Feb 27 2008
If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, you’ll immediately understand the basic premise of crowdsourcing: no one is as smart as all of us. When contestants ask the audience to vote for the correct answer, they’re hoping (and are usually correct) that the majority of the audience will be able to give the correct answer.
Combing the Vancouver blogs for inspiration, I’ve come across social marketing maven Monica Hamburg’s interesting take on crowdsourcing: for corporations, basically just a way to avoid contracting out work to specialists and get lots of raw data or content at little or no cost using the viral data sucking power of the Internet.
I’m not certain it’s all that evil; after all, companies do have to put some specialists to work analyzing all the data and suggestions they get from thousands of strangers in order to utilize it. On balance, crowdsourcing may actually be a pretty positive thing when it comes to keeping our society’s professional elite employed.
On a personal note, I know that I’m benefiting from crowdsourcing with a new viral video marketing campaign I’m in the process of developing from a client who pays me to create it. The best video creators will be awarded with prizes… but am I just exploiting all the ones who submit their stuff for free and don’t win prizes? Does it qualify as crowdsourcing if it’s using the Internet to submit promotional material for my client, or is it just plain-old fashioned marketing?
Maybe crowdsourcing itself isn’t really anything new. Maybe it’s just a catchy name for something we’ve always had.