Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mobile OS maker is using crowdsourced ideas to improve the wireless industry--and its own image.

Virtually everyone has ideas on how cellphones, mobile applications and the wireless industry could be improved. But, as in many industries, these opinions aren't always heard or heeded by the companies that make these devices and services.

In October 2009, the Symbian Foundation, a nonprofit organization behind the world's most popular mobile operating system, set out to bridge this gap with an idea-generation Web site called Symbian Ideas. Utilizing a system that borrows features from Wikipedia, news aggregator and a Procter & Gamble ( PG - news - people ) site that solicits product ideas from consumers, the site has collected more than 800 ideas from hundreds of people. So far, the foundation, which counts AT&T ( T - news - people ), Nokia ( NOK - news - people ) and Sony ( SNE - news - people )Ericsson ( ERIC - news - people ) among its nearly 200 members, has adopted about 5%, or 40 of the suggestions.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can You Crowdsource Journalism? Seed is Trying

In what he hopes will be the first big demonstration of the “crowdsourcing” potential of AOL’s new service, former New York Times writer Saul Hansell says he is looking for writers who will write up interviews with all of 2,000 or so bands and artists at the SXSW music festival in Austin. The assignment will involve “real reporting,” Hansell said in an interview, in which writers will have to pick up the phone and call the band or artist and write up a 1,000-word interview in question-and-answer format, as well as a 300- to 500-word biography. The price for this assignment? The princely sum of $50.

Both Seed and similar web-based contract-writing services from Demand Media and Associated Content have come under fire from a number of critics who say they are primarily designed to generate low-quality, cheap content that contains just enough keywords to attract search-engine traffic, and therefore advertising. Hansell, however, who joined AOL in December as head of programming at Seed, says that what he is trying to do is to figure out how to “deploy human intelligence at scale,” and that it is much more than just an effort to generate “the lowest-common denominator of SEO-friendly pages.”
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Crowdsourcing is Broken: How to Fix It

New business models, "mini crowds", and self-respect could mean online communities thrive so client and creative talent benefit alike.The opportunity to tap the power of the crowd has spawned a whole regime of companies that promise to break down barriers and unlock the potential of the masses. But beneath this recent trend lie major fundamental flaws.
Don't get me wrong. This is not another whining diatribe against the perils of crowdsourcing. But without new business models and core principles that leverage these forces in a way that empowers its participants, the opportunity is likely to implode. Those involved need to innovate and start harnessing the crowd in more mutually beneficial (and thus sustainable) ways.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How To Crowdsource from the Cloud

Crowdsourcing is the outsourcing of work to a large community of people. The size and quality of Wikipedia and open source projects like Linux and Wordpress are a testament to what crowdsourcing can accomplish.

But what if you do not have a community ready to show up for work? Luckily there are Web services like Mechanical Turk and LiveWorks that can help broker tasks with people who will do them for money.

Amazon's Mechanical Turk allows you to integrate a human being into your application or business process to do work that computer programs traditionally find difficult. Amazon describes work units as:

A Human Intelligence Task, or HIT. A question that needs an answer. A HIT represents a single, self-contained task that a worker can work on, submit an answer, and collect a reward for completing.

For example, if you need to check that user uploaded photographs are not offensive, you can integrate your application with the Mechanical Turk API to submit a HIT for each piece of content that is uploaded. The HIT would require a worker to decide whether the photograph was offensive or not. Each worker who performs a HIT by submitting their judgment call would earn a fee. You decide the fee a worker will earn each time a HIT is done. If you set the fee too low, then you will find it difficult to attract workers to do your task.

Once a Mechanical Turk Worker (a Turker) submits a HIT, the requester can approve or reject the result. These results contribute to the worker's reputation. Mechanical Turk supports restricting the pool of workers who are eligible to work on HITS using worker attributes such as their language skills or their geographic region.

In contrast, LiveWork takes a different approach to getting work done. LiveWork is more suitable to organizations that are looking for a longer lasting relationship with workers, or where the work is more complex than answering a question. LiveWork provides a list of workforces you can hire. Workforces may be an individual or a team who offer different services and rates - often negotiable. Work is not submitted via an API, but rather described via a Project mechanism similar to freelancing sites like eLance and Rent-a-Coder. Once projects are underway, bulk tasks can be created via an upload mechanism. For example you may upload a CSV file containing many sales calls for a workforce make.

