21 launches Lists, for bitcoin powered ‘microconsulting’

21.co CEO Balaji Srinivasan recently announced Lists, a new service designed to allow individuals to make money online. "Lists are curated groups of 21.co members who share a common profession, skill, or social network,” Srinivasan explains. Users who join a list receive a stream of list-specific tasks to earn money or fund charities.

- 21.co

Businesses can also benefit from the new service. Lists offers a way “to get rapid responses to cold emails, surveys, and tasks,” by paying users for “microconsulting.” The company describes the microconsulting as, “something in between an Amazon Mechanical Turk-style microtask and a conventional job.”

21 offers several examples of how the new service could be used. The Python list could be used by programmers looking for new business, or by businesses looking for expert opinions. The Stanford list could be used to hire new talent, or testing new apps intended for college campuses.

While the company plans to roll-out lists worldwide, Srinivasan told BraveNewCoin, that the company is focusing on the technology industry to start. “We want to get it to the point that the average technologist or early adopter can make about $1000/year on 21,” the CEO explained.

- 21.co

The concept of making money online by answering questions for cash is not a new one. The Panel Research industry, which is also known as the Paid Online Surveys industry, predates the internet and has existed in a similar format for a century or more. A major problem for the online version of the industry, however, has always been getting enough responses.

21.co’s Lists tackles this issue by using Bitcoin, which gives microconsulting the twin advantages of immediate payouts and accessibility. “This is indeed a new tool for doing panel research,” Srinivasan told BraveNewCoin, “as digital currency means the survey recipients can be directly and instantly compensated in any country without setting up a bank account.” Businesses, meanwhile, get the benefit of only paying for the questions that get answered, increasing efficiency.

“We are actually working with existing panel research companies as partners,” Srinivasan explained. Hellooffice and SSI are two big research companies that have been using 21.co Lists to send out paid mass emails and surveys. “These initial senders have seen 40-60% response rates at the scale of 100-1000+ users, with 90% of those respondents typically replying within 24 hours,” the CEO claims.

- Srinivasan

This is the second service launch by 21.co that focuses on communication. The first version of 21.co, launched in February, allowed individuals to replace their public emails with an inbox where people could pay to reach them. Anyone can use the service to charge for reading emails, up to $100 per email.

This powerful form of spam prevention is already being used by many, and the company discreetly started testing today’s feature with a few previous lists that were tailored for well-known groups like venture capitalists and angel investors. The new lists, however, allow “a much larger number of people to make money through 21,” the company notes.

The company also added two smaller features to their inbox, helping individuals maximize their income. The first is their "professional biography" feature, which 21.co claims is similar to Airbnb's professional photography feature. Activating the new feature allows 21 to, “professionally enhance your image, title, and bio.” The other feature is an "automatic list joining" feature which allows 21.co to add users to the lists that best fit the skills in their bio.

Although some may worry that compiling a big, public list like these for interest groups as specific as “Bitcoin Buyers” could be a privacy concern, only a few most popular profiles in each group are shown to the public. “You can't see all list members for big lists like the 21.co/bitcoin,” Srinivasan states.

- Srinivasan

There are currently over 50 different lists are shown on the company's website, but not many are tailored for everyone. “We'll be adding many more,” the announcement stated. Different lists also pay different amounts of money for microconsulting. Lists that pay more will tend to be more selective, and therefore have higher qualification requirements.

For example, a Bitcoin holder can apply to the Bitcoin list with little to no qualification needed, Meanwhile, applicants for the Javascript programmers list, "must be a software engineer with professional knowledge of Javascript," the company explains, noting that “all applications are subject to review," and “validation of membership may be based on peer review, technical examination, or cryptographic test.”

Those who are accepted to each list will get access to a 'newsfeed,' a stream of list-specific tasks. “Every item in the feed compensates you for your time,” Srinivasan explained. New lists will be made as needed, and it’s a user-initiated process. “The list manager sets the price-per-reply for each list,” Srinivasan told BraveNewCoin. “Most of the lists are currently managed by 21, but you can apply to manage your own list.”

It’s now possible to both suggest new lists and apply to become a list manager of new and existing lists. The latter can even lead to more streams of revenue for 21.co users. “In return for managing and moderating a list, list managers get a cut of all proceeds send to that list (as do the list members!)” the CEO states.

- Srinivasan