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Is Crowdsourcing Evil?

October 26, 2010

Since the ungroup group work assignment, I have  found myself thinking a lot about crowdsourcing. I found an interesting article about crowdsourcing titled is crowdsourcing evil? The article discusses how crowdsourcing has started to become more mainstream and how the design community has been impacted. Many established designers and design companies don’t like crowdsourcing because it forces them to do work on speculation also known as spec. Working on speculation does not pay the bills because you only get paid if your design is chosen. Many designers have joined together and rallied against crowdsourcing, but as this article points out their efforts maybe in vain. This article argues that crowdsourcing is here to stay and those in the design community will have to learn to deal with it or become casualties of it. After reading this article, I am fairly convinced that crowdsourcing is here to stay. I don’t think it will put every design firm out of business, but crowdsourcing will have an impact.  Read that article.

Let me know what you think.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2010 10:21 am

    Sounds very similar to the recent logo contest the ALA Student Chapter at SJSU ran about a month ago. Various designs were submitted. People voted. And the winners received gift cards (if I remember correctly). For something relatively small scale like this, my general reaction is “oh, that’s nice”. But when you’re talking major work being done to create a product simply on speculation that one might win and actually be paid for it…yeah, that sounds like it stinks.

  2. Andrew M. permalink
    October 27, 2010 9:13 pm

    I don’t think crowdsourcing is inherently evil, so at least the title seems kind of provocative, but I suppose it’s Wired. There are definitely some (perhaps even a large number) of people running crowdsource programs who are trying to “leverage web 2.0” and essentially get people to give them a large amount of work for free. I’ve been scammed a couple of times on translation work, and it bites. The real pros (one hopes) will be able to sniff out scams a mile away and keep their businesses running.

  3. October 28, 2010 6:51 pm

    This brings to mind the concept of disruptive innovation. Wikipedia says (and I’m sure encyclopedia publishers felt the same way about Wiki as the designers feel about crowdsourcing): A disruptive innovation is an innovation that disrupts an existing market. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by lowering price or designing for a different set of consumers.

    Nicole Hester

  4. Marian Ramage permalink
    October 29, 2010 11:58 am

    Before we did the ungroup exercise I was totally oblivious of crowdsourcing and the impact it was having in the design world.

    Once I learned a bit about it, I was put off that’s for sure.

    However, I think it’s here to stay. Maybe on the upside, we will see creative works that otherwise might never have had any exposure. And maybe, in the design of less flashy, less fun items, professional creators will still be sought out by business.

    Thanks for sharing the article. It confirms the at-a-glance impression I had of crowdsourcing.


  5. shalizzard permalink
    October 29, 2010 2:32 pm

    I think I read this when doing some research on crowd sourcing last semester. While it does suck for professionals to be replaced by “the crowd,” I think it’s also great that you can be rewarded for the work you do, rather than your credentials. It redefines what it means to be an “expert” and allows you to get your work seen.
    This reminds me of a co-worker who decided that instead of getting his book published through print publishers, he would offer the book for free as an e-book instead. Instead of having the publishers decide what people want to read, he left it up to the actual readers. If they like it, they will read it and maybe post a review…if they don’t, it doesn’t matter because it was free anyways.

  6. jptrolinger permalink
    October 29, 2010 5:41 pm

    This is a very interesting point of view and I understand what they are getting at. In reality, crowdsourcing is probably an extremely inefficient way for designers/artists/whomever to work. While two people may win in this sort of arrangement, the vast majority of people waste there time — unless they are getting something more out of it than having their idea/design chosen. I guess I unknowingly entered a crowdsourcing type of situation once by entering a contest for my photo to be displayed on a soda bottle. I wonder how much money they saved by not having to design it themselves. =D

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