About Me

Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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June 02, 2006


Russell Kord

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the complement. Could you please spell my name right next time? Photography's a competitive profession, there's probably 100s of Russel Cords out there...

Say anything about me but please get my name right!

Jeff Howe

Sorry Russel! Fixed.

Russell Kord


Your breath of crowdsourcing examples from many industries is illuminating, especially for photographers who can sometimes be most wraped up in their own industry.

I would like to propose a further word in your new lexicon ... "Crowddumping". If going to the crowd for goods and services is renumerated at a rate close to that industry;s standards of compensation, there is, what for over a century, we have come to call "fair" competition. If going to the crowd results in renumeration far below levels common within an industry or service, thats "crowddumping".

Unfortunately its unlikely the WTO or anybody is going to be able to enforce dumping on this scale or at the levels of the individual producer. Its not like going after far east steel producers in the 1970s.

Also its seems to me the person going to the crowd is the Crowdsourcer, doing the crowdsourcing. The person doing the work for less than prevailing industry standards is the Crowddumper. The person who is making real money off all of this, by rights should be the Crowdsorcerer!

You might want to consider the issue of dumping in your next articles.

Have a good summer.


Russell, Thanks for another great comment. I like crowddumping, and it points to the tricky issue of compensation levels. My experience from looking at various models is that compensation levels are proportional to (duh) skill level, and the relative scarcity of those skills. The fact is: a lot of people can take moderately good photographs, clean them up in Photoshop and post them online. Not so many people can solve a complex scientific problem, which is why Innocentive pays far more than iStockPhoto. Good food for thought, Russell, and thanks for posting.


"Quick note: I'd like to point my readers to the comments under the missions statement. "

Am I missing something? Where is the mission statement and the comments you are refering to? A link would be nice, because I'd like to read them.

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If going to the crowd results in renumeration far below levels common within an industry or service, thats "crowddumping". i totally agree.

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