Thursday, March 12, 2009

Has Crowdsourcing Gone Too Far?

As much as the internet has fueled innovation through the free exchange of ideas and collaboration with anyone across the globe, are we also remaking a market economy that only benefits those on top who control the mass lines of distribution? Wired considers the pitfalls of crowdsourcing - a phenomenon once heralded for its ability to disrupt the traditional model of business by leveling the playing field for experts and amateurs alike - as more and more companies leverage its potential to their advantage which turns out, might not be beneficial for everyone involved.

Witness the upheaval afflicting the design industry, sparked by the rise of so-called “spec design” sites likecrowdSpring and 99designs. Customers post creative briefs directly to the community, which then competes to create a design that best fits the clients’ needs. A typical “assignment” will draw dozens of submissions. The winner receives a nominal fee (as little as $200), and the client receives a logo or website design at a fraction of what a professional agency might charge. The losers get zip, which goes a long way to explaining why working on spec (”on speculation,” or without guarantee of payment) has always been considered the work of last resort for writers, designers and other creative professionals.

Read more on PSFK

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