The LiveWork site also maintains workforce reputations via ratings, but also via written reviews - a clear indication that tasks require more engagement between client and worker.

The two services provide very different approaches to outsourcing work. LiveWork focuses on building a flexible extension to your business whereas Mechanical Turk facilitates very brief encounters with no enduring client and worker relationship.
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China says no to crowdsourcing one internet USA foreign policy.

The emerging Chinese view (which has been longer established as the Castro government's view of the Internet in Cuba) is that while Internet protocol is a useful technological invention, the actual content on the Internet tends to be too heavily American and often incompatible with the type of society it seeks to create. China isn't prepared to crowdsource to the world the information its citizens take in. On that point, the Washington Post's Steven Mufson cites the pro-government Global Times as saying that "countries disadvantaged by the unequal and undemocratic information flow have to protect their national interest, and take steps toward this." (The Global Times also uses the term "the Google farce" as a descriptor in its reported pieces.) A Chinese blogger quoted by Mufson puts it more plainly, saying "The attitude of the U.S. is so arrogant. Clinton mentioned one Internet. Actually, it's the Internet of the United States."
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Waze has enlisted 500,000 users for its crowdsourced driving app

Waze, the company that offers driving directions based on crowdsourced data, is revealing some specific numbers to illustrate its progress. The company just shared its users numbers and also announced its first deal with a map provider.

The company first launched its mobile application in Israel, then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond last year. (It’s based in Israel and Palo Alto.) Now it has 500,000 users, who contribute to Waze’s data by leaving the application open on their GPS-enabled phones as they drive, feeding map and traffic information back to the application. 5,000 users are more active, making edits to the various maps, and 550 users even more active than that, working as area managers who oversee the editing.

Waze now has maps in 85 countries, chief executive Noam Bardin said. 70 percent of the application’s traffic is coming from the United States, while 19 percent comes from Italy — the dominance of the US makes sense, but Bardin had a harder time explaining why Italy has taken off so strongly
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Monday, January 25, 2010

How to empower entrepreneurs through crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing has been a growing trend and its a wonderful way to find new volunteers. There are a variety of different types of crowd-sourcing that fit almost any need that a nonprofit might have. Recently, National Association of Federal Credit Union leveraged a crowd-sourcing group to help launch advertisements to promote its nonprofit branches across the US.
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Crowdsourcing talent for tourism.

Judging is now taking place on submitted entries for New Zealand's "Your Big Break"...Lord of The Rings Director Peter Jackson is currently judging talent for tourism. The subject of the film is: CAPTURING THE SPIRIT OF 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND - THE YOUNGEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.

You need to think of a script, an idea and a scenario that brings that statement to life. Remember, you need to be able to produce your idea on a reasonably limited budget and you need to be able to tell your story in exactly three minutes.The location for your filming is New Zealand. Specifically, the spectacular Queenstown area in the South Island. New Zealand was the last country on earth that any human ever set foot on. Therefore it stayed pure and green and uninhabited longer than any other place on earth. You can explore this insight further and find out more facts and observations about the Youngest Country by exploring the contents and links on this site. There are obviously a number of ways you could capture the essence of this statement. For example, it could be about the young attitude of the country – what it’s like to be a teenage country amongst the continental grandparents. It could be about the land itself – a place that still has active volcanoes and powerful geothermal activity (although not in the Queenstown area). The area for shooting, Queenstown, is also known as the adventure capital of the world.

This is not about making a commercial for New Zealand - you can take any angle on this you wish. You might take it from a personal perspective of being there for perhaps the first time, you might see it through the eyes of a visitor, or a local or purely from the natural surroundings you discover. It might be funny, sad, evocative, exciting, shocking or simply beautiful.

Remember: Your film will first be judged on the power of the idea but it will also be judged on practicalities, which are detailed below. You will need to keep in mind your timing and resource constraints when creating the idea and this will play an important part in deciding which ideas make it through to production.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Opposite of Crowdsourcing: HelloMusic Launches

HelloMusic, a new online music venture that seeks greater awareness for undiscovered artists, announced it raised $4 million in funding from KVG Partners. The site, at, launched on Friday.

