18 Ways to Earn Money From Crowdworking
17 hours ago by Aliza Sherman
With the rapid rise of crowdsourcing over the last five years since the term was coined by Jeff Howe in Wired, there has been a lot of coverage on how individuals, organizations and businesses can implement the concept into their work. Last year there was a new conference (CrowdConf), a new consortium (Crowdsortium) and a myriad of companies that offered sites, tools and platforms to get more out of the Internet masses. But what about the worker? Since crowdsourcing is making such a visible impact on the way work is done, how can professionals and creatives benefit from the crowdsourcing model? Here are 18 ideas for participating on crowdsourcing sites for perks, prizes, and, yes, even income.
1. Work for Money
Mechanical Turk If you’re up for doing small tasks that other people might find tedious, this site may be a fit for you. This micro-labor site owned by Amazon offers HITs, or “Human Intelligence Tasks” which are things that are just a little too complex to be automated. Micro-labor means you often get paid pennies per piece of a task you complete. For example, you could choose an appropriate category for an extensive list of lodgings for a penny per answer. If you respond accurately to 500, you’ve made $5.00, if you do 5,000, you’ve made $50. Another assignment comes from MIT’s Spoken Language Systems, and they’re paying 10 cents per HIT to annotate batches of photos using speech. Clickworker This is a Germany-based crowd labor site, but there is also an English version available. You can get paid to provide writing, translation, research, data processing and search engine optimization. You can work for this site if you’re in a SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) country or a valid PayPal account. Before you start as a Clickworker, you have to qualify for the task you’ve chosen to work on including a base assessment and a project assessment. Some scoring to assess your skills will happen automatically while others will require manual review from the company. Cloudcrowd Work available through Cloudcrowd includes translation and editing, data entry, image processing, Internet research, and content creation. You need a Facebook account to work for them and a PayPal account to get paid. CastingWords Can you type quickly and accurately? Maybe transcription work is your thing. If so, you can find transcription jobs that come from CastingWords. To participate, you have to sign up with Mechanical Turk where CastingWords posts all of their jobs. You can search for CastingWords to see their specific assignments. You are
paid through a bank transfer to a U.S. account or you can opt to receive Amazon.com store credit.
2. Pitch to Win Business
blur Group The blur Group offers a number of specific opportunities for crowdworkers in the fields of design, marketing, writing, photography and video. The agency helps coordinate and filter the crowd of experts. You get creative briefs, and you can pitch on creative work. You are not asked to do spec work, but instead submit a proposal or ideas. The single largest brief submitted to the site so far was for $130,000, but average projects are in the thousands. GeniusRocket Like blur Group, GeniusRocket emphasizes a no spec and no contest approach to crowdsourcing. You get paid for work you do, but you have to be chosen by the GeniusRocket team for a project. All creative submissions including written concepts are kept private to help protect your intellectual property. The
GeniusRocket staff sits between you and the client to manage the process once you’re on an assignment. You can sign up for the site now and be notified by email when their new vetted model is ready. At that time, you’ll be assessed by your body of work, your past clients, years of experience and your creative specialty. Whinot Whinot manages creative briefs for mostly marketing and business strategy projects. They also recommend the project team to the client (for which you can be considered) and the contracts and payments. You can submit ideas during a brainstorming session. The Whinot community votes on each other’s ideas to bring the best to the top. If the client opts to work with you, Whinot may provide a project manager as well. You can then interact directly with the client as part of the consulting team.
3. Contribute Ideas
If you are good at coming up with ideas, you may want to try one of these sites. Remember, there is no guarantee you will win, and you cannot “protect” the ideas you contribute.
