Businessweek Archives

Pushing Crowdsourcing A Bit Further


Since my article, ?a href="http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/mar2009/id2009032_457168.htm?chan=innovation_innovation+%2B+design_top+stories">Pushing the Limits of Crowdsourcing,” went up earlier in the week, some more interesting tidbits have been thrown my way. It’s obvious that this is a successful business model—how couldn’t it be with all that free labor?—but we’re so early into the trend, I expect to be consistently surprised and amazed at the applications. Here’s a few morsels to chew on:

Google just launched "Tip Jar," a place for people to post tips about how to save money in hard economic times. The tips end up being ranked by the community and the cream rises. As of 2:00 p.m. Friday, the site's been up a little over a day and already 2,503 people have submitted 1,887 tips and cast 25,969 votes. It's run on Google Moderator, a program created to manage huge groups of people with lots of questions for a particular talk/forum/event/meeting. It's not the intended purpose, but Moderator is moving us one step closer to my next point...

Crowdsourcing Software. Right now, there doesn't seem to be any programs specifically designed to manage massive crowd projects. I was talking to David Perry, who runs the Project Top Secret video game project in the original article, and we mused that some software to oversee crowdsourcing is 1) needed and 2) potentially hugely profitable. Any thoughts on how this could work? Who could pull this off? What would it take? Could it be crowdsourced?

A little over a week ago, Facebook also got in on the act. Following the outrage over a policy change (the issue being who owned the content users posted), the company has decided to let users have a say. From the AP article: "...its users will get a hand in determining the various policies — such as privacy, ownership and sharing — by reviewing, commenting and voting on them before they are put in place.

If more than 7,000 users comment on any proposed change, it would go to a vote. It would be binding to Facebook if more than 30 percent of active users vote. Based on Facebook's current size, that would be nearly 53 million people. By comparison, a group created to protest Facebook's new terms has roughly 139,600 members as of Thursday."


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