Case study: how to effectively crowdsource work

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The crowd
  3. The task
  4. The process
  5. Who was selected and why
  6. How many people worked on this simultaneously?
  7. How did they split up the task?
  8. Results
  9. Recommendations for working with crowds
  10. Summary
  11. About David Coleman

1. Summary

Over the past 18 months I’ve written extensively about the outsourcing market and the crowdsourcing world. The outsourcing market as a whole is approximately a $115 billion industry, and the top 14 crowdsourcing firms alone brought in about $50 million in revenue in 2011. Furthermore, MBO Partners predicts that more than half the private U.S. workforce, 70 million people, will be “independent workers” by 2020. Many of those crowd workers will make something like $2 per hour. Clearly industries like medical transcription and mobile have much to gain: According to a study released in December by Everest Group and Lionbridge Technologies, crowdsourcing could save up to 70 percent (PDF) when compared to traditional business-process outsourcing.

So how do we harness this power? I decided to take some of my own advice about crowdsourcing. This article is about my experience with crowd work, the ups and downs, ins and outs, and if I did really reach my goal more quickly, cheaper, and faster.

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