Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Crowdsourcing/Web 2.0 brings us together

Crowdsourcing & Web 2.0 brings us together.

Why do the work yourself when there are millions of users out there who'll do it for you? That may be a cynical way of looking at it, but crowdsourcing is a logical product of the Internet age. Though Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has rejected the term - he prefers to think of his site as "a genuine human community" instead of a faceless group of contributors - the free online encyclopedia has been a bastian of open-source knowledge since 2001 and is, for the most part, crowdsourcing at its best (just don't believe everything you read there!).

Like Wikipedia, Craigslist and eBay brought millions of users together in the 2000s. Both sites launched in the mid-1990s, but it wasn't until this decade that they hit full stride. Meanwhile, community-based news sites like Digg took hold among the digerati.
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Passion + Engagement = Crowd-sourcing

by Maryanne Conlin,

I was recently asked by one of the lead agencies doing pro bono work for the Huffington Post/Hopenhagen campaign to lend a hand in promoting a video contest to send a citizen journalist to the Copenhagen Climate Conference. I was brought in late, as the contest had been running for a few weeks with rather lackluster results, and only had one more week to run, but I thought might be able help with what I considered a worthwhile project.

What occurred surprised me.

What started with an email I sent to a green mom-blogger group suggesting one of their more prominent members enter the video contest turned into a crowd-sourced social media plan that included Twitter domination of the contest hashtag; a pro bono tweet-up by a well-known green marketing organization; 75-plus blog posts and mentions; and endorsements for their candidate garnered from top Mom blogger sites, including Blogher and Mom Central. This all in one week!

And I just sent out an email.

Okay, I did a bit more than that, but the bloggers involved took the basic list of suggestions (Twitter, Facebook and Blog posts) I wrote on how they might promote their candidate and expanded upon it exponentially. They found new ways to use the social media space to make her campaign go viral from LinkedIn to Ning to social bookmarking sites to involving high-profile Tweeters and bloggers to support their efforts.

Truly a crowd-sourced effort. And it got me thinking. Mom bloggers are savvy users of the social media space. When they get passionate about something, they can compete with the best of social media marketers by creating and executing strategies that work to advance their wants and needs.
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Digg's Rose, Adelson Back Crowdsourcing Startup 3Crowd

Digg and Revision3 co-founders Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson have provided crowdsourcing startup 3Crowd Technologies and its founder Barrett Lyon with an early Christmas present of funding.

Lyon says the angel investors join Storm Ventures and Greenwich Technology Associates to "give 3Crowd the shot in the arm it needs to take off," likely sometime early next year.

This marks the second time Rose and Adelson have crossed paths with Lyon, who co-founded BitGravity, the streaming video service that Internet television studio Revision3 utilizes.

San Mateo, California-based 3Crowd has yet to reveal how they plan to transform crowdsourcing (or how much funding they have secured), but Lyon's history and apparent entrepreneurial fervor to change the web has clearly excited 3Crowd's investors.

"This concept is yet another disrupting, dis-intermediating idea from Barrett. These are the technologies that change the game," Adelson says.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Inflated Expectations: Crowd-Sourcing Comes of Age in the DARPA Network Challenge

The M.I.T. and Georgia Tech teams proved most successful in using social networks to pinpoint the locations of 10 red weather balloons scattered throughout the U.S.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Network Challenge earlier this month demonstrated that social networks, more than being platforms for self-promotion, can be also be highly effective tools for rapidly gathering and disseminating very precise information. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and a homemade Web site, a winning team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) was able to within nine hours identify the correct latitude and longitude of all 10 of DARPA's red weather balloons, which were lofted 30.5 meters into the air at locations scattered throughout the U.S.

The competition was instructive not only in the ways that social networks can be successful at crowd-sourcing—using the Internet's long reach to rally disparate groups of people together for a common cause—but also in revealing different ways people can be motivated to participate. Whereas the M.I.T. Media Lab's Red Balloon Challenge Team's approach was to promise a share of the $40,000 in prize money to those that helped them win, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) "I Spy a Red Balloon" team in Atlanta (which placed second out of 58 teams) located nine of the balloons in nearly the same amount of time as M.I.T. with the promise of donating all of their winnings to the American Red Cross.
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Adventures in Ex Ante Crowdfunded Securities Law

by Paul Spinrad. I'm thrilled at the success of Kickstarter and Spot.Us, which partly fulfill a longtime dream scheme of mine. These sites are primary sources of great stuff, and you should check them out if you aren't already familiar with them. The idea behind both is to help people raise funds for ideas that they want to pursue; Kickstarter is designed for any personal projects, and Spot.Us supports journalism.

Donors can get a little something in return through these sites if the projects they fund come to fruition, like a signed copy of a book that's produced (Kickstarter), or reimbursement in credit if a news organization buys the story (Spot.Us). But what if a crowdfunding site could offer donors a piece of the action, not just some thank-you goodies? That's what I would want, and I don't think I'm alone. I want investors for my schemes, not patrons, and if people support me to do something that flies, it would only please me to give them a cut.
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“Crowdsourced” Politics? A New Polling and Survey Site,, Gives Users Unique tool to Influence Decisions

With, a radically new type of site has launched—one that enables users to have their voices heard on issues that matter to them, not just individually, but much more powerfully as a group. Those opinions are then automatically forwarded on to the decision makers whether they are elected officials, government agencies, companies, or journalists.

