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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