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Page history last edited by anjaliramachandran@... 11 years, 8 months ago


About Crowdsourcing Examples


This wiki is intended for the benefit of anyone who has ever wished they could see a comprehensive list of examples, either backed by a brand or not, that illustrate the power of crowdsourcing (as conceptualised by Jeff Howe). As the power of online communities grows ever stronger, it will undoubtedly be useful to look and learn from the experience of others. The wiki has been compiled by drawing from a variety of different sources, whose contributions I would like to acknowledge at the outset.


Please note that each list is sortable by ascending or descending alphabetical order- just click on the column title and you'll see an arrow which will allow you to sort. 


I have categorised these examples into 4 broad themes. (Please note that some examples may cross boundaries)


1. Individual businesses or sites that channel the power of online crowds

2. Brand-sponsored initiatives or forums that depend on crowdsourcing. I've included those that are no longer active as well, for reference. 

3. Brand initiatives that allow users to customise their products

4. Brand-sponsored competitions/challenges focussed on crowdsourcing


If you know of examples that should be added and would like to become a contributor, please go here. 




Anjali Ramachandran

Comments (25)

Nicole VanScoten said

at 2:05 am on Apr 1, 2009

Another good example of crowdsourcing is going on now at http://www.helpusnameus.com where a national marketing firm is crowdsourcing through social mediums to find a new company name.

Nicole VanScoten said

at 2:06 am on Apr 1, 2009

Forgot to mention...we've gotten thousands of entries from all 50 states, 43 countries, and 6 continents, using only social media to do so. We've found crowdsourcing to be VERY powerful!

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 2:16 am on Apr 1, 2009

Nicole - I've added it to the brand-sponsored competitions list, category 4. Thanks for sharing!

Wolfgang Huennekens said

at 2:52 am on Apr 12, 2009

Have a look to jovoto.com a really good community for advertising ideas started in Germany and looked now to US and Spain

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 6:28 am on Apr 12, 2009

Wolfgang - I've added it to the list of individual businesses that channel online crowds - thanks for sharing!

Paul Marsden said

at 9:04 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Anjali, I like your decision to exclude "crowdsourced content" (e.g. youtube, slideshare - and all the other sites featuring user-content) in this directory to keep in manageable. By the same token, do you think we could drop sites that use "mass customisation" (3) in this directory - because a) there are thousands of them, and b) it's a little tenuous to say it is "open outsourcing" as you have to buy stuff to customize it?

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 9:42 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Paul - I have in fact been thinking about this of late, good point. The wiki should very much grow into what it should be, and there isn't a definition for that. I'm open to dropping (3) - does anyone else reading this have any comments? I'll give it a week and if no one has anything to say about it, I 'll drop (3). Thanks Paul.

Paul Marsden said

at 9:43 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Hi all, I think the classification is useful, and a great start point - but suggest that classification is a little confusing for the uninitiated (all fall into umbrella 1), 2 and 3 overlap, and not quite clear how 4 is differentiated). Perhaps an alternative classification could be on a) who is crowdsourcing or b) what is being crowdsourced, or c) the crowdsourcing process?

e.g. Who is Crowdsourcing Classification

B2C Brands (for profit) that Crowdsource (Open Outsourcing)
B2B Brands (for profit) that Crowdsource (Open Outsourcing)
Not for Profit Organisations that Crowdsource (e.g. Public Policy)
Crowdsourcing Intermediaries (Sites that facilitate Crowdsourcing, e.g. iStockphoto)

"What is Being Crowdsourced" Classification

R&D Tasks
Brainstorming Tasks
Design Tasks
Knowledge Tasks
Promotional Tasks
Testing Tasks

How Crowdsourcing is Done

Active (competitive crowdsourcing) e.g. InnoCentive
Active (collaborative crowdsourcing) - e.g. Assignment Zero
Passive (data aggregation) - e.g. (Amazon recommendations)
Passive (resource aggregation) - e.g. SETI

Paul Marsden said

at 10:01 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Anjali - just suggestions, no need to heed at all if you think existing classification works - what do you think?