New York, NY (PRWEB) December 21, 2009 -- With, a radically new type of site has launched—one that enables users to have their voices heard on issues that matter to them, not just individually, but much more powerfully as a group. Those opinions are then automatically forwarded on to the decision makers whether they are elected officials, government agencies, companies, or journalists.

Strength is in the numbers; a single voice is far less powerful than a thousand voices expressing the same opinion together. That combined strength is what provides users with the power to influence the decision making process.

Qwanz is intended to negate the public‘s feeling of being disconnected from the decision making process and powerless to affect it. It aims to change the one-way communication between Governments, media, corporations, and the individual.

Rather than talk about “crowdsourcing”, Qwanz actually enables it.

Qwanz provides the tools that allow anyone to easily set up their own opinion poll, without an editorial gatekeeper, and thus, determine the public’s opinions as a whole, on any subject.
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Crowdsourcing: NYC’s Best-App Contest Opens for Worldwide Voting

New York City today asked people all over the world to pick the best new mobile and web apps that make the Big Apple “more transparent, accessible and accountable.”

NYC BigApps contest entrants mash official information from the NYC Data Mine with outside data and services. The hopes is to create a cool and useful app that will win the developers some of the $20,000 in taxpayer money offered as prizes.

The results should be apps that help residents and visitors plan walks that include open spaces, Wi-Fi hotspots and clean restaurants; find apartments on streets without potholes; and plot safe bike routes.

The contest demonstrates, again, the efficiency of crowdsourcing in solving problems, especially when cash prizes are involved. Developers from around the nation, but mostly from New York, submitted web and mobile 112 apps (iPhone and Android), and 85 qualified for this ongoing voting stage. A similar contest in Washington D.C., AppsforDemocracy, attracted 47 submissions.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crowdfunding for film funds...

Supermarket Funding and Alternate Reality: Independent Film in the Recession

With the recession derailing the bank finance model and with it the vast majority of film funding, filmmakers now have to adapt quickly to get their films made. Some are taking on more commercial projects for corporate clients, whilst others are innovating, using the latest social media tools to bypass the traditional funding mechanisms.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report shows that over 50 independent UK film companies went bust in the last 18 months, with Tartan, Palm Tree UK and Grass Roots Films amongst the fallen...Filmmakers often now go online for a digital whip-round, also known as ‘crowdfunding’. Hinging on a process known as ‘Do-It-With-Others’ (DIWO), the website IndieGoGo acts as a resource market, where visitors can watch a pitch trailer for films in varying states of production, share clips with friends (thereby creating a buzz), ‘demand’ screenings in their area and even contribute to a film’s release costs.
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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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TUGG Launches Crowdsourcing Philanthropy Model

BOSTON - (Business Wire) Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG), a new foundation organized by New England’s venture capital and entrepreneurial communities, is applying crowdsourcing methodologies to charitable giving. Crowdsourcing enables the technology community to participate in a distributed/open approach to fundraising, problem solving and effective distribution of resources. TUGG was founded to fund social innovation that helps young people realize their full potential through entrepreneurship, education and life experiences.

Based on the crowdsourcing peer-collaboration model, TUGG relies on the community to: (1) source social innovation projects; (2) evaluate and vote on the right projects to fund; (3) raise money through a variety of micro fundraising initiatives. TUGG backs fledging organizations where small amounts of capital are significant to their success.

TUGG founders Jeff Fagnan, a partner at Atlas Venture, and Hemant Taneja, a partner at General Catalyst Partners, explain:
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Putting the BootB into crowdsourcing

By Hugh Jordan. Italian jobs. Launched two years ago, BootB was one of the first on the online crowdsourcing scene. But lacking the backing of some of its rivals, it has remained pretty much under the radar. Until now, that is.
“We have been building the plane while flying it,” says company founder Pier Ludovico Bancale of his project. “It was a typical garage set-up in the beginning, funded by family and friends but the idea has always been there and the idea is what counts.”
Bancale flirted with the idea of taking venture capital from some of San Francisco’s finest but, in the end, expansion has come courtesy of Italian backers.
“The guys [involved] are all successful businessmen, they have all started their own companies and they all believe that the future of creativity is online,” explains Bancale. “Creativity has always been an asset of Italy,” he adds wryly. “It’s what we do well.”
The site’s format is familiar enough. Clients post a brief and the creatives come up with solutions. The client’s fee is then 80/20 in favour of the creative, a pretty attractive split in comparison with other crowdsourcing sites.
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AT&T launches Mark the Spot iPhone app to crowd-source network performance

AT&T is now offering Mark the Spot, an application for Apple's iPhone line that lets users report network problems in a geographic location. The carrier says the information will be used to prioritize its network improvements.

