There's a growing number of online marketplaces designed to connect people who are willing to pay for small tasks to be done with people willing to do them.
Think of them as eBay's for chores, small jobs and other personal and business tasks. Examples include:
Coffee and Power: is a new marketplace with 2nd Life founder Philip Rosedale at the helm and funding from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and VC firm Greylock Partners. The goal of the marketplace is allow people to buy and sell pretty much any kind of task (which they call a "mission"), although today a lot of posted tasks are IT related.
One intriguing aspect of Coffee and Power is their plan to create coworking spaces around the country to give Coffee and Power workers (and others) a place to work. Coffee and Power calls these "Work Clubs" and so far there's only one. But if the concept catches on there will soon be a lot more.
Another intriguing aspect is they are offering their own virtual currency - called "coffee dollars" - and all transactions on the site use their currency. The company guarantees a 1-1 exchange rate with the U.S. dollar and takes a 15% transaction fee on all missions.
Zaarly: Although a relatively new site, Zaarly also has quite a bit of investor star power. Google, Kleiner Perkins and Ashton Kutchar have put in some of the $14 million they've raised, and ex-eBay CEO and current HP CEO Meg Whitman is on their board.
In many ways their site looks like a collision of Craigslist and eBay, only with much better UI designers involved. In addition to buying services, you can also buy goods on Zaarly.
Gigwalk: Provides a free iPhone app and pays people to use it to take pictures of stores, cafés, bars, and other businesses and places in their area. Their claim is they provide an "instant mobile workforce." Microsoft, for example, is using Gigwalk to add pictures to their Bing local search listings.
TaskRabbit.com: Probably the best known of these sites. People post tasks they want done (walking a dog, getting tires changed on a car, cooking dinner, etc.) and amount they're willing to pay for it.
Once posted, TaskRabbits - people willing to do small jobs who have registered and been vetted by TaskRabbit - bid on the task. The lowest bidder wins and does the job.
Online job marketplaces are not new. Elance, for example, has been around for well over a decade. But these new sites are using the efficiencies offered by the Internet to go after smaller jobs and person to person (often referred to as P2P) commerce opportunities that used to be considered to small to pursue.