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Zaarly Anywhere takes projects from blogs to reality

New service lets consumers see a project or product on a Web site and then find someone to make them a custom version of it.

From inspiration to having someone do the work for you: Zaarly Anywhere.
Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

The gig marketplace Zaarly has launched a clever extension to its business: Zaarly Anywhere. This new service lets users who see a project on a Web site or blog quickly post a request for proposal to the Zaarly user base to get that project done for themselves.

For example, if you see a construction project on Ikea Hackers that you'd like to see also in your own home, but you lack the time or wherewithal do do it yourself, now you can click a Zaarly button on the post about the project to Zaarly's community. Or if you see a recipe you'd like someone to make for you (or teach you about), you can perhaps find an itinerant chef to help you out.

It's a simple extension to Zaarly's service but it's quite a clever business. Zaarly gets a cut of the transaction (10 percent), which is its standard model. But it shares these revenues with the sites where the projects or ideas are hosted. Zaarly CEO Bo Fishback says it's a no-brainer for sites to implement the feature, since it might make them a few bucks while at the same time helping readers close the loop from dreaming about a project they see to actually getting it done. For them.

Zaarly Anywhere links to Facebook and Twitter for requests. So if you think you're not going to find that person to build the cool treehouse in Zaarly, you can make sure your entire social circle sees it. But, Fishback says, it's usually not required. Most reasonable posts are picked up quickly. "Our supply network is strong enough," he says.

The service does not connect in any way with the one other site that you'd think would make the most sense: Craigslist. Fishback says the older classifieds service is too prickly about working with other marketplaces.

Fishback thinks that Zaarly Anywhere serves two big purposes. First, it provides inspiration for consumers -- and then helps deliver on it. Second, it makes blogs into marketplaces.

He thinks the idea is rather obvious and that, if Zaarly is the first gig marketplace to have a feature like this, it won't be the last. "There's about a 100 percent chance that other people will run into this space," he says.

Zaarly Anywhere is working on a few partner sites right now, including the LA Times, Cookstr, The Fancy, Remodelaholic, and Simplified Building Concepts, and IKEA Hackers. Web publishers who want to use the service need to contact Zaarly for a deal, for the time being. A self-serve Zaarly Anywhere feature is in the works.