Most consumer outsourcing takes place on auction sites like Guru. In 2000, the Pittsburgh-based company launched an online job board. Its infrastructure is like eBay, with a ratings system so buyers can feel more comfortable choosing a vendor. Guru has an escrow system to avoid handing over a credit-card number to a stranger. Vendors pay a listing fee of roughly $10 to $80 a month, and Guru gets 6% to 9% of every successful deal. Customers aren't charged to list projects for which they're seeking bidders.
Guru.com and the trend towards outsourcing is the leading counternarrative to Richard Florida's Geospiky perspective. Guru allows creative types to seek places with less overhead and, in theory, directs buyers to the lowest bidder. Of course, there is the issue of trust.
The value of face-to-face interactions is what drives our Spiky World. The quest for lower costs is what informs Thomas Friedman's Flat World. In strolls the Wall Street Journal to test the waters and serve as guide to the Flat World. Is the WSJ tilting at Spiky World windmills?