Crowdsourcing: Sourcing from the crowd.

Before I read this article I knew crowdsourcing existed, however it wasn’t very clear to me the ways they were being used. Crowdsourcing, like outsourcing takes advantage of people willing to work for less money, however instead of sending their work elsewhere they use technology to bring people to their work.

I’d like to use the following music video as an example: Click Here For Music Video.

This music video is crowdsourced. They use the people watching it to create different effects in the video. The only thing they had to do was advertise their site and whoever visited it became a part of the video; they never had to look for anyone. If they wanted to put these effects in themselves they would have to spend more time, energy, and money to create the effect but instead let people like you do the work for free.

This is essentially what crowdsourcing is. The article for this week described different scenarios in which crowdsourcing has been applied to major businesses. The first was in photography. Professional photographers are getting the short end of the stick due to companies like iStockphoto. Originally their works could be purchased to be used for over $100 however iStockphoto takes advantage of amateur photographers and sells their work for a few dollars. In comparison this is much cheaper than seeking out a professional. Crowdsourcing presents the same problem that outsourcing does. You are taking away business from one group of people and giving it to another, all for a cheaper price. Many would think this is a bad thing because people like the professional photographer loses out on what he’s made his living out to be. And in the case of outsourcing to different countries, it greatly hinders our economy, which I do not like at all. However in this circumstance I believe creating an environment for people to share their creativity, professional or not, is a great opportunity for both these companies creating this space as well as those taking advantage of it.

Another example that the article presented was InnoCentive, InnoCentive allows people outside of companies to help develop drugs and speed the process of getting them onto the market. This is creating another space for people to share their creativity and knowledge to help solve some challenges when it comes to developing these drugs. What InnoCentive helps to accentuate though is that you find knowledge through crowdsourcing that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access within the network itself which does wonders for the industry and in general for the public because then new drugs are available for them faster or are available to them when otherwise they might not have been.

Overall I think crowdsourcing is great.


  1. hillary601

    So I am kind of confused as to what this crowd sourcing means. After reading it all I still don’t understand it too well. I think that in a generalization this means that people put their stuff on the internet and people can find it and buy it. And it is cheaper than out sourcing. If my idea of this concept is right, than I think that this is really interesting. I would never do it though because one, I don’t need to and two, it costs money. Even though it is relitivly cheap I would never do it because it I am only attracted to things that are free. I didn’t really know what it was before this article. I have never heard of it. And I don’t think I ever saw someone use it either. I think the video is really interesting and it did a better job of explaining what it would look like to me. I also like the purpose of this as well. Like you said, some people do this because they want to do like anti drugs campaign and things like that. I think that this is really cool because if the video is any indication what the add or campaign would look like than it is really interesting and cool. The video really drew me in so I really liked it.I still don’t know how this can be used or how you can use it but it is pretty cool.

  2. lisak0

    Honestly, if I didn’t know what crowdsourcing was, this article would have been a bit confusing for me. It still is a sort of difficult concept to understand… The music video you presented in class was very interesting because the artist of the video used the help of so many users of the online community to create a video. I’m sure the producers did not pay the online users, and if they did, I’m sure they did not pay as close to the amount they would have paid if the producers used actual people. Crowdsourcing is essentially an easy way out because there is less work and effort needed. I don’t necessarily disagree with this practice, but I feel bad for those who work harder for their work and do not get the proper credit or profit from it. The drug company that you stated above uses crowdsourcing to their advantage in a proper manner that I agree with. They used the information of the public to see if certain products should come out quicker or not. It is a great practice to see what everyone thinks about. People indeed, as you stated, can show off their creativity, and the companies like iStockPhoto are being intelligent and keeping up with the quick paced online world.
    Wish I could have been a part of the making of the video! It looks so cool and chaotic. The mouse pointers were everywhere! I honestly got so overwhelmed… Technology is advancing so quickly and everything is changing so rapidly. Who would have thought to use the help (and time) of different online users to create their own work, without much effort?

  3. mjdenis38

    Crowdsourcing is a difficult concept to understand. I’m still not completely sure I get what it is. It seems that creators put their content online for people to buy. The people then can do something creative with the product, but it gets looped into one final product. Then, the product is released faster. The drug company you described seems to be doing this effectively and to the benefit of others. And, crowdsourcing seems to be easy to operate, because there is less creative imput needed to make the final product. The video is a good example of what crowdsourcing can do. And this is a good way to gauge what people think about your product. However, the downside is others that won’t get proper credit, as with the iStockphoto, where amateurs can take almost the exact same picture and you can get it for next to nothing. For companies, this is great, but for individual artists this is an issue. I like the video and think it really represents how innovative we have been with technology. I don’t know if I could really use crowdsourcing, but it looks like anyone with a company can use crowdsourcing to their advantage.

