure it until he could get back to that area. 15 minutes later, his phone buzzed, and someone had accepted his offer. He payed the user $10 via their online payment system, and picked up his bag a few hours later.

Zaarly lets you buy and sell services, tasks, and goods in real time. What makes Zaarly stand out is that it's location-based, and it's mobile. At any time I can whip out my phone and see which tasks need to be completed near me, and I can make a buck off it.

Do you need an iPhone app built? Need a Hebrew translator for an important meeting? Zaarly has you covered.

I did an experiment with it today. I'm playing golf tomorrow, and it costs $30 to rent a set of clubs from the country club. I posted on Zaarly that I needed to borrow some golf clubs tomorrow, but I'm only willing to pay $15.

Within 10 minutes, I got an email telling me that someone had accepted my offer. I signed in and started asking questions. We agreed upon a time and place to meet, and then I paid him.

I'll let you know if I break 100.

When browsing Zaarly on the web, or your mobile device, you can easily see which offers are near you.

Or you can search by price or time:

There are obvious things that can go wrong in a transaction like this, but I think they have a pretty good process so far. They have established security guidelines.

There are other similar services like TaskRabbit and FancyHands, but I think Zaarly is has a leg up because they have nailed the mobile component and the service is extremely easy to use.

If Zaarly is in your city, give it a shot and let me know what you think. What needs to be improved? What did you love, and what did you hate?