The company was created by Wilshire Media Group, a digital music product design and development firm founded by Zack Zalon and Brendon Cassidy. Zalon and Cassidy were early employees of, the short-lived online record label co-founded by Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris. Later, Zalon was president and Cassidy the CTO of Virgin Digital.

Web sites and companies that act as springboards for unheralded artists are plentiful and, often, well funded. Zack Zalon, a managing partner at Wilshire, says the company differentiates itself because of the human element in the screening process. "We don't believe algorithms work," he said. "They don't. We don't think crowdsourcing works. It doesn't. I think you have to have a pair of ears and quality does matter."

In effect, HelloMusic acts as both a filter and a traffic manager, placing good music with partners such as Yahoo! Music and Getty Images.

Here's how it works: An unsigned artists (a limited number in the early stage) sign up and upload songs. Screeners, each well versed in specific genres, listen to every track, rate them and make note of opportunities with HelloMusic's partners. The company is limiting the number of invites in stage one. More users will be allowed to use the service when stage two commences in a few months.

A number of partnerships are in place on the launch date. Qualifying tracks have the option of being licensed through AudioMicro and Getty Images. Top tracks will be added to programming at Web radio service Slacker and Yahoo! Music. Artists will also have access to the services of booking site GigMaven, lyric search engine LyricFind, marketing platform Topspin, digital distributor TuneCore (with a "significant discount"), tech platform MediaNet and music analytics firm Next Big Sound.
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Chase Crowdsources Non-Profit Donations to Facebook Users

Today is the last day of the second round of Chase Community Giveaway Campaign on Facebook. Chase Financial Services – a giant financial conglomerate, started a community giveaway campaign on Facebook in November last year. As part of the campaign, Chase would give away $5 million to charities. The voting ends today and soon enough the top charity, which will receive $1 million, will be announced.

Chase launched the campaign as a Facebook application which contained a list of 500,000 nonprofit organizations. The bank then crowd sourced the selection of the charities to Facebook users. In the first round, which ended on Dec 11, 2009, the top 100 charities (selected by users) won $25,000 each and advanced into the second round. The second round lasted this entire week and would determine which charity would get the top price of $1 million. The five runners-up in the second and last round will also each receive $100,000.

More than 1.7 million Facebook users participated in the first round to vote and vouch for their favorite non-profit organizations. These numbers, however have dropped to around 1.5 million users in the second round – but that might be due to the elimination of a large number of organizations in the first round.

The idea to crowd source philanthropic donations is not new and was first initiated by American Express in 2007. Back in those days, Digg and Reddit were the frontrunners in institutionalizing the concepts of crowd sourcing news discovery and editorial. American Express borrowed the crowd sourcing concepts from these social news sites and launched the Members Project – which donated $5 million to charities selected by AmEx card members.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interview: Paul Bradshaw, of UK Crowdsourced Journalism Project Help Me Investigate

Recently we interviewed David Cohn, a Bay Area entrepreneur who is experimenting with crowdfunded investigative journalism (journalism funded by small donations from a wide base of people) with his website Back over this side of the pond is Birmingham City University senior lecturer Paul Bradshaw, who is approaching the current difficulties in investigative journalism in a similar but crucially different way with his site Help Me Investigate. Rather than crowdfunding, he’s crowdsourcing investigative stories - pooling the efforts of ordinary people to look into issues which affect them, and helping resource-strapped journalists to research time-consuming and complex stories. It comes at a time when investigative journalism is highly valued by the British public - witness the reaction to the MP’s expenses scandal, broken by Heather Brooke, who is part of the Help Me Investigate Team - but struggling to find funding amid a time of great media upheaval. We recently spoke to Paul about the project.
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Crowdsourcing Spreads Itself Even More: 12designer Offers Now Advertising Texts

Berlin, Germany, January 21, 2010. After more than half a year online as a design platform, 12designer wanted to open the new year with new challenges and possibilities for our creative community. The undeniable success of their recently created category (Naming, which shall be known as the possibility of finding the perfect name for a new company or product), has inspired a logic evolution. Under the new denomination “Communication and concepts”, 12designer evolves to offer claims and slogans' creation, and therefore, be a huge creativity portal, not just for design.

