Posts Tagged ‘crowdsourcing’

Crowdsourcing vs Agencies

Posted on: October 19th, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Crowdsourcing is the method of outsourcing work to a large group of people rather than to individual employees or departments. When looking into the design of my company logo, I decided to run a test to see if crowdsourcing would be better than using an advertising agency…

When you enlist an advertising agency, you normally have one designer working on the project and this designer creates, at the most, five logo options for you to choose from and refine.

CrowdsourcingI visited Crowdspring to see if they could provide a better service by crowdsourcing the design. I registered, opened my first project, set my price and waited.

The nice part of crowdsourcing is that as the buyer, you decide how much to pay. You set the price bar and the service providers (i.e. the designers) decide if they want to earn that money or not. In most cases, the service provider is guaranteed the income should they do the work. At Crowdspring it works a little differently. I set my price and any designer who wanted to work on the project could submit designs – but I only paid for the winning design. In other words, I got the design expertise of multiple designers around the world and my costs never changed.

The process of crowdsourcing my logo design was relatively simple:

  1. Write a comprehensive and informative brief.
  2. Advertise or market the new project to designers on the site.
  3. The designers who wanted to work on the project sign a disclosure agreement.
  4. The designers start submitting designs.
  5. I review the designs and send back changes that I would like.
  6. The changes come back and forth for two weeks (each crowdsourcing project in Crowdspring runs for about two weeks).
  7. Once all the submitted designs are in, and the deadline is reached, I then chose my Top Ten logo designs and posted them onto a voting panel.
  8. I invited friends, family, associates and clients to vote for my logo. This gave me an indication which logo was liked by the general public instead of just by me.
  9. Once the votes were in, I could then pick my favorite design.
  10. I contacted the designer and they delivered the design work so I could start using it.
The end result was that I received over two hundred submissions with different variations of logos that I could use for my business. Using crowdsourcing as opposed to an advertising agency gave me more choice but also meant much more administration as I reviewed every logo that was submitted.
The irony is that by crowdsourcing to the global village of designers, the winner lived about 30km from my office. The truth is that I would never have found this local design talent if it were not for the croudsourcing process.
What can I crowdsource? 
Design is not the only thing you can crowdsource; in fact it’s probably one of the hardest disciplines to crowdsource. The best way to explain this is to show you examples of crowdsourcing companies that exist. They have created environments where crowdsourcing works and you’re welcome to take part at any time. These examples are taken from
1. Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is based on HIT‚ Äôs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. These are basically simple tasks that are easy for the average person, but not simple enough for an automated system to handle. The work itself is micro-labour. That means you will be paid pennies per section of each task, adding up to greater amounts for time. So if you chose to organise a website list to find active links, you might be paid a few cents per link. Others pay up to ten cents per section, which will add up faster. You can make money here, or even post your own jobs for others to do.
2. Cloudcrowd
Another micro-labour site, Cloudcrowd is more translation, data entry and editing based. You can also work in content creation, in a way similar to sites such as TextBroker. You have to have a Facebook and PayPal account in order to qualify, but chances are you have those anyway. The amounts are greater than Mechanical Turk, but the tasks are also a little more time and energy consuming. If you’ve been looking for people who can transcribe your files, provide translations or do data entry, you can find some good ones here‚ however, you have to be prepared to pay a little bit more.
3. CastingWords
Anyone who has a typing skill can make some extra cash by doing transcription at CastingWords. It is associated with Mechanical Turk and allows you to search for jobs related to transcription, which is pretty much just very quick data entry. They pay through direct bank transfers or Amazon store cards, and the pay isn’t that bad. If you are going to use Mechanical Turk to find people who can transcribe for you, it is worth checking out CastingWords as well.
4. IdeaOffer
IdeaOffer is an interesting site. You sign up and look through projects on the site. They will ask you for any ideas you might have to improve it, market it, change it, name it‚ whatever they need. You submit your ideas and the best ones will be paid a reward. These might be anything from $1 to $100, but you can usually expect about $5 to $10 for each reward. While this isn’t great for making a lot of cash, it is a good place to get help if you are stuck on your project. You will also be rewarding concepts and creativity.
5. NamingForce
Do you like some real competition? Businesses looking for product or company names will come to NamingForce and ask for your input. The winning name will get a $100 bucks or more for their efforts as they buy that provided name. It is harder to win here because there is more to gain, but it is an interesting site. If you’re looking for some good marketing ideas and names, then this is a fantastic place to get what you need. You have to be willing to hand out some serious money, but it is still a lot less than you would pay a concept team. You will also be tapping into a fresh idea resource, and that is important in a business-oriented market where creativity can quickly become stale.
How does this work inside my business? 
Crowdsourcing inside your organisation can be used in any of the ways above, but has also been successfully leveraged to:
  1. Help solve complex problems where the decision makers have utilised a crowdsourcing platform to explain the problem and get input for employees.
  2. Vote on decisions where the options are better decided by those affected by the decision rather that the decision makers.
  3. Funding projects.
Social Reinvention
To find out how crowdsourcing and a number of other elements of social media are shaping the business world of tomorrow take a look at using the keynote presentation Social Reinvention for your next conference.

