Friday, December 11, 2009

Crowdsourcing from the Developing World

Last month saw the launch of CrowdFlower, an interesting venture that applies Dolores Labs’ Labor-as-a-Service platform to the non-profit “micro employment” foundation Samasource.

We’ve previously covered web-based labor and outsourcing services — notably Shorttask and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk — that match-make workers and tasks, and I’ve been critical of the unsustainable payment levels for most of the tasks on offer, often at compensation levels lower than minimum wage.

CrowdFlower puts a new spin on this concept, by assigning tasks to workers in the developing world and from communities that really need opportunity. Though the level of compensation for a typical task is still below normal levels in the developed world, the payment goes to communities where the money appears to be having a very positive impact.

Drawn from Samasource’s base of impoverished women, young people seeking opportunity and refugees, CrowdFlower’s workers are trained to undertake a wide range of computer-based tasks such as
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