The free application lets users choose the nature of the situation and add descriptions while location, time, and device information are sent directly to AT&T's network planning team. AT&T says applications for other smartphone platforms will be made available in the coming months.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

You can’t lean back if you want to get ahead and The Future of Advertising...

by Edward Boches: My week began by attending the premiere of Lemonade with a bunch of people who’d been spat out by the business of advertising. Fired because their clients cut budgets, because they worked for “traditional” agencies rather than digital shops, because their old skills were less relevant in a new consumer-controlled world where word of mouth, social media, one-to-one, and analytics are becoming as important as “the big idea” once was.

The movie that was good enough to play in a real movie house, attract a few hundred people, and earn the attention of Katie Couric whose CBS crew showed up to document the entire evening was made possible by the power of social media. Blogs and Twitter introduced the idea, identified subjects, connected volunteers, recruited resources and gathered a tribe that would never have come together in any other way.

Yet when I asked a number of the unemployed in attendance if they had embraced the new platforms and technologies, learned new tactics, mastered the art of personal brand building and started creating and generating content using the new vernacular, many answered with a tentative “not really,” or even a definitive “not yet.”

Amazing when you think about it. They’d lost their jobs because of all the change...
Today I spoke at Boston University’s College of Communication. The subject was (what else) The Future of Advertising...And finally, agencies themselves no longer resemble their ancestors. They’re as likely to be entirely digital, totally social, or completely crowd-sourced.
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NYT Moves to the Crowd?

As we find more and more ways to connect online, the trend of crowdsourcing only seems like a natural progression to solve problems, collaborate, and join in discussion with people from around the world. Crowdsourcing’s scope – from social networks to intellectual capital and microfinancing – covers nearly every industry imaginable, and continues to be adopted by new ones every day.

The New York Times is branching out and experimenting with the latest area of crowdsourcing – crowdfunding. Similar to crowdsourcing, the idea of crowdfunding asks people to donate small amounts of money to support a larger cause. In this case, users on the site Spot.Us raised funds to help reporter Lindsey Hoshaw travel to a remote part of the Pacific Ocean in order to report on an environmental story. It was the Times’ first crowdfunded story – and will most likely not be its last.
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DARPA Balloon Hunt Will Yield Crowdsourcing Insights

In an effort to explore the roles the internet and social networking play when solving broad-scope, time-critical problems, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is challenging groups of Americans to locate 10 moored, eight-foot red weather balloons at 10 fixed locations in the continental US.

Such research could build upon the emerging concept of crowdsourcing, which is already fueling a growing number online business and marketing concepts.

Team Building

So far, more than 300 teams have signed up for...
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Director trio launch crowd funding plan

Ho, Rist, dos Santos start initiative at Rotterdam in January

By Patrick Frater

Dec 3, 2009, 09:30 AM ET
HONG KONG – Malaysian director Ho Yuhang, Switzerland's Pipilotti Rist and Alexis dos Santos from the U.K. and Argentina will take part in an unusual film funding initiative being launched by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan. 27 – Feb. 10, 2010).

The Cinema Reloaded will seek production finance for the films through the festival’s loyal supporters and film lovers around the world in a crowd-funding plan coordinated through a dedicated Web site. Films will begin shooting when a minimum level of finance is reached.

Once production has begun, backers will be able to track their chosen project, talk to other investors and to interact with the filmmaker. The films will be premiered at the 2011 festival and will then be distributed online to various platforms. The festival expects the filmmakers to experiment with different ways of collaboration with audiences.

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Monday, November 30, 2009 Launches Deal Crowdsourcing Site is no longer satisfied with one-deal-a-day. Now the pioneering online discount store has launched, an attempt to turn its rabid fans into a crowd-sourced deal finding-and-evaluating machine that finds dozens of bargains worthy of a “w00t, w00t!”.

The new site resembles a Digg or Reddit focused on deals, a Web 2.0 version of FatWallet and SlickDeals’ more tradtional online forums. It’s a departure for which specializes in selling a single item at a single time, usually at a steep discount. The site started with tech toys like cheap MP3 players and USB-powered ‘missile’ launchers, and then added sister sites devoted to T-shirts, wine and stuff for kids.

While Woot isn’t the first to try this, Woot has already grown a fanatically loyal user community around its sites. Already the deal site is attracting more votes per item than any previous such attempts ever seemed to.
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What do you see in the future for investigative journalism?

Q: What do you see is the future for investigative journalism? Do you still see it as having a home at newspapers?

I think the future of investigative journalism is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed,as William Gibson would say. Nonprofit organisations (such as Amnesty or Human Rights Watch) are an increasingly significant source of investigative journalism. Then there are the more general investigative journalism operations, funded by foundations and donations, such as ProPublica. Crowdfunding projects such as are going to be increasingly important. And then there are crowdsourcing operations such as those done by Talking Points Memo and, of course, my own project Help Me Investigate.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Report: Wikipedia losing volunteers

Wikipedia's exponential growth over this decade is due to the efforts of the millions of volunteers who write, edit, and check its entries. But could that volunteer effort now be in danger?

