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There are four types of crowdsourcing:Josh Catone, “Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads Is Better Than One,” ReadWriteWeb, March 22, 2007 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/crowdsourcing _million_heads.php (accessed May 11, 2010).
In the commercial context, there are three dominant ways in which crowdsourcing is used:
Furthermore, crowdsourcing platforms come in two flavors. Generally, these platforms exist online:
A strong community is the key to successful crowdsourcing. The community can be viewed as a crowdsourcing platform’s most important asset—it is essentially an economically productive unit. Without it, a crowdsourcing project would be impossible to run. The creative product produced by the community is in fact what the crowdsourcing platform sells. So without creators there is no product to sell. Keeping a community interested, engaged, and rewarded is essential in retaining that community.
Unfortunately, the importance of a community, how it works, and what keeps it motivated can be often overlooked. A good example of this is a crowdsourcing platform called Cambrian House. The platform was set up as a place where the community could post new business or product ideas. The aim was to get the community to help refine, build, and test these product ideas and then the original owner of the idea could sell it. With the snappy catchphrase “You think it; Crowds test it; Crowds build it; You sell it,” Cambrian looked set for success.
Initially Cambrian House was flooded with new product ideas. However, soon it became clear that the crowd was great when it can to coming up with ideas and refining them, but when it came to building or executing them, the crowd lost interest. It was either too time consuming or too difficult to build or execute the ideas produced by the community, and the reward was not a fair trade-off for the amount of work required. The result: the site never made any money and eventually closed down. The founders of Cambrian House have gone on to found another crowdsourcing platform, Chaordix (http://www.chaordix.com).
Communities using crowdsourcing platforms exist for different reasons. Communities like Dell’s Idea Storm and My Starbucks Idea exist because there are lots of people who have a large interest and affinity to those brands. They participate in the community because they want to influence the products and services they receive.
Idea Bounty keeps the community interested and engaged by offering the chance to tackle problems and brands that the community might not otherwise be exposed to. Individuals are rewarded for their contributions with awards for outstanding ideas, and the owner of the best solution receives a monetary prize. These are all elements that keep Idea Bounty’s creatives actively involved and motivated.
Idea Bounty, like iStockphoto, offers keen hobbyists a platform to meaningfully contribute to a cause and, importantly, be rewarded for their contributions.
In the case of Idea Bounty, it is also very clearly stated that creatives own their ideas, and legally their work is protected as their own. This ensures that creatives feel in control and unexploited. Their ideas remain highly confidential—creating a safe zone to submit ideas and explore their creativity.
For businesses and brands, there are many reasons to get involved with crowdsourcing. Foremost is the ability to tap into a diverse crowd and source varied solutions to their problems. Businesses and brands simultaneously access huge amounts of customer and consumer insight, at lower costs. With sites like Idea Bounty, brands only pay for what they use, making crowdsourcing the most effective way of sourcing solutions and ideas out there.
There are four types of crowdsourcing:
There are three ways in which crowdsourcing is used:
Crowdsourcing platforms come in two flavors: