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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Map Of Needs -- a great idea!

28 September 2012

One of the best things about the Net is that it allows you to build a network of friends and virtual-acquaintances all over the globe.

If you were to go back in time just two or three decades then most people's circle of friends and acquaintances was unlikely to spread much beyond the borders of their own country or state. That's obviously no longer the case.

I for one, have regular contact with a huge number of people in countries as far away as the USA, Australia, Europe, the UK, Canada, Norway and other far-flung corners of the world.

Most of these people I will never meet -- but we still have strong friendships and share ideas, opinions, experiences and interests -- thanks to the Internet.

If I ever need someone in the USA (for instance) to do something for me, I have dozens of people I could ask to lend a hand and I know that most of them would do so willingly.

But what if I didn't have that network of friends? Or what if I needed someone in a country like Taiwan (where I don't think I know anyone) to help me out?

Well yesterday I was introduced to a really clever and innovative website that promises to offer a solution.

The people behind Map Of Needs have really got a blindingly good idea here and I hope it actually enjoys the success it deserves.

Users of this site are able to post their "needs" to the site and others, in the country where that need would be carried out, can offer to do whatever's involved by tendering a price for the job.

It's so simple it's clever.

Personally, I can see times when I would use this service -- for instance, say I was writing an article about some particular place in the world...

Naturally I'd want to include some pictures of that area -- so I could post my "need" to MapOfNeeds and wait for some tenders. If those tenders turned out to be less than the cost of licensing some suitable images from one of the many image libraries on the Net then bingo -- money saved, *unique* imagery (which means I could then resell it if I wanted) created and someone gets some coin for their time.

If this site can get sufficient critical mass going then it could be another "big thing", in the way that so many other incredibly simple ideas on the Net have caught the hearts and minds of people.

Of course the *big* problem is attaining that critical mass -- and that's where it becomes important to put your marketing hat on.

I've been working on some ideas for promoting this website -- because (wait for it) -- it's "made in NZ" so deserves our support.

Why does it deserve our support?

Because it's a good idea and because it's another much-needed cog in the machine that should be our knowledge-based economy.

So... tell everyone you know about this website -- spread the world far and wide.

Put it on your regular-visit bookmark list for a while so you can see just what things people want others to do -- go on, be curious.

And who knows, maybe *you* will be able to help out someone from somewhere else on the planet and earn a few bucks in the process.

Of course there will be a great need for vigilance with a service like this. We've all seen just how quickly scammers and crooks latch on to such things and I suspect that the site operators will have to be very quick to clamp down on the spam that will inevitably start rolling in in huge waves if it does get popular.

I can see the pitches for selling "V1agrA" or cashing Western Union money orders and depositing the funds into someone's bank account, etc -- almost all of which would be a cover for illegal activity.

So let's see what happens with MapOfNeeds -- I've got my fingers crossed for them -- what do readers think?

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