Volunteers have increasingly been quitting Wikipedia en masse for a variety of potential reasons, according to Monday's Wall Street Journal.

More than 49,000 editors left Wikipedia's English-language edition during the first three months of 2009, compared with only 4,900 for the same quarter a year earlier, according to the Journal, quoting Spanish researcher Felipe Ortega, who analyzes Wikipedia's online data. Though the service still boasts about 3 million active contributors, volunteers are leaving more rapidly than new ones are joining, the Journal said.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

'Think Twice' by Michael J. Mauboussin: Refine Your Decision Making

Today we'll be reviewing

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Countertuition by Michael J. Mauboussin.

You may be familiar with Mauboussin as he is the Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management and he has also been an adjunct professor of finance at Columbia Business School. Needless to say, he's had a storied career in finance and is a credible author on the subject. However, this book is not specifically about financial markets, but rather the process of decision making. We enjoyed his work because it offers a refreshing look at a topic applicable to all of life. Don't get us wrong though, the content still definitely applies to financial markets as well.

We read through it with the topic of finance in our head, seeking as many tie-ins as possible. After all, it only seemed natural. (One interesting focus was on that of crowdsourcing and the 'herd mentality,' two traits certainly found in financial markets). This book is a little bit different than the typical work we review and it was a welcome change. The topic of behavioral finance and decision making on a broader level is definitely one worth looking into seeing how it plays a prominent role in everyday life, and in particular, investing.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chaordix Parent Company Cambrian House Continues to Strengthen Its Board

Calgary, Canada, November 21, 2009 --( Cambrian House is further strengthening its board with the addition of James Schwinn, Founder of Aixecar Incorporated. James contributes more than 20 years of experience in international structured finance and capital markets. His financial expertise and broad experience serving global enterprises complements existing Board strengths in technology commercialization, B2B delivery, strategic partnerships, corporate development and business leadership.

As Founder of Aixecar, James applies particular expertise in the areas of shelter finance, credit and capital structuring and restructuring, securitization and sustainable economics. Aixecar offers advisory, platform development and transaction management services to municipalities, urban planners, financial institutions and socially responsible developers involved in property and community development.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Music Short Showcases Crowdsourced Animation

Animated short film Live Music looks as slick as anything produced by Pixar or DreamWorks, but there’s one key difference between it and a product from the big studios: Many of the animators who contributed to Live Music have never done professional animation work before.

With dozens of animators pitching in through a specially built Facebook application, the slick clip from the crowdsourcing specialists at Mass Animation is a rare “art by committee” success story.

“The entire project was run off of our Facebook app,” said director-producer Yair Landau, who started Mass Animation after he quit Sony Pictures Animation.
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Andy Awards' 'Crowdsourced' Jury Is Revealed

The results of the "Elect the Jury" contest are in, and the final list for the 2010 International Andy Awards has some new names, such as graphic designer Shepard Fairey, among those already well familiar on the industry awards show circuit.

Andy co-chairmen Ty Montague, co-president, CCO of JWT North America, and Michael Lebowitz, founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, said, while the process may not have been perfect, they were pleased with the results of what they described as an "experiment" for the first awards show to turn the selection process over to the community.

"I'm really proud of the results," said Lebowitz, who pointed to jury members selected like Fairey and Vivian Rosenthal, co-founder of digital design house Tronic Studios, who may not otherwise have been selected to judge an advertising awards show.

In addition to Fairey and Rosenthal, the 25 judges are:
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Crowdsourced marketing: Homemade horror makes $100,000,000 at the box office

Produced for $15,000. Filmed in the director’s own home. Championed by the people. Paranormal Activity has become the the most profitable film ever at the world box-office. The movie’s quietly-scary director Oren Peli tells DONALD CLARKE how public screaming at a public screening convinced DreamWorks to give it a major release.

Paramount, DreamWorks’ corporate overlords, returned to the old practice of a small initial release and then cleverly stoked a “grass-roots” campaign demanding that the film be expanded. Eventually, a website was set up that allowed punters to register their desire for Paranormal Activity to be granted a national roll-out. When the number of requests reached one million, the company would, it said, reluctantly comply with this, ahem, spontaneous crusade. A mere one million? Did Dr Evil come up with these figures? The figure was, of course, surpassed in double-quick time.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crowdsourcing Social Networks to Inform Public Policy

Six Apart co-founder Anil Dash plans to reinvent the way the government listens to its citizens. We’re not talking about wiretapping. Rather, he wants to solicit expert opinions on scientific matters through a new social network belonging to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Expert Labs. Dash pumped his idea Wednesday afternoon during a keynote address at the Web 2.0 conference in New York.
The blogging pioneer, whose company runs the, Movable Type, TypePad and Vox platforms, will direct the new organization, which will not be part of the government. Expert Labs will be funded by a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science journal.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crowdsourcing: Facebook users can help Chase find small charities

NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase is letting Facebook users help decide how to give away $5 million.