IdeaOffer Create a free account, then peruse recent projects where people are looking for ideas. Idea topics are extremely varied and eclectic, and awards for the best answer range from $1.50 to $100, with most falling around $5 to $15. This isn’t a place to get rich quick or to get steady income, but by participating a few minutes a week here, you could score some extra change in your PayPal account. NamingForce This site focuses on creating business names, website names and product names. Creative individuals can sign up for free and access Naming Assignments ranging from about $100 to $250. The competition is stiffer here than on a smaller site like IdeaOffer, with several dozen or more submissions for each assignment, but if you have a knack for naming things, you could win a little bit more than chump change. SquadHelp While naming and branding contests aren’t the only thing SquadHelp offers, they do have a variety of opportunities to contribute to both with awards ranging from $50 to about $100 in these categories. Recent contests include coming up with a new domain name for an IT business and developing a new brand name that incorporates the word “karma.” Other SquadHelp categories include marketing and videos, testing and usability, research and advice, and web design and logos. An example of a Research and Advice contest is brainstorming ideas for features on a website (for $100).
4. Enter a Design Contest
While there continues to be a debate about whether or not designers should participate in contests (which essentially lead to spec work), there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it can be a great way to break into an industry or a market. Controversy aside, here are a few to explore. Threadless This is one of the “granddaddy” design contest sites that was cited as an example of crowdsourcing in Howe’s Wired article. Threadless lets anyone submit t-shirt designs that are then voted up by the crowd. If you are one of the weekly winners, you receive $2,000 in cash, a $500 Threadless gift certificate, and $500 in cash each time your design is reprinted. You can also enter a t-shirt slogan contest for a $500 prize, as well as designspecific challenges. 99designs You have a laundry list of design contests to enter on this popular site, including logo design, web design, business cards, icon design, WordPress themes, stationery design, brochure design, print design, t-shirt design and banner ads. According to the site, benefits of participation include reaching new clients, polishing your skills, building your portfolio and earning money. At the time of writing, there were nearly 1,000 design contests on the site with most awards ranging from $100 to $500.
Crowdspring Competition is tough over at Crowdspring where there are 88,000+ creatives vying for about 250 or so open projects at any given time. Awards can range from $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on the specific assignment. Main project categories include print design packages, logo and stationery, logo design, company naming and small websites. Prova The benefit of working at a design crowdsourcing site like Prova is less heated competition, at least for the time being. You can find contests in the area of advertisement design including logos, postcards, packaging and websites. Create My Tattoo You don’t have to be a tattoo artist to enter a custom tattoo design contest on this site. You retain the rights to your original designs if they are not accepted and removed from the site. The company behind the site takes 12% of prizes ranging from approximately $35 to $350.
5. Enter a Multimedia Contest
Poptent This site seeks individuals who want to make commercials, infomercials, branded webisodes, how-to-videos, and website videos for brands. You are under no obligation to participate, but if you do make a video to fulfill the assignment, upload it to your profile on the site and click “submit.” Poptent staff or the brand client who put out the assignment will watch the video you submitted. If accepted, Poptent then requests your tax information. If you are in the U.S., you will need to submit a W-9 form. You can then invoice Poptent and you are paid Net 30. Most prizes run into the thousands of dollars. Tongal Tongal breaks down the creative process so that you can participate in a piece of a larger project, like brainstorming ideas or taglines, shooting commercials, and creating animations or graphic designs. You can also earn money for promoting and distributing content created on the site. Project purses can range from several thousand dollars to well into the tens of thousands. Projects are often split between a number of people who are handling discrete parts of each one.
6. Get Perks
Crowdtap Looking for VIP access to brands? Looking for cool products, swag and gift cards? Join Crowdtap to provide feedback, help brands spread the word about their products, and otherwise be a brand evangelist (including throwing product-related parties). You can also support your favorite charity as 5% of everything you earn goes to a cause you select with Crowdtap matching that amount. Join via Facebook, answer polls to help build your profile of interests, view opportunities, and earn status, rewards and donations.
Regardless of which site you use to do crowdwork, make sure you understand what you’re getting into and note if the site is asking you to provide spec work via contests with no guarantee of payment or if you get paid for work rendered. Make sure to check with your tax advisor on how to handle money received through crowd contests and crowdwork.
Interested in more Crowdsourcing resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics. Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Nikada