Friday, July 21, 2006

Crowdsourcing

Paul Boutin recently wrote an article in BusinessWeek about crowdsourcing, a "business trend in which companies get unpaid or low-paid amateurs to design products, create content, even tackle corporate R&D problems in their spare time." Another word for crowdsourcing is co-creation.

Boutin gives an example:

The first, Threadless, is a Chicago-based T-shirt maker whose
design process consists entirely of an online contest. Each week the company
receives hundreds of submissions from amateur and professional artists.
Threadless posts these to its Web site, where anyone who signs up may give each
shirt a score. The four to six highest-rated designs each week are put into
production, but only after enough customers have pre-ordered the design to
ensure it won't be a money-loser.
In this example, contest winners receive prize money. Boutin points out, however, that customers are often not compensated for their co-creation efforts.

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