Another ripple formed from the rise of the Social Web is crowdsourcing. It is the practice of businesses using the power of collaborative and competitive crowds to find a resolution to their problems. Some companies do this instead of the traditional way of having a single employee face the work.
Threadless, a company who sells graphic T-shirts, crowdsources the designing of tees by having people vote on freelance contributors’ submissions. The chosen print wins the designer royalties for its use and production of the T-shirt. Wikipedia is also populated by the crowd. Volunteers research and write topics that undergo rigorous correction from other contributors until the final version is published as a wiki.
Crowdsourcing definitely works in many cases, but you should ask yourself what its benefits and downsides are. BizMedia.com provides an infographic on the subject, detailing its pros and cons.
One such benefit to crowdsourcing is having the final product assured of thorough ‘market testing’. With the idea, product, or problem exposed to many people, a thorough selection and elimination process takes place. When the dust clears, an end product polished by mass voting or editing comes to being. The development process also simultaneously becomes the proofing process.
However, crowdsourcing can be bad for professionals who offer their services exclusively. Amateurs mostly have the stage in crowdsourcing, leaving pros out of the equation. Products designed by the professionals lose their market value to a branding solution that relies on the combined skill of the masses.
BizMedia.com lists several more arguments for and against crowdsourcing in the infographic. Click the picture to view it in full.