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Crowdsourcing is a modern form of cooperation and joint brainstorming across local borders. Companies and organizations benefit from crowdsourcing by assigning tasks to a community of volunteers and thus using swarm intelligence. One of the most famous examples of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia. The term crowdsourcing is made up of the terms "crowd" and "sourcing". Crowdsourcing uses the masses to find a solution to a problem.
In the course of globalization and the expansion of the Internet, the possibilities for companies and organizations to recruit new employees or to work together across national borders have increased. So-called "swarm intelligence" became a new phenomenon - it is assumed that many people can solve problems together at expert level without each individual being an expert.
Crowdsourcing now makes use of this principle. Similar concepts are also applied in the areas of Open Source or Open Innovation. The term "crowdsourcing" is attributed to the American Jeff How from Wired Magazine. He used the word for the first time in an article in 2006. He used three practical examples to find his concept of crowdsourcing. He developed his concept of crowdsourcing from three practical examples. For example, he shows how a project manager at the National Health Museum in Washington was able to implement various exhibition features quickly and cost-effectively with the help of a photo platform. The pictures on the platform were not specially developed by professional photographers for the exhibition, but photos of amateurs and amateur photographers, which could be downloaded from the net for a small fee. As a second example, How provides a video platform whose content could be used for an own TV show and finally a portal that offers human work that computers cannot yet do. How's core message is that crowdsourcing is an important way for companies to save costs.
Fields of application
Crowdsourcing can be used for many different purposes. The basis is always an exchange via Web 2.0. Crowdsourcing is used for the following areas:
- Product tests: as many products as possible are sent to different testers. This approach is particularly popular with large brands that want to check new products for possible sales potential before they are launched on the market. Software manufacturers also like to use so-called "crowdtesting". Popular examples are the beta versions of Microsoft's Windows platform or previous versions of SEO tools.
- Surveys: opinion research or forecasts can also be carried out with the help of crowdsourcing.
- In-house crowdsourcing: employees of large companies are asked to submit suggestions for improvements to developed products or services, for example.
- Knowledge portals: here many different volunteers can gather their expertise on a single platform, e.g. Wikipedia.
- Plagiarism hunters: a special form of crowdsourcing is the search for plagiarism in doctoral theses by politicians.
- Crowdfunding: a special form of crowdsourcing in which money is collected online for a company start-up or product development. Many different donors can be activated via the Internet, each of which only contributes a very small amount of e.g. one dollar. Due to the large number of donors, however, the project receives a very high starting capital.
Anyone who knows today how to get many people to work on a project via crowdsourcing can save not only time but also costs. However, it is important that crowdsourcing projects have solid project management. Because of the large number of participants, which can quickly become very large via the Internet, it is easily possible for clients to lose sight of partial goals and thus the overview. Furthermore, crowdsourcing is not suitable for processing projects that contain sensitive data or secret prototypes.
Benefits for online marketing
Crowdsourcing plays an important role in online marketing today. Many online shops have their texts created by crowdsourcing portals. Hobbyists register there and receive a corresponding fee for their texts. The advantage for clients is that they do not hand over their order to an individual person or a company, but instead provide the order to a community, which means that there is a good chance of finding suitable contractors. Similar marketplaces also exist for programmers. Crowdsourcing components can also be used in marketing campaigns. For example, a collective may be asked to search for a new slogan for a company or a new product name or to vote on existing claims. Crowdsourcing portals are also frequently used today for usability tests.