Platform cooperatives are a welcome ethical alternative
Given this, and given the various cases of sexual harassment and worker exploitation associated with certain big-tech gig economy giants, the efforts of platform cooperatives to establish democratic management and user ownership are a welcome ethical alternative.
Here are 5 platform cooperatives you should know about:
Stocksy(1) | #Stocksy | is a Victoria, B.C.-based stock photography site that is entirely owned by the artists who contribute to it. In fact, that’s the whole idea: the founders wanted to create a site that would offer fair pay to the artists who made it possible.
Stocksy’s artist-members receive a 50% commission on standard license purchases, and 75% on extended license purchases, as well as dividends on any surplus.
Founded by Felix Weth in Germany in 2013, Fairmondo(2) | #Fairmondo | is designed as an ethical, seller-owned alternative to eBay. Fairmondo has funded itself through crowdfunding and now covers monthly costs through fees and customer subscriptions.
Weth and his team are planning to expand worldwide by establishing co-ops at the national level. The core elements they are going to insist on for all member cooperatives include a 90% seller-owner majority agreement to change anything in the general principles, coupled with democratic accountability, transparency, profit distribution, and more.
Up & Go
A New York City-based alternative to big-tech giants Handy and Taskrabbit, Up & Go(3) | #Up & Go | provides on-demand cleaning services through several small cooperatives. Cleaning-service providers who go through Up & Go earn $4.00-$5.00 more per hour than others in the area, and they keep 95% of everything they earn, with only 5% going to the platform.
Up & Go received funding from multiple grants, including the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City and Barclays, in the UK.
Given that Handy has faced a class-action lawsuit from a contractor who claimed she was only paid $14.00 for 30 hours of work, Up & Go’s mission is all the more important and praiseworthy.
Vancouver, B.C.-based Modo(4) | #Modo | is a carsharing coop, an alternative to conventional car-rentals.
Modo’s purpose has always been to reduce the need for car ownership. As the site explains, car ownership is expensive, and the average car sits idle about 95% of the time.
Modo was founded to support lifestyle affordability and reduce traffic by connecting car owners with people who want to use cars and would rather pay for them when they need them without having to buy them. It’s a brilliant, socially-conscious model that removes about 9-13 cars from the road for every car in the Modo fleet.
Backfeed(5) | #Backfeed | bills itself as “a social operating system for decentralized organizations,” a fitting description for a company dedicated to advancing the platform cooperative movement.
In brief, Backfeed is a platform for creating platform cooperatives. The site offers a blockchain-based infrastructure for peer-to-peer cooperation without hierarchy and centralization. With help from Backfeed, platform cooperatives can also engage in equity-sharing schemes, crowdsourcing, and other collaborative projects.
Stocksy website | https://www.stocksy.com/ |
Fairmondo website | https://www.shareable.net/blog/qa-with-felix-weth-of-fairmondo-the-platform-co-op-thats-taking-on-ebay |
Up & Go website | https://www.upandgo.coop/ |
Modo website | https://www.modo.coop/ |
Backfeed website | http://backfeed.cc/ |