The Basics of Crowdsourcing

The Internet has changed almost everything about how people communicate and work together. One new model of employment that has risen in popularity is crowdsourcing. This new method lets a large group of people finish a task extremely rapidly and efficiently, even if they are nowhere near each other geographically. Many organizations have found that this method gives them a number of advantages over more traditional methods.

What is Crowdsourcing?
Essentially, crowdsourcing is a distributed model of completing a single task. Instead of assigning a particular task to a specific individual or group of individuals who are responsible for the entire task, a task is instead offered to a wide group of unknown individuals, which is known as the “crowd.” These people then cooperate, usually unknowingly, to offer the best solution to the original “crowdsourcer.” For example, if a company needed to have a large amount of data checked for errors, it would post this data on a website and let the members of the crowd check the data, rather than having a single employee do this job in-house. Crowdsourced tasks are often broken down into smaller pieces. Once these tasks are completed, the results are recombined into a larger solution. Other popular applications of this approach include producing content for websites and finding a pool of subjects for surveys or research studies.

The Advantages of Using the Crowd
One of the main advantages of this approach is its speed. A large group of people, even if they are not actively collaborating, can complete a task much more quickly than a single person or a small group. A company may also find that members of the crowd offer new approaches or new solutions that its own employees would never have come up with on their own. Using a crowd can also save a great deal of money, since the company is only paying for a particular task, rather than having to pay for all of the additional expenses of hiring more employees. Because members of the crowd are also members of the general public, researchers can use the crowd as a source for survey answers on politics and economics, and companies interested in finding out what the public thinks about its site can ask the crowd instead of needing to hire an internal focus group.

Using a crowdsourced approach to complete needed tasks offers many advantages to businesses and other organizations. This explains the rapid growth in this approach in recent years. There are a number of websites, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, that offer platforms for crowdsourced work. By employing this technique for many different tasks, an organization can have these tasks completed more quickly and efficiently than was previously possible.

Kristen Bradley works for, a leading website that offers clients high-quality, cost-effective business solutions. Learn more about how our crowdsourcing solutions can help you by visiting

Featured image, on home page, provided courtesy of artberri.

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