How social media sold me a seafood platter

Posted on: January 26th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 3 Comments

Last week we looked into the importance of using clear communication when selling through social media channels. Today I wanted to share an experience that ended very well for me (the buyer) and the seller.

I am busy doing some work on a wednesday morning last week when an email pops into my inbox from a friend:

Hi Guys

Check this out. I just got a voucher for a R500 seafood platter for R99.

Selling Sefood with Social MediaNormally I would mark this as spam but considering the source of the email I decided to follow the link. To my surprise I had stumbled into a “crowdsourcing” sales exercise. These sales exercises work on the premise that if enough buyers club together they can  sell a product for cheaper due to the economies of scale that start to take place.

I decided to treat my mother to a seafood dish, considering that my wife would rather die than be subjected to the smell of fish all night. I paid for the special on my credit card and then started to spread the word. You see the special is only “unlocked” once the total number of units had been sold. In this case the resturant needed to sell 100 platters before they could “unlock” the special. I was still hearing my friends talk about the special I posted to facebook and twitter for days afterwards.

Once the special was unlocked I phoned the resturant to make a booking. I told the person on the phone that I wanted to make a booking and that I had one of “these R99 vouchers” (I was half expecting another Global Wrapps saga). She simply laughed and asked which day I would like to book for. The curiosity in me decided to find out why she laughed and she replied that she had been inundated with request for bookings due to this special.

Why does this work?

The resturant did not use their facebook page or twitter profile to promote a special but rather posted a great special (great products do well online) onto a website called Twangoo (recently bought by Groupon). Thanks to a great advertising ethos from Twangoo the word got out fast and within a few days the resturant had sold 103 seafood platters.

I love this type of sales approach inside social media. It appeals to the Aspirers, Communicators and Influencers on the internet and communicates its message using technologies in a way that each digital lifestyle can appreciate.

Content farms – the future of journalism

Posted on: May 16th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 2 Comments

Newspapers and magazines are going through a tough time. Not because of the recession, but because they don’t seem to know what to do with the Internet and the rise of free content. Some are choosing to try and sell their content. Other are trying to find ways to entice more advertisers into their different media channels. Some are even finding small successes with these approaches. But most just don’t have a clue how to be successful in this new era.

Recently, Rupert Murdoch announced that his flagship papers around the world would start charging for online content. The resounding response of most people under 40 was, “Well, let’s see how that works for him, then.” It will end in tears. Murdoch’s bully methods may have been perfect for the era that is ending, but are not going to work in the new economy.

A story caught my eye in a recent Economist magazine that adds yet another nail into the old media coffin. Using concept of social media and crowdsourcing, a clever piece of software helps journalists to reduce the cost per hour of generating content. It’s very clever.

You can read about it here, or an extract below.


Crowdsourcing comes to Hollywood

Posted on: May 11th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 2 Comments

I was recently introduced to Peter Vesterbacka, who heads up an innovative company called Wreckamovie. The concept is simple: use social media concepts to facilitate the crowdsourcing of movie making. Or (without the web 2.0 jargon): use the Internet to get thousands of people to contribute to making movies together.

Hollywood and the big name studios account for only a tiny fraction of all movies made every year anyway, and Wreckamovie want to help independent film makers capture the power of the social net to make the best go at success that they can.

It started with a movie called Starwreck. Based in Finland, the original production team headed by Samuli Torssonen and Timo Vuorensola started asking people for help online (this was 1998, and the Internet was still in its infancy). Long before social networks became popular, they had already realised the potential of a worldwide community of people who were passionate about Star Trek and sci-fi parodies. It took seven years to make their movie and was collaborative all the way through (read a bit of the tech production story here – see the server farm they used to do the render at the bottom of the page, for example). It was eventually released in October 2005.