The idea is to get small, local charities on Chase's radar — ones that don't have the operating budget to go around asking for grants but do a lot of good work in their communities.

The "Chase Community Giving" program will let Facebook users choose from more than half a million charities that have an operating budget of less than $10 million apiece. Examples include the Children's Diabetes Foundation in Denver, the East Bay Habitat for Humanity in Oakland, Calif., and the Montana Connection For Afghan Women in Bozeman, Mont.

The Chase program is not the first time a company has asked Facebook users to vote on its charitable dollars. But it is the first time that they can nominate charities that the giver likely hasn't even heard of.

"We are moving from a centralized way of philanthropic giving to the wisdom of friends," said Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications.

The 100 charities getting the most votes by Dec. 11 will each receive $25,000 from Chase.
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Kimberly Davis, senior vice president, Global Philanthropy and president of the JPMorgan
Chase Foundation

Chase Community Giving $5,000,000
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Crowd funding start up begins to franchise their business model to entrepreneurs

Pledge Based Crowd-funding Startup business for Sale...

Road-tested as "", the team-funding platform is now being offered for sale. The system covers markets from mobile phone app creation to book publishing software.

Christchurch, New Zealand (PRWEB) November 18, 2009 -- After being proven for over a year as an online service for team-funding open source software, the platform is now available for sale as a custom business tool based on social commerce.

To explain crowd-funding simply, a user could plug in $10 and fund a $4000 diary app for their mobile phone. How? Because 400 other users also put in $10 and together they paid for its development. The service allows users to fund the software they like, but only pay when they see results.

Collaborative funding tools are badly needed tool in various areas of intangible products: software, rights to copy, and so on. But cost-sharing also has application in many more traditional markets such as the not-for-profit sector which often lags behind in employing technology.

Berwyn Hoyt, the inventor of the concept, says, "This is the first time we are offering our platform in a form that really amounts to a startup business opportunity for other businesses. We've gone from being a startup to enabling startups."

There's a lot in this little nut. It can simultaneously provide funding, market testing, and a sales channel, not to mention driving traffic to your website.

The crowd-funding platform was developed by Brush Technology, a small web and software development firm in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is one of a number of e-commerce business websites that they have developed. Brush Technology services are available to extend or integrate the funding platform into other businesses and payment systems.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crowdsourced cartography in PublicEarth, OpenStreetMap

Wikipedia killed the encyclopedia business, in print and online, as it's hard to make a revenue model work that involves paying people to create content when there are hordes of enthusiastic experts around the world willing to do the job for free. The business of mapping may be similarly doomed, as indicated by PublicEarth, a new wiki-style database of places launching Monday, and by the continued improvement in authoring tools at the crowdsourced mapping service OpenStreetMap.
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If Iran launches a chemical attack on USA soil - crowdsourcing will save us!

Cell phone sensor aims to crowd source chemical attack information

NASA scientists have developed a new chemical sensor that allows iPhones to identify low airborne concentrations of chemicals including ammonia, chlorine gas and methane.

The postage-stamp sized chemical sensor was developed by Jing Li, a Physical Scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. The project was developed with other researchers as part of Homeland Security's Cell-All program, which was created to put more mobile sensors in the hands of every cell phone user.

The sensor works by using a puff from a sample jet that helps sense any airborne chemicals. Information from the sensor is then processed by a silicon chip with 16nano-sensors and then sent to another phone or computer through any Wi-Fi or telecom network.

The sensor, it is hoped, could be used to alert first responders to the presence of a chemical agent stemming from an accident or attack. The device would work even if the cell phone user loses consciousness from the chemical's presence.

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Crowdsourcing Comedy on Amazon Reviews

Every now and then, something for sale on seems so monumentally stupid that it inspires a spontaneous community comedy festival. One person after another leaves phony reviews, each more heartfelt and over-the-top than last, sardonically praising the Amazon item for its astonishing, life-changing abilities. Perfect strangers, entertaining each other in the comments, laughing their heads off—until Amazon gets wind of the stunt and shuts it down.

Well, don’t look now, but it’s happening again. Actually, DO look now, because it probably won’t be there long.

This time, the item for sale is the AutoExec WM-01 Wheelmate Steering Wheel Desk Tray. As the ad says: “Easily convert your car into your personal automobile office!” For $25, you get a plastic shelf that clips onto your car’s steering wheel “for easy access to a writing and drink storage surface.”

I mean, has there ever been an idea so dangerous, so impractical? That’s the question underlying some of the hilarious phony reviews. Some excerpts:

* (one-star review) “Imagine my surprise when I made a left hand turn and not only spilled my plate of ham, but I now have a nasty red mark on my face from being slapped in the head by the desk, which turns along with the steering wheel. I wrote a letter to the company and they did offer me a new ham.”
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Crowdsourcing Just Another Word for “Contest”?

Ever wanted to get a jump-start on your design or development business but your portfolio lacked the bite needed to close the deal or even generate interest? Ever wish you could just show a project lead what you can do for them? Crowdsourcing maybe the answer you’re looking for to get the projects you want without having an impressive portfolio.

