With the accessibility of computers to multitudes of people and the numbers of people underemployed and unemployed, small businesses have found a ready and willing workforce. Work is put on the Internet in many places, including Mechanical Turk and is opened to an innumerable amount of people willing to work for little money. Some work just because they are addicted to computers, others because they have the knowledge and the computer. The fact is, it is for very little money and thus it benefits the small business owner, the graduate research student, and a variety of other enterprises.
This post summarizes are recent article from The Economist that compares Worklist, a new project from Second Life Founder Philip Rosedale, to a combination of ebay and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Managers need to break down large projects into short, discrete tasks that can be microcontracted. The service was opened to the public in November.
This first in a three part series discusses the reasons crowdsourcing is not considered as more than a novelty tool for large, established businesses. The main problem seems to be convincing a blue chip business that crowdsourcing is not just a novelty method, but a way to produce high quality, cost-effective results. The example is given of how, during the past Super Bowl, Dannon produced a commercial for Greek yogurt that utilized two French video guys that had been found through a crowdsourcing company. While this produced good PR for Dannon, the emphasis has been placed on how these guys were found, and not on the viability of crowdsourcing itself as a viable business practice.
This blog post has the stated goal of improving the accuracy and turnaround time of these types of HITS. Using a sample categorization HIT, the author outlines four way ways it may be improved. Ideas addressed include the recommendation to reduce the number of categories that the worker has to choose from to a much smaller number. Each of these changes are fairly easy to do, and may result in better overall results for this type of HIT.
This article highlights the five main benefits to a business by using crowdsourcing. Included among the five is the idea of flexibility, a value especially needed for small businesses or startups. Crowdsourcing allows a business to avoid hiring a full-time person when future needs are changing or uncertain. Also discussed are how crowdsourcing can reduce costs, increase the capability of a business to take on a task that would not have been possible otherwise, access more talent and ideas, and can potentially reduce the time it takes to bring a product to market.