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<   No. 3858   2018-04-27   >

Comic #3858

1 Mercutio: All right, we have a draft script, a lead actor, a costume maker. We should start filming our show!
2 Shakespeare: Do we have a film crew?
3 {beat, Mercutio does something on his phone}
4 Mercutio: We do now!
4 Shakespeare: What was that?
4 Mercutio: Airtasker!

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So, I discovered while researching this strip[1] that Airtasker is an Australian company, and doesn't even exist outside Australia. I'd assumed it was one of those American companies like Uber or eBay or Airbnb that has become so ubiquitous that pretty much everyone in the developed world has heard of it and/or used it.

My next reaction was to look for some more cosmopolitan replacement. So I Googled "like airtasker in the usa", but this didn't produce much in the way of useful information. I in fact had real trouble finding any company that does the same sort of thing. Eventually I stumbled across TaskRabbit, which seems to be very much the same sort of service - however it only operates (according to Wikipedia) in very restricted localities in the US (a small handful of major cities), plus London.

So if I changed "Airtasker" to "TaskRabbit" in this comic, the risk is that many readers, even those in the USA, might not have heard of TaskRabbit either.

I finally concluded that there is no multinational company providing the service that Airtasker and TaskRabbit provide. And so, given that the characters in this theme canonically live in Sydney, I ultimately chose to stick with Airtasker. All Australians will know what that is, and hopefully readers elsewhere can figure it out easily enough from the company name, which is at least pretty descriptive and the sort of thing one might use if one was simply making up the name of a fictional company that provides small job matching and outsourcing services.

[1] Yes, I research my comics.[2]

[2] Sometimes.[3]

[3] Okay, so it's more like looking up one thing in Wikipedia and spending the next hour on a huge wiki-walk.

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