Crowdsourcing Design (or Development) is basically when a project is outsourced to an undefined group, which could range from a select few to an entire industry, and most likely includes various experience levels. There are some pretty popular websites where you can try to make money selling your design (or skill) based on the project description or direction. These are a few:

* 99Designs, crowdSpring – Web/Graphic/Brand Design
* Spudaroo – Business Plans, Resumes and Content Creation
* PopTent, OpenAd.Net, Zooppa – Advertising
* NameThis – Brand Name Identity
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ChargeCar: ‘Crowdsourcing’ tomorrow’s electric car

The ChargeCar project website is using crowdsourcing to gather data — that is, it asks site visitors to provide data on their own commutes so researchers can develop a large database of real-life commuting information.

The purpose of ChargeCar isn’t to develop new vehicles, but to assemble a knowledgebase that can be used to convert gas-powered cars using existing technology. The researchers, for example, are working with auto mechanics in Pittsburgh to develop community-level expertise in vehicle conversion, as well as a set of conversion “recipes.”
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Gary Hamel’s Management 2.0 : Outrunning Change - the CliffsNotes Version, Part II

Extract: [Multiply the sources of funding for new initiatives. In most companies there is a monopsony for new ideas. (You’ll remember that a monopsony is one buyer and a monopoly, one seller). All too often there’s only one place for an employee with a cool new idea to go for funding—up the chain of command. If the project doesn’t dovetail with the boss’ priorities or prejudices, it won’t get funded. This paucity of funding sources squelches innovation. As an analogy, imagine what would happen to innovation in Silicon Valley if there were only one venture capital firm. It’s not unusual for a would-be entrepreneur to get turned down half a dozen times before finding a willing investor—yet in most companies, it takes only one nyet to kill a project stone dead. The solution here isn’t an internal venture fund or incubator. That doubles the number of funding sources, but doesn’t go far enough. In a large company, there will be hundreds of people who have a discretionary budget of more than $100,000 per year. Imagine giving each of these individuals permission to invest 2 or 5% of their budget in any project that seems promising. Suddenly internal entrepreneurs would have dozens of “angel” investors they could tap for funding, and no longer could a single reactionary deep six a new idea. To be nimble, a company must have a resource allocation process that is more Silicon Valley than Soviet Union.]

Extract: [Honor resilience-friendly values. The Internet is the most adaptable thing human beings have ever created. From Google to Craigslist to Digg, and from YouTube to Flickr to Facebook, the Web has morphed in ways that few of us would have imagined a decade ago. It has also spawned a host of amazing new social technologies, including crowdsourcing, folksonomies, opinion markets, wikis, mash-ups and tweets.]
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Crowdsourcing at Heart of New Fashion Site:

The fashion industry is jumping into the crowdsourcing fray with the launch of JUSTPROUD, a community-driven fashion brand that will enable members to contribute to the design, the modeling of clothes and the photographs for eventual ad campaigns.
Developed by California-based Ballsmedia, the portal is true to the collaborative concept of crowdsourcing - which is based on the premise of an idea or product developed by and voted on by community members: JUSTPROUD members will vote on the contributions with the most popular designs produced and the most popular models and photographers chosen.

This site is available in eight different languages and will have the first items ready for co-development and sale by January, 2010.

Trend to Watch
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Victors and Spoils the new crowdsourcing ad agency gets a crowdsourced logo from crowdspring

Victors and Spoils, the new crowdsourcing agency has chosen its final logo from its crowdsourcing competition on Onward and upward! I kinda liked the pirate one with overtones of Empire of The Sun meets Somalia pirates...but this looks great...power to the people, no kidding...
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Own Pabst Brewing--But Who Gets to Be CEO?

I. Love. This. Concept. Crowdsourcing that actually means something. Recently, there was the We Own GM effort by Harry Webber. Now, agencies The Ad Store and Forza Migliozzi, llc. are pooling resources to look for enough people to buy Pabst Brewing Company on Buy A Beer Company. Total cost: $300 million. Minimum contribeertions start at $5. Other crowdsource membership pledge levels include Six Pack Membership ($25.00), Case membership ($100.00) or the Brewmeister level of $250,000.00. Dorito-lovin', Super Bowl commercial havin' brands, listen up, you started it. This is the double-edged sword that is crowdsourcing. After all, consumers "own" social media, AM I RIGHT? What's more social than beer! I woulda crowdsourced the logo though. I KID.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crowdsourcing: Outsourcing on steroids

Large creative agencies are watching this space with avid interest. Although many fear crowd sourcing will do them out of a job, others will see it as a way to source great ideas at a fraction of the cost of the traditional agency model.
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Crowdsourced: Who's on First?

Crowdsourcing agencies didn't seem at all flummoxed when former Crispin guys John Winsor and Evan Fry and Massive founder Claudia Batten announced that they'd launched the "The world's first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles." Probably because they all do different things, and being "first" isn't important, unless you're America and the year is 1969. But various commenters and blogs have bemoaned the agency's "first" claim. Naturally, we're hopping on board to list a bit of what we know. First, a short list of companies operating on the crowdsourcing model:
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Channel 4 News turns to crowdsourcing for new website

LONDON - Channel 4 is launching a website that aims to draw up a picture of who is connected to whom in British society, partly relying on crowdsourced information.

