Some people struggle to understand what crowdsourcing means, but the word itself really describes it. It is about outsourcing work to not just one person but an entire crowd, and they essentially do the work for you. Sometimes, you have to pay for this, other times, it is free. Regardless, what you need for a successful operation is excellent crowdsourcing software.
Understanding Crowdsourcing Software
By definition, crowdsourcing is a process in which necessary content, ideas, or services are obtained by asking large groups of individuals to provide contributions. In most cases, this is done through online communities, and not through traditional suppliers or employees. The term itself was first used in Wired Magazine in June 2006 by Jeff Howe.
Howe wrote “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, in which he explained that the process was essentially an institution or company taking a specific function that traditional employees would have done in the past, and asking a large, undefined network of outside people to complete it instead. Since Howe used the term, it became incredibly popular.
As a result of his work, crowdsourcing software become more prominent as well. Some of the more popular ones around today include LEGODesignbyME, Designcontest, InnoCentive, crowd SPRING, and 99designs.com. Another very famous example is iStockphoto, which is an online shop where people can purchase professional photographs at very low prices.
Another excellent example of crowdsourcing done right is Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopaedia. What few people know is that Facebook has also crowdsourced, particularly to translate the site in different languages. Essentially, through crowdsourcing there are limitless possibilities.
Other forms of crowdsourcing are found through freelancing websites. Odesk, Freelancer’s, and Elance are just a few examples. Here, clients pay contractors for specific services. The platform then receives a commission to run their own business.
Crowdsourcing is used by lots of large companies. They run video, idea, application, or design contests, for instance. Many also ask for online testing, such as designs, games, and software. All of this is done through crowdsourcing.
Simply requesting feedback is also a form of crowdsourcing. This is because feedback can give birth to fantastic new ideas. Companies know that they should pay attention to the public, and they do this through crowdsourcing, gathering responses in their software package and using those to improve their service.
There is, clearly, a huge market for crowdsourcing. If you have a job to do, you can find the person to do it for you and vice versa. No longer do companies have to rely solely on their employees in order to complete things, as there is a whole crowd of online people ready to do it for you, often for nothing more than simple recognition.
Crowdsourcing does have some drawbacks, one of the biggest ones being quality control. While crowdsourcing software makes searching through responses easier, it is still time consuming. However, the benefits vastly outweigh these simple drawbacks, as you may just receive some of the best ideas ever in this way.