By now, around 50 companies have already trusted in 12designer to find the perfect name for their new commercial adventure, with excellent results. The obvious evolution is to offer to those same companies the whole corporate branding process: a good starting point with a good name, and then a pretty visualization thru a logo, and then a firm strategic positioning in the market with a slogan or a corporate claim.

Eva Missling, CEO and 12designer founder: “This widening of creative spectrum was requested directly by our users. We've already got in the German version of 12designer a project, in which every content was made thru our website, even texts and descriptions. Now it is possible to find at 12designer every creative subject needed in a company's marketing communication: naming, logo, little creative texts, flyer and webdesign...”

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No cash, no credit, no movie...try crowdsourcing

A new category at this year's Sundance Film Festival pays homage to a style of filmmaking that's grown even more popular during the recession: creativity sans cash. Dubbed "Next," the section spotlights six features cobbled together on low or no budgets.

Struggling filmmakers have long relied on credit cards to finance their passion projects. But with consumer credit drying up, indie artists are having to find new ways to subsidize their works.

"Those people are in a terrible situation right now and are taking on second jobs to fund their films," says Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Feature Project, a nonprofit organization of independent filmmakers in New York...
With credit disappearing, aspiring auteurs are turning to new channels for financing.

At IndieGoGo, filmmakers solicit cash from the community. They can post clips, share their project goals and offer perks like party invites or T-shirts in exchange for donations. Boasting more than 10,000 members, the site currently showcases 2,300 projects and has raised nearly $200,000 for filmmakers. IndieGoGo takes a 9% cut of funds raised.

"Crowdfunding is a new and exciting channel for funding because it involves your audience from the beginning and allows you to build a fan base throughout the production of your film," says Danae Ringelmann, IndieGoGo's founder.

Another crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, is currently hosting a solicitation from the filmmakers of Bass Ackwards, a road-trip feature film that will premier at Sundance. The film's producer hopes to raise $50,0000 to fund a nationwide, multiplatform release of the film the day after Sundance ends.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CrowdFlower Raises $5 Million to Boost Crowdsourcing

Jobs today are notoriously hard to come by. But that’s only if you want to build cars. Or write for newspapers. Or sell mortgages.

But what if you don’t mind sitting at your computer for a few hours or even just a few minutes, reviewing online images and weeding out pictures that are pornographic or copyrighted? Or scrolling through databases of business listings and calling each number to verify that it is correct?

Those are two of the menial tasks that are part of the phenomenon known as crowdsourcing. That’s the process of taking jobs normally handled by internal employees and farming them out to hundreds or thousands of people across the Internet, including some in foreign countries who might get paid just a dollar an hour or less for their efforts.

Services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and LiveWork provide marketplaces where companies can tap this far-flung on-demand workforce. And since late 2007, CrowdFlower, a San Francisco company, has tried to make these marketplaces attractive to big companies by tracking and verifying online workers and closely monitoring the quality of their work.

On Wednesday, that start-up is announcing that it has raised $5 million Series A round of funding lead by the Silicon Valley venture capital firms Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture partners.
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Searching for gold: how to fund your indie video game

An increasingly popular option for independent developers blends the lines of venture capitalism with community support. Kickstarter, a "crowd-funding" website, provides the opportunity for site users to support "creative ideas and ambitious endeavors."

Logas discovered the site and is currently trying to raise the money necessary to stop working as a contract developer and sit down for two months to work on her untitled project.

"A friend of mine sent me a link to their buddy's Kickstarter page," Logas told Ars. "I saw what people were doing there and got incredibly excited. I had been planning on just self-funding the project, working on it on my 'free time.' Unfortunately for my future game, I have a family and am the primary breadwinner. There is no such thing as 'free time.' But I figured if I could fund my life for two months via Kickstarter, I wouldn't have to take on new contract work for those two months and could devote my life just to making this game. So that's what I'm trying to do."

Logas's proposed game is an ambitious one, which is why it's understandable she needs so much time to actually create it.

"The idea of the game came out of the desire to create the role-playing experience you have from a table-top role-playing game in a digital format. You begin by creating your character's personality, then as you move through the story you are presented with choices for actions that are appropriate to that personality. The actions you choose have far-reaching consequences in the game world and story. The game is a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, except that the choices you make are based on a personality that you create and have real consequences to the game world.

