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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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March 08, 2007

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Comments

Steve

On a related note to crowdsourcing advertising, apparently a man submitted a fake Gucci ad to the Swiss publication SonntagsZeitung -- see http://editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003551020&imw=Y. The publication thought that it was real and charged Gucci for the ad placement.

My question is does this mean that normal folk can present themselves as professional ad professionals?

Daren C. Brabham

So here are some of my reflections on this interview and how I think Snider is speaking to the debates that have already happened here on the blog:

- Snider makes it clear that since him and Federighi funds the productions themselves, they are amateurs. Training does not make you a professional. This is a new take on how we've tried to define professional/amateur here before.

- Snider says that they do these contests for the chance to make a successful ad, not for a particular affinity for the product. This is important to remember if we are going to predict what kinds of applications will attract a crowd. The product doesn't even have to be that sexy to someone to get them to crowdsource. If the creative process is there, the ability to gain skills/experience/fame, and if the bounty is big enough...or some ratio of all of those things...then people will crowdsource.

- In his advice to crowdsourcing newcomers, Snider makes it clear that the vast majority of stuff from the crowd is crap. This supports Jeff's original rules for the crowd (the crowd produces mostly crap).

- Snider seems to think that crowdsourcing may be just a fad in the ad industry, and he is doubtful that crowdsourcing can work beyond creative/design industries. This makes me sad, but still determined to prove him wrong!

What else in this interview stood out to everyone else?

Daren C. Brabham

Steve,

What you've pointed out might be a form of "crowdslapping," but I think it's really just some guerilla self-promotion. Sure, the ability for an individual to crash a magazine by producing such a good quality ad speaks to the fact that technology and know-how have spread to the point where amateurs can be as good as professionals. This is an assumption crowdsourcing rests on. However, I don't know if there is all that much similarity between this Gucci guy and crowdsourcing as a problem solving model. But he's a damn good con, and I hope to see more of him.

Jeff Howe

@Steve—Brilliant. I hadn't heard about that one. Thanks for posting
@Daren—I'm so glad someone is keeping crowdslapping alive. Right now we're about the only two people keeping it in circulation. A colleague here at Wired coined it to describe the now infamous Chevy Tahoe ads in which users turned on Chevy and created spots indicting the automaker for rampant disregard of global warming, etc.

Daren C. Brabham

I think crowdslapping is an important term and we should watch for it. We shouldn't discount "failed" crowdsourcing efforts, either, because it may be because the crowd slapped back at the company that started the crowdsourced project. The reason crowdslapping is important is that it is a form of resistance from the crowd, objecting to any number of things (in the Tahoe ad contest it was an objection to the product's environmental impact, mostly). Since the exploitation of the amateur who works for relatively little to line the pockets of big companies will be a focus in crowdsourcing research, we should see crowdslapping as a chance for the crowd to flex its muscle. Crowdslapping is also interesting because its a relatively united effort that emerges from otherwise decentered and disjointed groups of individuals.

p.s. In defense of communication as a branch of scholarly inquiry, how many other majors are awesome enough to have words like "crowdslap" in them?

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@Steve—Brilliant. I hadn't heard about that one. Thanks for posting
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