  4. ktomiak25

    So I thought I was the only one who wasn’t clear on crowdsourcing but I am glad to know I am not. From what I gather, people can submit/sell their work for cheap to contribute to another bigger work. I thought in class that the crowdsourcing for the music video was the data input from people’s mouses but after reading this post I am wondering if instead the crowdsourcing is the backdrops? I’m not really sure. Wouldn’t collecting the mouse location data and recreating it in the music video be MORE work for the movie maker rather than just simulating the results? In regards to the article though, it sounds useful to users who can buy photos off of istockphoto for only 1 dollar instead of going to photographers who charge a lot more. Unfortunately. people have studied in film school and take really great pictures with expensive technology, and now are losing business and probably not being able to pay their art school debt which messes up the economy. User generated content can bring in a huge amount of creativity and originality to a piece, but I’m not sure exactly if the lower prices is a good thing.

  5. tedrihn

    So before this article I never really heard of crowdsourcing, and to be honest i never understood what outsourcing was. After reading this article however, I can safely assume that it has something to do with using internet users to do cheap work for companies that don’t want to pay professionals for that job. In my opinion this creates a competitive workplace and gives a huge advantage to the amateurs because professionals simply cannot sell their lives work for the same price that amateurs do. The work to profit margin becomes very small if there at all. The cost it would take create for a professional to take a photo would be ginormous compared to the cost he would then have to sell it for. To me this puts our economic standard into whack. What was then a very profitable and reliable income for some is now as easy as taking a photo on your smartphone. In all aspects crowd sourcing takes an opportunity from one group of people and gives it to the group that can do the same job for the least amount of money, sometimes even for free. In regards to the crowd sourced video I believe that things like this can be used very effectively without completely harming our economy. Take volunteer work to create a piece of work and it saves a lot of time in creating a successful video. However I do believe it does take away one job from computer programmers. This sort of content can bring in huge waves of creativity but at the cost of destabilizing our economy for a few extra dollars?

  6. hg163

    I have heard of crowdsourcing before but I was never really sure of what it was. From what it sounds like, someone can sell (upload?) their content to other people, and those people can do something with the product by incorporating even more people until the product is completed. I may be a little off somewhere, but that seems roughly correct. I was a little confused about what the actual benefits of using crowdsourcing (other than the cheaper costs) are until you mentioned the drug company example.
    I think that crowdsourcing has both positives and negatives attached to it. Crowdsourcing gives more creativity to a piece due to the many different users who come in contact with it, but at the same time business can lose out on a lot of money (kind of like the photography example you mentioned, where the companies and individuals are losing out to things like iStockphoto).
    The drug company you mentioned is a great example of how crowdsourcing can be efficiently used to create a product. The company is relying on knowledge and ideas from the public to create a better and more efficient drug for people to use. This reminds me of the saying that two heads are better than one, because there are probably many people out there who know a lot about medicine, but for some reason decided to go into another field, who could be of tremendous help to InnoCentive.

  7. briellebuis

    I never was very familiar with crowdsourcing, but reading the article and looking at the video that you posted a link to made it seem like a cool idea. Looking at it now, it seems like a cheap way to get peoples opinion. Kind of like a survey but you do not have to pay the people you are getting the information from. Overall, I believe that this is done a lot in our everyday lives but we are so used to it by now that we do not really even realize what companies are doing. I guess it has its benefits and down falls just like anything. I am sure professionals are not thrilled to have their work not be sold because someone can get it for cheaper by a professional who is a bit less professional. Overall it is just about getting things for as little money as possible, which is always going to be an issue for some, but beneficial to others, and beneficial to the consumer. I think that this article was interesting because it was a new concept for many of us, where some of the past articles have just been surrounding ideas that we knew about but maybe just wanted to get more information about.

  8. Yadybel

    Apparently everyone does not know what crowdsourcing is. Well good because I still do not understand what it is. I am on the Internet a lot and I have never seen nor heard of crowdsourcing. I get that it attracts people and visitors are able to participate but that is all I really got from it. I thought the video in class was really cool. I still didn’t really understand it that much either but I thought it was interesting. Since I didn’t really understand what it meant I looked it up and I kind of have a better idea of what it is. This seems really beneficial for people who aren’t really being funded. I think its great that part-timers and volunteers add bits and pieces to this work to create a larger picture. This does hurt those who are professionals but in my opinion they already have enough money; why not help the little guy out for once. Compared to outsourcing this is much cheaper. Using this also expands our horizons in the sense that it on a global scale than on a national scale. Would personally do this, probably not because I do not think I really need it and although it is cheaper than outsourcing it does cost money. I just don’t think its necessary to buy something that I probably would never use. I am not saying it is a bad thing but it is not for me. If this is what a person is interested in then I say buy it. Once that person fully understands what crowdsourcing is then maybe they can explain it to me.