"The story itself takes place in a dark dreamlike world...
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Tories swallow Web 2.0, spit out £1m crowdsource prize

The Tories are waving a £1m taxpayer-funded crowdsourcing prize under the noses of developers to produce a website that can "harness the wisdom" of voters to "resolve difficult policy challenges".

According to shadow culture secretary and ex-tech PR man Jeremy Hunt, the prize money would be paid for out of Cabinet Office coffers, assuming - that is - the Tories win next year's General Election.

"This online platform will then be used by a future Conservative government to throw open the policy making process to the public, and harness the wisdom of the crowd so that the public can collaborate to improve government policy," he claimed.

Hunt said a Tory government would publish all Green Papers on the platform, allowing everyone to wax lyrical online to help shape policy.

“Conservatives believe that the collective wisdom of the British people is much greater than that of a bunch of politicians or so-called experts," said Hunt. "And new technology now allows us to harness that wisdom like never before."
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Posterous Jumps On The Revenue Wagon; Signs Coca-Cola for Promo Site

I’ve been following Posterous since it’s Y-Combinator days, and I’ve truly been impressed by the service. The way that Posterous has figured out how to bring email back to life is what amazes me (you just email in your posts and photos). But, I’ve always been confused about how Posterous will start making money. It seems these days that all the cool consumer web startups like Twitter and Posterous are having trouble actually figuring out the revenue side of things

So I asked Posterous co-founder Sachin Agarwal how Posterous will actually make money. His answer was simple. Charge for business and commercial use of Posterous...Coca-Cola’s use of Posterous revolves around the “post moderation” feature. Any Posterous site can be enabled so that anyone can email The site owner can then moderate those posts, and publish them with a single click. This feature can be used to crowdsource images, video, and text from users.
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Crowdsourcing the KDE Web Site

The KDE Project is taking a smart approach to reworking the KDE Website. Lydia Pintscher put out the call Sunday for contributors to pitch in with content and screenshots for one or more KDE programs by January 23rd.

KDE apps are broken down into three batches on the wiki. Contributors are asked to pick one (or more) apps and submit a screenshot, and basic information about a project such as its homepage, features, IRC channels, and so forth.

Maintaining a major Web site can be a lot of work, and this is one way to take some of the heavy lifting off the major contributors. Producing a single page is not too difficult, but the cumulative effort is quite a bit if only done by a few contributors.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

The end of the office... and the future of work We love to hate the workplace, but we’ll miss it when it’s gone

By the end of the month, a company called txteagle will be the largest employer in Kenya. The firm, started in its original form in 2008 by a young computer engineer named Nathan Eagle and, as of this coming June, based in Boston, will have 10,000 people working for it in Kenya. Txteagle does not rent office space for these workers, nor do the company’s officers interview them, or ever talk to most of them.
And, in a sense, the labor that the Kenyan workforce does hardly seems like work. The jobs - short stretches of speech to be transcribed or translated into a local dialect, search engine results to be checked, images to be labeled, short market research surveys to be completed - come in over a worker’s own cellphone and the worker responds either by speaking into the phone or texting back the answer. The workers can be anyone with a cellphone - a secretary waiting for a bus, a Masai tribesman herding cattle, a student between classes, a security guard on a slow day, or one of Kenya’s tens of millions of unemployed. The jobs take at most a few minutes and pay a few cents each (payment is sent by cellphone as well), but a dedicated worker can earn a few dollars a day in a part of the world where that is a significant sum...Malone believes that new forms of freelancing will help drive this change. Companies like iStockphoto (a stock photograph and image site containing the work of over 70,000 artists), Threadless (a T-shirt design company where anyone can submit designs and evaluate others), and Elance (an online source of skilled freelance labor) are models of companies where not just secondary jobs but the core function of the business is outsourced to a diffuse online workforce. All are helping connect client companies and freelance laborers to each other easily, without a traditional intermediary and with stricter standards than online marketplaces like Craigslist...
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Eyeka raises €3 million for crowd-sourcing ad campaigns

[France] Eyeka, which connects brands and creative consumers, has raised €3 million in a second round of financing. The company already had €5 million in backing in 2006 with Ventech, DN Capital and SFR Developpement, while the company was focused on a platform to enhance pictures and videos management from mobiles. For this new round, previous investors are joined by French VC I-Source. This new round is to accelerate their international development and develop new product. Essentially speaking it’s a platform for corwd-sourcing ad campaigns for ad agencies and brands.

