After nearly five million downloads of its Windows PC client, CrossLoop brings its screen-sharing app and growing pro-am computer support community to the Mac (download here, for Intel Macs running OS X 10.4 or higher). CrossLoop is a peer-to-peer screen sharing app that lets a remote IT specialist or a friend take over your computer to fix a problem or give you a tutorial.
Since its launch in November, 2006, more than 100 million minutes worth of sessions have been shared through the service, with shared minutes growing at a 210 percent annual rate. It took CrossLoop 132 days to reach its first one million minutes of shared screen time. Now, its members are sharing one million minutes every four days. The vast majority of the help sessions on CrossLoop are done for free, but 14,414 semi-professional “helpers” charge for their services, collecting about $55 to $60 per session. For instance, for $50 you can get help switching from a PC to a Mac. CrossLoop takes a 15 percent cut of all the paid sessions for hosting a directory of helpers, providing the software, keeping track of session lengths, and handling the payments.
Peer-to-peer product support will grow in popularity over time (see Fixya). If consumers can find someone on CrossLoop who can fix their computer faster and cheaper than someone at the local computer repair shop, it is a no-brainer. Of course, if the computer is completely dead or you can’t get on the Internet, CrossLoop won’t do you any good. But there are plenty of other times when you just need a little guidance from your family’s designated tech support expert, or are even willing to pay someone who actually knows what they are doing.