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Social media program adds microconsulting

SAN FRANCISCO — Startup AskYourUsers announced Thursday the invite-only beta launch of its professional marketplace, which connects businesses that seek feedback with LinkedIn members who are available for hire as anonymous microconsultants. Businesses can request microconsulting from people who use specific products, services and software, those with unique hobbies, or people with expertise in specialized fields.

"The flexibility and targeting of enables businesses to conduct qualitative online research quickly and cost-effectively with the goal of eliminating 90 percent of the time and effort they would otherwise spend seeking the feedback and advice they need," said Amelia Dunne, co-founder of AskYourUsers. "We are leveraging widely used social technology to simplify the current inefficient process used to validate ideas, conduct usability tests, hold focus groups and collect opinions from specific target audiences, while also making it easy for people to get paid for their feedback."

AskYourUsers is the first company to systematically leverage the data collected by LinkedIn to create professionally targeted part-time consulting jobs that allow anonymity. Any person with a LinkedIn account can become a microconsultant at and get paid for quick consultations at an hourly rate they define.