Eyeka is one of the leaders in the new wave of the “consumer engagement” business, as it’s being called. They enable brands or agencies to leverage the creativity of Eyeka’s (more than 75,000) to create innovative and disruptive campaigns, while establishing direct links with them. Based on a brief, members are asked to create general videos or sometimes photos. The winner (the one selected by the agency or the brand) gets rewarded for creating the campaign that work.s Of course, this is a great way to get cheap creative executions, while sending a windfall of several thousands of euros to some lucky teenager that’s good with a video camera.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Rebel in Cyberspace, Fighting Collectivism

In 2006, the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier published an incisive, groundbreaking and highly controversial essay about “digital Maoism” — about the downside of online collectivism, and the enshrinement by Web 2.0 enthusiasts of the “wisdom of the crowd.” In that manifesto Mr. Lanier argued that design (or ratification) by committee often does not result in the best product, and that the new collectivist ethos — embodied by everything from Wikipedia to “American Idol” to Google searches — diminishes the importance and uniqueness of the individual voice, and that the “hive mind” can easily lead to mob rule.

Now, in his impassioned new book “You Are Not a Gadget,” Mr. Lanier expands this thesis further, looking at the implications that digital Maoism or “cybernetic totalism” have for our society at large. Although some of his suggestions for addressing these problems wander into technical thickets the lay reader will find difficult to follow, the bulk of the book is lucid, powerful and persuasive. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace.

Mr. Lanier, a pioneer in the development of virtual reality and a Silicon Valley veteran, is hardly a Luddite, as some of his critics have suggested. Rather he is a digital-world insider who wants to make the case for “a new digital humanism” before software engineers’ design decisions, which he says fundamentally shape users’ behavior, become “frozen into place by a process known as lock-in.” Just as decisions about the dimensions of railroad tracks determined the size and velocity of trains for decades to come, he argues, so choices made about software design now may yield “defining, unchangeable rules” for generations to come.

Decisions made in the formative years of computer networking, for instance, promoted online anonymity, and over the years, as millions upon millions of people began using the Web, Mr. Lanier says, anonymity has helped enable the dark side of human nature. Nasty, anonymous attacks on individuals and institutions have flourished, and what Mr. Lanier calls a “culture of sadism” has gone mainstream. In some countries anonymity and mob behavior have resulted in actual witch hunts. “In 2007,” Mr. Lanier reports, “a series of ‘Scarlet Letter’ postings in China incited online throngs to hunt down accused adulterers. In 2008, the focus shifted to Tibet sympathizers.”

Mr. Lanier sensibly notes that the “wisdom of crowds” is a tool that should be used selectively, not glorified for its own sake. Of Wikipedia he writes that “it’s great that we now enjoy a cooperative pop culture concordance” but argues that the site’s ethos ratifies the notion that the individual voice — even the voice of an expert — is eminently dispensable, and “the idea that the collective is closer to the truth.” He complains that Wikipedia suppresses the sound of individual voices, and similarly contends that the rigid format of Facebook turns individuals into “multiple-choice identities.”

Like Andrew Keen in “The Cult of the Amateur,” Mr. Lanier is most eloquent on how intellectual property is threatened by the economics of free Internet content, crowd dynamics and the popularity of aggregator sites. “An impenetrable tone deafness rules Silicon Valley when it comes to the idea of authorship,” he writes, recalling the Wired editor Kevin Kelly’s 2006 prediction that the mass scanning of books would one day create a universal library in which no book would be an island — in effect, one humongous text, made searchable and remixable on the Web.

“It might start to happen in the next decade or so,” Mr. Lanier writes. “Google and other companies are scanning library books into the cloud in a massive Manhattan Project of cultural digitization. What happens next is what’s important. If the books in the cloud are accessed via user interfaces that encourage mashups of fragments that obscure the context and authorship of each fragment, there will be only one book. This is what happens today with a lot of content; often you don’t know where a quoted fragment from a news story came from, who wrote a comment, or who shot a video.”