Who Knows Who launches today and aims to reveal the connections between politicians, business leaders and other well-known figures, in a bid to show where the real power lies in the UK

— and possibly generate some scoops for 'Channel 4 News' in the process from gossipy toffs wanting to spill the beans on their rivals.

It uses as its starting point the connections between former members of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford University. Channel 4 focused on the activities of members in the docu-drama 'When Boris Met Dave'.

The site will be expanded by the team at 'Channel 4 News', as well as drawing on information from third-party sites including The primary means of building it, however, will be by developing a community of users who can suggest relationships to investigate.

Vicky Taylor, commissioning editor at Channel 4 New Media, said: "Our ultimate goal is to build the biggest network of connections in the UK. We have currently mapped around 6,000 connections but we aim to multiply that many times over.
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Bookmark and Share Pushes Benefits Of Crowdsourcing

A million strangers could benefit a company more than a handful of highly trained employees, at least if you subscribe to the concept of crowdsourcing...Chiarella summarised the advantages of crowdsourcing as follows:

* No Contract Negotiation: The company can make it clear up-front that workers will only be paid on satisfactory completion of the task at hand.

* Variable Cost Staffing: With crowdsourcing, Chiarella said, “If there’s no work in the system, you’re not paying workers; if you have work, you can suddenly scale up to 900 workers.”

* No Recruiting: Crowdsourcing drives down the need for recruiting overhead.

* Pay for Performance Model: A simple pay structure based on a set amount of payment for a set task.

* No Facilities Management: The crowd working off personal PCs and networks will translate into no overhead for facilities.

* No Training Lead Time: found that crowdsourcing freelancers had a tendency to train each other. When its Kindle e-reader device was first released, freelancers started a Wiki of helpful material to order to help the support community solve customer issues.

* Geo-Political Diversity: Having workers dispersed around the world also allows work to be transferred fluidly within the system, should a bank holiday or natural disaster in one part of the world effectively shut down a country.

* Scale Up/Down Instantly: Some days, needs the crowd to “scrub” a flood of user reviews and other tasks; some days, the number of tasks is low. In either case, by utilising the crowd, the company can meet the daily work demand without having either too many or too few actual staff.

* Speed: The crowd performs task in parallel, reducing the amount of time necessary to reach a goal. By way of example, Chiarella cited the case of NASA, which released an application through its Website for counting meteor strikes in 88,000 images of Mars. That computation would have taken a NASA scientist two years, but the crowd completed it in a month, with no loss in accuracy.
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Quitting Hollywood for Crowdsourcing: Former Sony Exec Brings Animation to the People

It’s not just broadband distribution that’s undergoing a seismic shift. The former head of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment Yair Landau thinks he can revolutionize production on the web by crowdsourcing a five-minute animated short. The goal: beat the astronomical production costs that burden the majors and give upstart animators a chance in the big leagues. It’s a bold experiment for a small studio looking to compete with the majors. What kind of a guy quits his job to crowdsource a film short from Facebook users around the world? At Sony 17 years, Landau earned a reputation as a progressive thinker
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InnoCrowding Group to Deliver Chaordix(TM) Crowdsourcing Solutions

Crowdsourcing service leader selects Chaordix to strengthen its open innovation service offering to Italian companies. CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 12, 2009 — With global demand for crowdsourcing in multiple languages and geographical markets increasing, Chaordix has formed a new partnership with InnoCrowding Group, a leading service provider in crowd-based innovation, to deliver advanced crowdsourcing technology.
Chaordix helps organizations apply crowdsourcing for purposes including generating ideas for new products or services, predicting market reaction, enhancing brand relevance, performing tasks, fundraising and engaging a crowd to develop research, technology, policy and product solutions. Chaordix crowdsourcing platform equips organizations to harness crowds including the broad public, employees, consumers and other stakeholders. Participants submit, refine and rank contributions that organizations can then apply to better perform. “Europe, and in particular Italy, is made up of small and medium enterprises that require flexibility, customization, adaptation, and localization in how they apply crowdsourcing,” said Dr. Alexander M. Orlando, InnoCrowding Group’s CEO. “Chaordix flexible features are a great addition to our portfolio of innovation enablers(SM). The Italian public administration, universities, and private enterprises have welcomed the utilization of a culturally tailored open innovation platform.” “We particularly value the specialized multilingual translation and localization services InnoCrowding offers to help us reach global markets,” said Shelley Kuipers, Chaordix President & CEO.
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Spot.Us Delivers Crowdfunding to The New York Times

[UPDATE: Comments by New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt and Spot.Us Director David Cohn have been added to the bottom of this post.] The New York Times published half of a very good story this morning -- Lindsey Hoshaw's account of her visit to the massive patch of garbage floating in the Pacific. In an italicized note, the Times hinted at the rest of the story: "Travel expenses were paid in part by readers of Spot.Us, a nonprofit Web project that supports freelance journalists." As Hoshaw was raising money for the story this summer, both the Times and Spot.Us made a point of insisting that the roles played by both organizations did not, collectively, represent any kind of collaboration. Spot.Us would help raise money for the trip, they said, and the Times would consider the story for publication.
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Tony Robbins Crowdsources his website on crowdspring!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2010: Flash, Crowdsourcing, Info-Art

As 2010 fast approaches, digital marketers are gearing up for yet another year of changes that will incorporate both the transformational and the incremental.