  9. Megan Murray

    I really like the idea of crowdsourcing. What came to my attention in your post was where you described the method of crowdsourcing as, “You are taking away business from one group of people and giving it to another, all for a cheaper price.” This reminded me of what we talked about in the Creative Commons article. Getting your work out there really is one of the most important things, especially in this day and age. Technology allows people to share everything, and online advertising is the future. The same way giving away your music for free will benefit you in the long run, crowdsourcing your product for cheaper than you would really want to sell it will get your name out there and help you in the long run.
    One thing that does kind of scare me is the “anonymous” crowdsourcing, as you talked about happened with the video. “The only thing they had to do was advertise their site and whoever visited it became a part of the video; they never had to look for anyone.” While with this video it is pretty harmless, I worry that bad things can happen when you are dealing with taking work from people that don’t know you’re crowdsourcing them. For example, if some company ends up making tons of money off of something an individual (or group of individuals) made that are not part of the company, I can see these individuals being upset that they are not seeing any of the money.

  10. Brian

    To me crowd sourcing has both its benefits and its negatives. The benefits are obvious and most prevalent for the consumer. They can easily find markets and cheaply buy the products they need. Not only that but they are not at all limited in their choices. For example, the Getty Images that the article talks about has thousands if not millions of images from both professionals and amateurs, all at very affordable prices. There are also some small advantages for the producers who use crowd sourcing. Let’s go back to the Getty Images example. Although artists have to compete with thousands of others at least their audience knows exactly where to look. That means less advertising needs to be done than an artist using traditional methods. Also, with a professional photographer there may be difficulty due to distance from the client. With crowdsourcing, artists don’t need to worry about this since all information and communication can be found online.
    Despite these positives, there are also some negatives, primarily to the traditional workers. This situation seems similar to how people lose jobs because machines started to replace them. People who use standard techniques and skills, like Harmel, are now struggling against the competitive markets created by crowd sourcing. People can now find images that are of similar quality for only a dollar. People who rely on traditional photography to make a living have very little chance to compete and will likely suffer if they do not keep up with the ever-increasing curve of technology and crowd sourcing.

  11. gisellehernandez412

    Honestly, I’ve never really heard of crowd sourcing until now. I think it makes perfect sense that it would be used in this day and age. I know that people have pretty strong feelings about outsourcing because of the effects that it has on our own economy and I can see why outsourcing is comparable to crowd sourcing. The article discussed that crowd sourcing is not in an way the same as outsourcing but to be honest, I see a lot of similarities–people lose their jobs or benefit less from them when they’re competing with cheaper labor that’s equally as good. That being said, I do see the issue with it. However, I couldn’t exactly say which ‘side’ I’m on because I do see crowd sourcing as a great thing, too. Like you’ve discussed in this response, crowd sourcing allows us to take advantage of all the creativity out there; problems can be solved so much faster and cheaper. If a serious problem needs to be solved, why pay the extra money and risk prolonging the issues at hand when you could just crowd source and find a quick solution? I think crowd sourcing is pretty cool in that sense. When we can combine our thoughts and ideas with people all around the word or across social media, we can technologically grow exponentially…as if we aren’t already… but I”m sure you know what I mean. I also really liked your video, it was a nice touch!

  12. evanhuaru

    I never heard of crowdsourcing before this and after the reading everyone’s comments I know a lot of people aren’t really too sure what it really is. Personally, I feel like I got what crowd sourcing was about for the most part from the article that we read. I think crowdsourcing is a way for companies and sites to encourage the general public to post and upload material that professionals already do. For example the TV shows that tells everyone to upload videos to a site so they can it on their show. This is a cheaper alternative than getting a professional film crew to film videos. These companies and sites allow amateur film makers an opportunity to share their work and have a chance to be on TV. However, even though these companies are gaining cheaper prices for crowdsourcing it’s a disadvantage for the people who are actually in that profession. The professionals are losing customers and money to the increase of crowdsourcing. Just like Harmel the professional photographer who made $69,000 for 100 photos in 2000, but only made $59,000 for more than 1000 photos due to crowdsourcing. Professionals have to work 10 times as hard to be able to actually make a profit for the work they do. Crowdsourcing has completely changed the economy by deflating the prices. Prices are decreasing for the consumer while cutting the salaries and wages of people who are actually professionals. Crowdsourcing creates more competition making it harder to recognize people with true talent.

