Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crowdsourcing Secrets

If you haven't taken a look at PostSecret, go. The project is billed as a community art project where people mail in their secrets on a postcard, hence the name PostSecret. The guy who started the project has put out two books full of secret postcards; the whole project is a beautiful representation of crowdsourcing. It's not the freshest news in the crowdsourcing world, but the site/blog is a good read.

In a similiar vein, Found magazine features items, notes, pictures, etc. that people have "found" and submitted to the ezine. I like the idea, but after looking at a few of the submissions, I found myself wondering how many of these "finds" were put together and scanned by a graphic artist. I found myself thinking, "fake," just as I do when I watch America's Funniest Home Videos....hey, why doesn't anyone ever give some props to AFHV as a pioneer of the crowdsourcing movement?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crowdsourced Kitties

A guy's in the airport, comes up with an idea for a book about cats, drops two task into crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk, and by the time he leaves the airport the responses are rolling in. Check out his blog to see how the project became a 38 page coffee table book at his blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crowdsourcing Flouride

Proctor & Gamble announced it will look to the crowd for the next tagline for the Crest toothpaste line. Beginning September 15th, interested individuals can submit a 10 word tagline via YouTube. Video? Sounds a bit gimmicky, but in true "World's Funniest Home Video" fashion, I am sure we will see a crowdsourced slew 0f taglines, lots of kittens, and plenty of cute little kids pitching the tagline.

More importantly, what are the long-term implications for the advertising industry? Will crowdsourcing compete with Saatchi and Saatchi for big-time ad budgets in the future? Doubtful, but take a look just down the creative road and witness the fracas that upstarts like Crowdspring and 99designs are creating in the graphic design industry. Without a doubt, ad industry professionals will start squawking about amateurs creating ads if we see a few more of these crowdsourcing experiments pop up.

Like my pappy used to tell me, Disruption's a bitch, ain't it?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spot Us: Crowdfunded Journalism

Spot Us is a non-profit organization that encourages community-funded journalism. Spot Us was chosen as a winner this week in the Knight News Challenge, taking home a $340,000 grant/prize.

Whats the scoop? With a focus on the community level, journalists and local residents will pitch stories, while Spot Us will seek funding from the crowd for potential stories. If enough funding is raised for a particular story, a journalist will be hired to cover the issue.

More information can be found at Green Crowdsourcing

I just watched the 10 minute video at the Carrotmob website and I was truly impressed at the creativity of this crowdsourcing effort. What do they do? Well, it's a mouthful, but here goes. Carrotmob organizes a swarm of consumers on some random morning to go shopping at a store that has agreed to put a specified portion of every purchase towards becoming a more environmentally-friendly store ( 22% of revenues towards greening the store in this case). Carrotmobbers purchased about $9k worth of product, enabling the participating business to totally redo their lighting system and make some upgrades to their refrigeration units. As well, the carrotmobbers donated 366 pounds of food to the SF Food Bank.

This is an interesting concept, it would be nice to see it fly.

Knewsroom: Turning on a Dime

I noticed the other day that Kluster, a crowdsourcing-based start-up, changed its business model. The new service from Kluster, called Knewsroom, is an crowdsourced - you guessed it- news service. Members submit topics and the crowd "invests" in what topic or story they feel is most newsworthy. If a story you invest in is featured in the next day's edition, you will earn Knewsroom currency based on the size of your original investment. If you create original content and the crowd deems it worthy, you can get paid $150 on a Mastercard debit card. The problem I see, very early on, is that the crowd seems to be investing heavily in the stories with the most votes. For instance, a story on ABC had 19 votes and a story on XYZ had 2 votes yesterday late in the voting day. With such a commanding lead by ABC, why even bother voting for XYZ?

I found a video on that features Kluster founder, Ben Kaufmann. He seems pretty open about the fact that Kluster burned through $1m in 7 weeks, requiring them to change the business model.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cambrianhouse: A Crowdsourcing Foreclosure

Interesting couple of days.

1. The Godfather of the crowdsourcing movement, Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine, made an appeal to the crowd on May 12th via his blog. It seems the writer responsible for coining the term crowdsourcing is having some trouble getting the crowd involved in/commenting on his blog. It seems that Jeff made an offer to get published in his book back in January. The original post yielded only four comments. His May 12th post yielded the same.

2. Yesterday, Erick Schonfeld of Techcrunch pushed Cambrian House into the deep end with his post, When Crowdsourcing Fails: Cambrian House Headed to the Deadpool. It seems that $7.5m wasn't enough to keep the CambrianHouse from going into foreclosure.