From the economy's influence on the burgeoning "do-it-yourself" culture to an increasing reliance on collective wisdom, information-based art, and remote computing, digital experts at Last Exit (via MarketingCharts) have put together the following list of top digital marketing trends they believe will play out in the year ahead.

8. Crowd Sourcing: Across many industries and organizations, crowd sourcing will become a growing tool as part of various outsourcing strategies. Organizations will mobilize the passionate special-interest groups to not only carry a message but also to lead and take part in activities on their behalf. From political canvassing to software development, from people journalism to environmental activism, expect to see huge growth in crowdsourcing models provoked and led, in large part, by digital social media strategies.
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Is Victors & Spoils being truthful on crowdsourcing?

We want to open this up with a statement from Adhack (taken from the comments below)

And to make it more clear, a bunch of crowdsourcing startups also existing prior to Victors & Spoils. I know because I’m 1 of 3 people in an office doing it at AdHack ( Another is Genius Rocket.

Today Victors and Spoils have issued a press release stating that they are.. well the first agency that is built on crowdsourcing.

About Victors & Spoils
Victors & Spoils is the first advertising agency built on crowdsourcing principles, with both curation and direction. Co-Founders John Winsor, Claudia Batten and Evan Fry launched Victors & Spoils as a strategic alternative to
the current advertising landscape and as a marketing partner in crowdsourcing that offers the strategic direction, engagement and relationship management that brands rely on their agencies to provide. Victors & Spoils is located in
Boulder, Colorado. For more information, visit:

Now the problem is that we have found at least 15 agencies that have stated the same thing many of them dating back nearly 1/2 a decade...
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Crowdsourcing = Disruption - Discuss: The Scary Economics of Crowdsourcing

One of the emerging phenomena associated with Web 2.0 — and one of the themes of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, which I'm here in San Francisco to attend today and tomorrow — is the notion of 'crowdsourcing'. This is the use of the Web to find people to complete work projects through an open competitive auction process. Dion Hinchcliffe had a long post on its relevance to enterprise here on ebizQ a few weeks ago and as I read through and explored some of the links I started to find it all rather scary...Wired magazine recently carried an article about a company that is harnessing crowdsourcing with automation and intelligent algorithms to build a multi-million dollar business. The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell has some very scary passages, such as...
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crowd Control Is turning to the masses for creative input a quick fix or the way of the future?

Crispin Porter + Bogusky recently ignited an online debate and protest campaign on Twitter when it crowdsourced the design of a product logo for Brammo, an electric motorcycle start-up. Criticism mostly focused on the high-end agency taking such a low-cost route, as well as its putting creative into the hands of outsiders when experts were not just available, but the very ones passing it off. For Brammo, crowdsourcing was more than just a way to stretch its budget. "We wanted to blur the line between [who works for Brammo] and [our] products," says Brian Wismann, the company's director of product development. "And it created its own buzz." Crowdsourcing creative -- which includes user-generated contests, and receiving input on briefs and designs -- is an increasingly popular option for marketers that want to add a consumer-engagement punch to their campaigns. It's also controversial. Detractors call it gimmicky, say it encourages low-quality creative, and eschews strategic thinking and relationship management. But love it or hate it, this much seems clear: Not only is crowdsourcing here to stay, it's picking up steam.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Victors & Spoils Launches First Advertising Agency Built on Crowdsourcing Principles

It was only a matter of time! BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- John Winsor, Claudia Batten and Evan Fry today announced the launch of a new advertising agency, Victors & Spoils, the world's first creative ad agency built on crowdsourcing principles. Crowdsourcing is the act of digitally delegating a task to a crowd of people or community that passionately participates in developing a solution. The new agency will provide businesses with creative solutions to their marketing, advertising and product-design problems, by engaging their customers, as well as a creative department made up of the world's most talented people. Perceived crowdsourcing flaws will be addressed through world-class creative direction delivered through the use of the reputation-ranked Victors & Spoils crowd. Winsor will serve as Victors & Spoils' Chief Executive Officer, Batten assumes the role of Chief Operating Officer and Fry comes on as Chief Creative Officer, effective immediately. Victors & Spoils represents a fresh agency model that offers brands an alternative to ad agencies and current crowdsourcing platforms by offering the strategic direction, engagement and relationship management that brands rely upon their agencies to provide, as well as delivering the engagement, return on investment and results that marketers seek from crowdsourced solutions.
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