This post is part of a new series from HuffPostTech, Socialized, that will profile a different social startup--from apps to services to websites--every day. Want to be featured on the site? Email us about your startup, which should have a social media component and be less than two years old, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever stood in an excruciatingly long line and thought to yourself, "Man, I would pay someone $60 if he'd let me cut in front of him"? Or maybe your local grocery store is out of your favorite cereal, but you don't want to go across town to look for more, and you just wish someone would get it for you.
That's where Zaarly comes in. Zaarly is an almost shockingly simple app that lets you list whatever it is you're looking for, be it a set of 17th century porcelain shepherdesses, tickets to an Evanescence concert, reservations at a fully booked restaurant or whatever else you can imagine paying for the privilege of having. Zaarly makes it so that anything--object, experience or otherwise--can be for sale.
What it is: Zaarly is an app that lets you list whatever it is you're looking for, the price you're willing to pay, and the distance you're willing to go to get it.
How it works: Users can sign-in with Zaarly, or use Twitter or Facebook to access the program. Once someone uploads their desire, anyone in the Zaarly network in the given distance range of the listing will have the opportunity to respond.
At that point, the buyer can pick from all the offers they have. But unlike Craigslist, the buyer calls the seller using an anonymous phone call (Zaarly uses Twilio to create a generic number so that neither person involved has to reveal a personal phone number). Payment is up to the buyer and seller, though Zaarly notes that it will soon begin integrating mobile payment options to make the process even simpler.
Illegal objects and services are not for sale, ie, drugs, guns, prostitution, blood, and more.
Why you’d use it: Let's say your favorite restaurant doesn't deliver. It's raining outside. You're tired, lying facedown on your sofa and watching TV. Instead of reaching for a can of tuna, Zaarly will let you look for someone who's willing to go get your food for you, for some agreed-upon price.
Of course, Zaarly could potentially do more than just nourish your inner vegetable. Maybe you're caught away from home and your phone dies, or you need to use a computer for 15 minutes. Someone near you may just be willing to take your money to help you out. Or, the liquor store is closed, but you want to throw a party. Maybe someone nearby is sitting on a hoarded pile of gin, and needs to get rid of it. Booked restaurants and sold-out concert tickets are some of the obvious problems that could be solved with Zaarly.
And Zaarly also creates the opportunity for an entirely new marketplace of goods and services to enter the market. Having a dinner party but can't cook? Maybe Zaarly will help you find a great amateur cook who'll be excited to enter the semi-professional world, while you get to eat the tasty results. Or perhaps you need some help setting up your DVD player but don't want to have to call a professional service. Surely there'll be some guy around who just has a knack for gadgets and will chip in for $30. Heck, maybe you just want someone who'll devein a bushel of shrimp for you. Someone out there just might oblige.
How to get it: Zaarly went live in Austin during SXSW, but will roll out to more cities in the following months. For now, visit Zaarly's website to sign up in advance, or to let them know you want your city to be included.
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