Shaun Abrahamson said

at 10:17 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Hi Anjali, Paul,

I think Paul is onto something.

Who - think this makes perfect sense. eventually, you can segment by industry, making it easy for specific industries to find examples that are directly relevant. what industry classification to use? we can start with something simple, like http://biz.yahoo.com/p/

What - I like the task-based view or goal-based view. so we could take a view that says, what is the product or deliverable OR try to classify tasks by type - I would add "support tasks" although not sure if this fit under knowledge tasks.

How - works just fine

Where and Why feel like they might add too much overhead. But we can explore.

Where - custom site/service vs existing community/forum - its somewhat covered under Who
Why - is probably less important than what for our needs. however, it would be interesting to see what types of efforts attract attention - more meaningful vs less meaningful. it might be helpful to understand the motivation for the effort - lower cost, faster time to market, more ideas, entertainment, etc.

Happy to help with the reclassification effort.

- Shaun

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 10:35 pm on Apr 13, 2009

Paul: Most do fall into category 1, yes. We're considering getting rid of 3. 2 is purely to distinguish initiatives that are backed by a brand to keep track of those that are using crowdsourcing in their work., which is actually one of the main reasons I started this wiki! I think it is useful from a marketing/advertising point of view (who is doing what in this arena, how can a particular brand improve upon what has already been done via a new initiative and so on). 4 is also useful from that point of view, though they are one-offs as opposed to long-term initiatives covered by 2. Again, helps to have an overview so that people can easily see something and say 'now that's interesting' or 'that brand did this so much better', thus (hopefully) motivating brands to commission good work because they'd have their name associated with it.

Re: your suggestions, I don't think c) makes sense as it will only complicate matters (active, passive and then sub-divisions within those - people don't have the patience for that, I think, but I know that's a huge generalisation). As for a) Most of the sites in 1 are 'crowdsourcing intermediaries' - I doubt they'd like to be known that way though! - so I doubt how useful that classification will be. Plus B2C and B2B are all covered in 2, so its simply splitting that up again. b) holds the most promise. Perhaps we can add an extra column to 1 and split them by kind of tasks, as you mentioned? Would you like to take that on?

Paul Marsden said

at 8:33 am on Apr 14, 2009

Anjalira and Sean, thanks - this is useful conversation in tightening thinking around crowdsourcing

Anjalira, great, I get where you're coming from (marketing/ad point of view, showcasing of brand-sponsored crowdsourcing initiatives)

So basically, if I understand you right - there are two main types of crowdsourcing examples that we're after

Sponsored crowdsourcing initiatives (brand, organisation)
Web services that use crowdsourcing

Would that cover it?

Perhaps who (sponsor, sector), what (is being crowdsourced), and how (?) (collaborative vs. competitive vs. automated) could be columns in the directory?

I can have a stab at this (or where we come out) if you want?

Paul Marsden said

at 8:43 am on Apr 14, 2009

An even simpler classification?

Crowdsourcing Platforms (crowdsourcing service providers)
Crowdsourcing Initiatives (brand/organization sponsored initiatives)

Each has a

Who (Owner/Sponsor + Sector)
What (Task being Outsourced)
How (Crowdsourcing Process - Passive, Collaborative, Competitive)

Does this work any better?

Shaun Abrahamson said

at 1:14 pm on Apr 14, 2009

Paul, I think this simplifies nicely.

Anjali - I understand your concerns regarding level of effort for people to contribute and add all the fields.

Isnt't ok if people add and omit some of the classifications? We can come back and add these, but I do think these additional classifications are useful, even if there are a few of us going through and adding details from time to time.

Worst case we can mark these additional fields as "optional".

- Shaun

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 4:18 am on Apr 15, 2009

Shaun, Paul : This back-and-forth conversation is proving to be useful. Yes, I think the last categorization (crowdsourcing platforms & initiatives) does make sense. My only concern there is that the answer to the 'Who' question will in fact BE the platform itself, in the case of the Crowdsourcing Platform category. But that is a minor issue. Yes, the level of effort will be considerable, but I think it will be valuable too. Paul, would you like to start the process, and then Shaun and I can do bits? I'm assuming everything in 2 and 4 will come under Crowdsourcing Initiatives and everything in 1 will come under Crowdsourcing Platforms? Almost everything, at least.


