Comparing WhenHub Interface Network to online people marketplaces

On Oct. 27, WhenHub launched its Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) offering. We published a website with a white paper and Private Placement Memorandum describing our vision for the WhenHub Interface Network (WIN). My co-founder, Scott Adams did an excellent job (as always) explaining the details of our vision and the product with this blog post.

At 76 pages of text and illustrations, the white paper goes into a fair amount of detail about WhenHub’s background, the team, the problem of “full utilization” for consultants or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and how WIN solves the problem using blockchain smart contracts. But the paper doesn’t do justice to many aspects of WIN. For example, why is a WHEN Token needed, how will our partner ecosystem work, how is WhenSense similar to and different from Google’s AdSense. I’ll use this blog to shed more light on these topics in the coming days. Today I’ll tackle the most important question – how is WIN better than existing solutions such as online people marketplaces like Fiverr, Freelancer and Gigbucks.

WIN’s primary feature is to enable an expert to broadcast their availability time slots, and using some under-the-hood magic, connect them to people who need their specific expertise at a specific time. Why do people need this? The same reason they hate cable programming, and love DVRs, Netflix and Hulu. The former requires them to adjust their schedule, and the latter adapts to their schedule. What’s not to love?

You don’t know precisely when you are going to need an expert to help you solve a problem – it could be anytime. It’s nice to have a solution that lets you find an expert with whom you can do a video or audio call and solve your problem whenneeded.

That single word when is the main differentiator between WIN and existing solutions that let you tap an expert to help you with a problem. But it is not the only differentiator. Here are eight ways in which WIN is a much better (and different) solution than online people marketplaces:

  1. WIN is all about a specific date and time. The expert publishes when they are available in time slots of 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes. When someone needs an expert, we first filter by availability within the next few minutes to hours, and the additional criteria such as time zone, locale, language, reputation, specialization etc. The goal is to connect a person with an expert in near real-time. There is no such equivalent on people marketplaces, period.
  2. WIN is a knowledge-centric solution. It is for people who want to talk to an expert, not for people who want an expert to perform a task for them. You would not use WIN to get someone to draw your logo. You would use WIN to consult with a professional marketer to help you understand how a logo fits into your overall brand, and how attributes such as color, font, style, legibility etc. make an impact based on your business. Armed with this knowledge, you can then go to an online marketplace and hire a graphic designer and give them well-defined requirements to produce an optimal result.
  3. WIN is driven by the notion that at a certain competency level, experts are fungible. If you are working on losing weight and want some quick dietary guidance from a nutritionist, you can expect more or less the same advice from any of them on the network given similar years of experience and reputation rating. This is advantageous because it means that the probability of you being able to speak to a nutritionist when you want to, is very high.
  4. WIN enables the market to value an expert’s time. When experts publish a time slot, they can allow their compensation to be auction-based above their preferred minimum. Not only does this ensure that they are paid fairly, but it also means that at times of high demand, they could get a higher compensation (yes, like surge pricing). Compare this to online people marketplaces which are a pricing race to the bottom.
  5. WIN lets the expert decide if they will pay a commission. If an expert wishes to have their listing displayed on WhenSense-enabled websites, they can specify a commission amount which is used in the bidding to determine if their listing is displayed higher or lower in the list. On online people marketplaces, experts pay 20% plus credit card fees in some cases.
  6. WIN requires the expert to post a Surety equal to the minimum amount they expect to be paid. This Surety is part of the smart contract with the buyer requesting their service. In the event the expert is a no-show within a reasonable window of time of an appointment, the Surety is forfeit to the buyer. Conversely, if the buyer is a no-show, their posted bid amount is forfeit to the expert (seller). On online people marketplaces, all the power is wielded by the buyer and the marketplace. The expert (seller) has no leverage and often has to wait days or weeks for payment for trivial issues raised by the buyer.
  7. WIN lets the buyer or the seller specify a verification level. We intend to have a number of verification partners and implement a graduated verification system. Using hypothetical Bronze, Silver and Gold Verified levels, this would enable the expert to stipulate a Bronze verification requirement for a video call, but a Gold verification requirement for an in-person meeting. Similarly, buyers can filter out experts who do not match their desired verification levels. On online people marketplaces…crickets.
  8. WIN will have an API that enables use by third-party developers. WhenHub already has a published, open API (link). We will extend it and enable the use of WHEN Tokens in other scenarios. For example, if someone wishes to use WHEN Tokens on a specialized type of network to connect medical professionals to patients (a high bar for verification and validation), we would welcome the use of the network, the API and WHEN Tokens. Comparatively, online people marketplaces are closed by design and sometimes contractually forbid experts from participating on other networks.

I hope this post has helped you understand why the WhenHub Interface Network is different from online people marketplaces, and how it aims to connect a very different set of buyers and sellers using time as the primary vector while taking advantage of blockchain-based smart contracts.

Our WHEN Token Pre-sale is on through Nov. 9. The Public Sale begins Nov. 10. Go here to participate.