What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words 'crowd' and 'outsourcing'. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers.

Famous Example: Wikipedia. Instead of Wikipedia creating an encyclopedia on their own, hiring writers and editors, they gave a crowd the ability to create the information on their own. The result? The most comprehensive encyclopedia this world has ever seen.

Crowdsourcing & Quality: The principle of crowdsourcing is that more heads are better than one. By canvassing a large crowd of people for ideas, skills, or participation, the quality of content and idea generation will be superior.

Different Types of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsource Design

If you’re looking for a logo design, you can tell a crowd of designers what you want, how much you will pay, and your deadline. All interested designers will create a finished design specifically for you. You’ll receive 50-300+ different finished logo designs, and you can keep whichever design you like the best. By doing design this way, crowdsourcing actually increases the quality & decreases the price, compared to online freelancing.

Crowdsourcing can also be used to get designs for furniture, fashion, advertisements, video, & product design. Just about anything that can be designed can be crowdsourced.


Crowdfunding involves asking a crowd of people to donate money to your project. For example, if you want to raise $10,000 to pay for studio time to record a new CD, crowdfunding can help you raise that money.. You find a crowdfunding platform, set the goal amount, deadline, and any rewards offered to donors. You must raise 100% of your goal before the deadline, or all the donations are returned to the donors. Deadlines are typically less than 60 days.

Crowdfunding is mostly used by artists, charities, & start-ups to raise money for projects such as filming a documentary, manufacturing an iPod watch, cancer research, or seed money. Read more about crowdfunding or browse crowdfunding sites.


Microtasking involves breaking work up into tiny tasks and sending the work to a crowd of people. If you have 1,000 photos on your website that need captions, you can ask 1,000 individual people to each add a caption to one photo. Break up the work and decide the payment for each completed task (typically .01¢ – .10¢ per task). With microtasking, you can expect to see results within minutes. Microtasking can involve tasks such as scanning images, proofreading, database correction and transcribing audio files.

Work is done faster, cheaper, and usually with less errors (when validation systems are in place). Additionally, microtasks can often be performed by people in less fortunate countries, including those with SMS capabilities but without computers. Read more about microtasks or browse microtasks sites.

Open Innovation

If you are unsure of where to begin with an idea for a business opportunity, whether it’s product design or perhaps a marketing firm, crowdsourcing can help through open innovation. Open innovation allows people from all aspects of business such as investors, designers, inventors, and marketers to collaborate into a functional profit making reality. This can be done either through a dedicated web platform to gain outside perspective, or used with only internal employees.

Open innovation brings together people from different parts of the world and different sectors of business to work together on a project. This is effectively a collection of different fields and levels of expertise that would not otherwise be available to any budding entrepreneur. It also elevates previously considered uninvolved parties, such as investors, to roll up their sleeves and impart their knowledge, essentially becoming more than just a cash cow.

Pros & Cons

Crowdsourcing’s biggest benefit is the ability to receive better quality results, since several people offer their best ideas, skills, & support. Crowdsourcing allows you to select the best result from a sea of ‘best entries,’ as opposed to receiving the best entry from a single provider. Results can be delivered much quicker than traditional methods, since crowdsourcing is a form of freelancing. You can get a finished video within a month, a finished design or idea within a week, and microtasks appear within minutes.

Clear instructions are essential in crowdsourcing. You could potentially be searching through thousands of possible ideas, which can be painstaking, or even complicated, if the instructions are not clearly understood. Some forms of crowdsourcing do involve spec work, which some people are against. Quality can be difficult to judge if proper expectations are not clearly stated.

Learn More – Ask Questions

What more do you want to know about crowdsourcing? Need a better grasp on what is crowdsourcing? Ask your thought provoking questions in our crowdsourcing discussion forums.

David Bratvold
Author: David Bratvold
Head Trainer at Daily Crowdsource
David's the founder of Daily Crowdsource & one of the foremost experts in crowdsourcing