Paul Marsden said

at 4:19 am on Apr 17, 2009

Anjali - can you let me have permission to edit page title and delete draft pages I no longer need? Thanks!

Shaun Abrahamson said

at 6:26 am on Apr 28, 2009


Where do you put services like
www.elance.com or www.odesk.com, etc?

The differ from some other bounty-based systems in that pitch work is limited before a choice is made. But it still feels like they are relevant.

anjaliramachandran@... said

at 8:45 pm on Apr 28, 2009

Paul-I've given you access, you should be able to edit as required now.

Shaun - I think those would come under category 1, individual businesses that channel crowds' for now. There are a couple of that type (like EyeKa), which do similar stuff.

sivamkrish said

at 6:57 pm on May 10, 2009

Pls add www.jujups.com to the list.



Josh Copeland said

at 12:25 pm on May 11, 2009

Excellent lists Anjali. Thanks for starting this wiki...

Chuck said

at 8:18 am on Dec 13, 2009

Hi All, I am the founder of www.CreateMyTattoo.com. We have merged custom tattoo designs with crowdsourcing. We have a community of 500+ artists that complete to design custom tattoos for our customers. I not sure how I got invited to this workspace, but I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Best Regards, Chuck

pbworks said

at 12:55 am on May 15, 2010

I keep reading how iStockphoto is an example of crowdsourcing but I don't understand how.

According to wikipedia crowdsourcing is an "act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call."

iStockphoto is an open market where people can sell photos. There's no open calls, no one goes there and says "I need this done" and someone does it. If iStockphotos is crowdsourcing because it allows anyone ("the crowd") to sell something than any website that allows individuals to sell something could be crowdsourcing. eBay would be crowdsourcing, or even Craigslist.

Chris Cardell said

at 11:36 pm on Jun 2, 2010

Another recent example of crowdsourcing is MusicRevolution.com. MusicRevolution.com (http://www.musicrevolution.com ) is an innovative online marketplace for royalty-free, production music. MusicRevolution.com provides media producers, businesses and other music buyers with high-quality royalty-free production, or stock, music at affordable prices for TV/radio broadcast, film, corporate video, retail & website background music, on-hold music, and other business music applications. The MusicRevolution.com production music library has thousands of high-quality tracks and new music is being added every day. As an online marketplace, MusicRevolution.com provides professional and aspiring musicians with the opportunity to license their music while learning from and collaborating with others in the music community. I am the Co-Founder.

pbworks said

at 4:28 am on Jun 3, 2010

@Chris Cardell

Interesting idea, is there a open call to a large crowd? The definition of crowdsourcing is "outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call."

Allowing users to sell goods on a online marketplace is a good start, but there needs to be a way to post the request for a specific task to be completed to a large group to be considered crowdsourcing. Do customers have that ability on MusicRevolution.com?

Chris Cardell said

at 6:06 am on Jun 3, 2010

While MusicRevolution.com is an online marketplace for production music, it is also a platform to package and distribute the music contributed by the community of professional musicians. The "open call to the large crowd" has been made by us as owners and operators of MusicRevolution.com to solicit the content that we need to make MusicRevolution.com a viable online source for royalty-free production music. The "open call" yielded the contribution of music that we are able to sell not only in its original form as single tracks, but also as new products such as physical CDs, virtual CDs, subscriptions and an Internet music stream for background music. We made this "open call" to the musicians on behalf of production music buyers who we believe are looking for a simpler, more affordable way to purchase production music. The majority of the production music business is still conducted offline. We are looking to change this. If we had attempted to use employees or contractors to create MusicRevolution.com's existing music catalog, it would have been cost-prohibitive based on our resources. MusicRevolution.com also provides musicians with an additional channel for distribution and an additional way to monetize their music. We believe that this will prove to be a win-win for all constiuencies.

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