  13. Miss Bombshell

    So before reading this post and the article I had no idea what crowd sourcing was and I still have no idea exactly what it is. As far as my understanding goes I think it’s something that the general public contributes to or I think it’s something like bootlegging. I am not really sure I tried reading others comments but it confused me even more because everyone’s comments has a different definition of what crowd sourcing actually is. But I did think that the video you had in the link was pretty cool. I like the idea who every visited the page become a part of the work on a bigger scale meaning they helped complete the work of art, that is the video. And I also thought it was pretty fun to see where everyone’s mousses went in certain pictures. But hopefully I get a better understanding of what crowdsourcing is when we return to class because this whole concept is blowing my mind.

  14. moegor94

    I agree with Donna completely. Crowd sourcing is a great opportunity for people to share their creativity. Some people say that crowdsourcing is based on the same negative principle associated outsourcing and is itself just as bad for people and the economy. I do not feel that crowdsourcing and outsourcing should be considered to be on the same level of negativity at all. Outsourcing has much more negative and heavy consequences than crowdsourcing and it’s effects are definitely felt by a much larger population. Typically, outsourcing is a problem when a huge corporation, in charge of thousands of jobs, start to do it. It is negative because a decent percent of a state or countries population can be affected. Outsourcing usually occurs in more focused fields where professionals usually have other jobs and do this as a hobby. An example mentioned by Donna and the article would be the photography field. In a field like this the affects of crowdsourcing are being felt by a much smaller population and they are not as drastic as losing your main source of income. The benefit of crowdsourcing, however, I feel is extremely valuable. Possibly even valuable enough to outweigh the light negative consequences. The benefit is a great opportunity for young enthusiast to get the work out their and share their creativity and even start building a portfolio. This great opportunity definitely outweighs the negative in my book.

  15. mlew210

    Crowdsourcing to me sounds like technology finally catching up to old or outdated jobs. If it has gotten up to the point where an amateur photographer can create a photo of slightly lesser or equal quality than that of a professional photographer, maybe it is better that way. It just means that profession is no longer needed. I think it is sucks that those people are out of a job, but that just means that the times are changing. I do agree that it negatively affects our economy since people lose their jobs, but it should also create room for innovation. I thought that the music video was really cool because everyone came together to make something. Crowdsourcing is not the same thing as outsourcing. Outsourcing is completely focused on making profits. I do not think crowdsourcing is particularly focused on profits; it was just an alternative that turned out to be more productive than the real thing. With outsourcing, big companies just maximize their profits and take advantage of poorer countries. Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, actually lets anyone come and contribute something. It is a catalyst for creativity that closes opportunities for a few people, but also opens a lot of possibilities for an even larger group of people. I think it is really important to remember that when talking about crowdsourcing. It lets anyone come in and get their work published. You don’t need to be a professional photographer with a $3000 camera to make any money.

  16. wilschiu

    I think crowdsourcing is a pretty cool idea. I actually had never heard of it till this presentation actually. This just goes to show how versatile the internet is and how large the online community has become. It is quite a common idea in business to outsource labor and other things to cut down on costs, which results in cheaper products, which is better for the consumers. Crowdsourcing is kind of like that except it is way more applicable. I also think its a great way for people to help out with things they care about and for smaller businesses without the need for middle men, which usually just tacks on cost and effort. People are also more willing to do things for less for things they care about. Like the example in the article where the photographer gave the photos for a nonprofit cost. This way he could contribute to something he liked and the Museum did not have to buy their photos from big businesses.
    Although what you said is true that a professional photographer may have lost out on business, the world is ever changing and some jobs will eventually become obsolete or scarce. As technology advances, there will be new opportunities for people while some things will fade into the past. I’m not saying professional photography will die out, but amateur photography has definitely seen a rise in the recent years. Things like crowdsurfing can be a way to help grow these nonprofessional communities.

  17. karencronin

    I have mixed feelings on crowdsourcing. It definitely is advantageous to the general public to be able to download a couple pictures from iStockphoto and create something with them for cheap. I took a look at some of the pictures on iStockphoto and had an idea to print out some of the food photos, frame them, and hang them in my kitchen. I would never have considered doing this if I had to pay $100 or more for each picture. In my particular case, a professional photographer did not lose my business because I would not pay the $100 per picture. But a photographer on iStockphoto may earn my business if I pursue the project. I do understand how professionals are losing business because of websites like iStockphoto. But we have to keep in mind that as technology continues to advance, some things are going to be left behind. For example, when computers began to be a part of our everyday world, sales of typewriters began diminishing. Companies making typewriters either closed up shop or went into making another product. Professionals who are being left behind because of sites like iStockphoto will either have to pack it in or come up with a new idea/product that the general public is interested in.

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