While this development might sound like a good thing for consumers — so much free stuff! — it makes it difficult for people to discern the source, point of view and spin factor of any particular fragment they happen across on the Web, while at the same time encouraging content producers, in Mr. Lanier’s words, “to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind.” A few lucky people, he notes, can benefit from the configuration of the new system, spinning their lives into “still-novel marketing” narratives, as in the case, say, of Diablo Cody, “who worked as a stripper, can blog and receive enough attention to get a book contract, and then have the opportunity to have her script made into a movie — in this case, the widely acclaimed ‘Juno.’ ” He fears, however, that “the vast majority of journalists, musicians, artists and filmmakers” are “staring into career oblivion because of our failed digital idealism.”

Paradoxically enough, the same old media that is being destroyed by the Net drives an astonishing amount of online chatter. “Comments about TV shows, major movies, commercial music releases, and video games must be responsible for almost as much bit traffic as porn,” Mr. Lanier observes. “There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but since the Web is killing the old media, we face a situation in which culture is effectively eating its own seed stock.”

In other passages in this provocative and sure-to-be-controversial book he goes even further, suggesting that “pop culture has entered into a nostalgic malaise,” that “online culture is dominated by trivial mashups of the culture that existed before the onset of mashups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media.”

Online culture, he goes on, “is a culture of reaction without action” and rationalizations that “we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm” are just that — rationalizations. “The sad truth,” he concludes, “is that we were not passing through a momentary lull before a storm. We had instead entered a persistent somnolence, and I have come to believe that we will only escape it when we kill the hive.”
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Innovation and the economy 2010

Participants including Spradlin, Dwayne President and CEOInnoCentive spoke about the state of the economy, economic and business innovation, and opportunities for growth. Among the topics they addressed were use of technologies, alternative energy uses, and health care. They also responded to questions from the audience.
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Multinational Search: Is Facebook A Global Threat To Google?

In December, Hitwise released data showing that the top Google search term of 2009 was “Facebook” having moved up from position number ten in the previous year. Hitwise also wrote that Facebook took the number one spot on Christmas Day—a claim Barry Schwartz later investigated...

..Both Google and Facebook have also used some form of crowdsourcing or volunteering to undertake localization for broader markets.

What this demonstrates is that if you have a great idea with global potential and you intend to go there,you’d better move early and fast because it’s very easy for local players to use your great idea and to become a threat to your own progress in your future roll out...
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Pepsi Backs Crowdsourcing and Social Media. No Super Bowl Commercial Will Yield Stronger ROI, Says AdHack

Why did Pepsi trade their $20-million Super Bowl commercial for a $20-million social media campaign? Because their Refresh Everything project promises a superior return on investment. Pepsi is banking on the combination of crowdsourcing and social media to extend the life of Pepsi’s ad dollars from 30 seconds in one day to a full year of engagement.

AdHack founder James Sherrett says Pepsi is making a smart move by shifting efforts away from Super Bowl commercials. Based on AdHack’s own "Super BALL" campaign during last year’s Super Bowl and the successes of crowdsourced ads from such companies as Doritos, Sherrett says that "the short window of promotional opportunity with a SuperBowl ad can really be extended by intensifying the volume of conversations throughout the ad production cycle, and by providing opportunities for fan engagement beyond the 30-second spot. That’s the market advantage that AdHack provides ad buyers who commission work from our community."
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The Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing a Marketing Campaign

Crowdsourcing is expected to be one of the top trends for marketers this year, according to the digital experts at Last Exit. The concept certainly resonates with cash strapped companies: tap an online community for ideas on how to advance a brand, or develop a product or, in many cases, both.

However as the concept gains traction thanks to success stories - Netflix developed a better prediction engine for films by offering $1 million to the public is just one (via Brandweek) - marketers should also be aware of its dark side.

Shifting Through the Deluge

Companies, especially top brands that offer big monetary rewards such as Netflix, will find themselves with a deluge of offers that may become more work than first realized, according to Jez Frampton, CEO of Interbrand (via Forbes). "It is the ability to select and profitably execute an idea that delivers greatest value to the organization. This supports the old adage that success is 5% inspiration, and 95% perspiration."
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