Know About Crowdsourcing

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The word defines itself. Crowdsourcing is the outsourcing of work (which you can’t do yourself) to a crowd of people who would do it for you. As simple as that. The outsourced work will be done by people who has to be paid, or who provides their services for free.

Merriam- Webster Dictionary defines Crowdsourcing as “the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”

The phrase was first coined by Jeff Howe in an article, in the June 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.

In the article ‘ The rise of Crowdsourcing,’ Jeff Howe defines Crowdsourcing as– ” The act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.” The term gained huge popularity with this article.

Crowdsourcing is done primarily by design sites; the most prominent sites being 99designs.com, crowd SPRING, InnoCentive, Designcontest, LEGODesignbyME e.t.c.

Ever heard of iStockphoto? It is an online store where you could get professional quality photos at a cheap rate.

The most evident example of Crowdsourcing would be Wikipedia– the comprehensive online encyclopedia. Facebook has used crowdsourcing so as to bring on different language versions of their site. Hence, the list is endless and the possibilities are limitless.

Many freelancing sites like Elance, Freelancer’s, Odesk are also Crowdsourcing, in a way. There, the Freelancers (Contractors) would be paid by the Clients who require the services. A commission has to be paid to the sites for providing the platform, that is it!

Many large companies also make use of crowdsourcing. The corporates make use of idea contests, video contests, design contests, application contests e.t.c. Then,there are many online testing sites that does– software testing, games testing, designing– all done via crowdsourcing.

Interestingly, asking public for a feedback is another form of Crowdsourcing. One never know what ideas would spring up, from a feedback. The companies are surely paying attention to what the crowd has got to say!

There are several contest forum’s where you can have a contest, and can choose from among the best entries.

Wikipedia has got a huge list of the Crowdsourcing projects which is worth a look.

The market is quite huge out there. Either you can find the right job, or you can find the right person for your job. You just don’t have to depend on your employees alone to get things done, as there is a crowd out there on the web, who would be willing to do that work at a fraction of the real cost.

All said, Crowdsourcing is not without its drawbacks. Whatever is cheap or free, might not necessarily be of the best quality. The time and energy that you have to spend to go through the feedback you receive, can be exhaustive. The fact that the feedback is coming from a ‘crowd,’ would necessitate thorough attention.

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/what-is-crowdsourcing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crowdsourcing_projects

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