2,528 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Are competition-based creative crowdsourcing platforms a fair predictor of where things might be headed in the world of crowdsourcing? Perhaps, the start of a movement in high-volume competition platforms is a predictor that we are entering the next phase in the evolution of creative crowdsourcing with the rise of the digital intermediary.
Ask newbies what crowdsourcing is and they'll tell you they are sites where, for a few hundred dollars, you can get loads of designers to submit ideas on spec for a logo and you get to choose the best. This is often the home office entrepreneur’s or SMB owner’s first introduction to crowdsourcing. Of course, it all starts with the logo! We all know the true metric for the conversion rate from business idea to new business launch isn't how many registered businesses are still operating three years after incorporation, but how many created logos end up as registered marks. We have all been there: the first manifestation of the "new great business idea" is the $7.95 you spend on the URL with GoDaddy quickly followed by the logo from CrowdSpring or 99Designs if you live in the US; JadeMagnet if you live in India; or zhubajie if you live in China!
A competition-based crowdsourcing platform for creative work is a natural application for crowdsourcing but we will have to see over the long-term how viable they are! Sure, they will have their place but can they scale and will they be a catalytic force that will fundamentally impact the structure of the creative design industry?
The challenges facing such platforms are numerous: how many designers can really make a sustainable income out of spec work; are the active participants in the communities mostly design professionals or largely hobbyists or creative wannabes; are the number of returning creatives growing at a proportionally faster rate than the growth in the community; is the model driving general levels of quality higher or lower?
A number of the early pioneers in the field of creative crowdsourcing who have been testing new models of engagement are moving towards full adoption. Abandoning 100% spec models, other models are emerging. Genius Rocket had been trialing a premium service called “Select Service” where it acted as the intermediary between the client’s brief and the selection of qualified creatives. Next week, Genius Rocket will launch its Curated Crowdsourcing service as a new “better, more effective way of conducting creative crowdsourcing”.
Comparing Curated Crowdsourcing to crowdsourcing is like comparing Chemistry.com to Match.com. Under the new model, Genius Rocket will match the client’s brief and brand with the most suitable and most qualified talent and ensure that the most inspired concepts surface. The client is assured, for a little extra money, that an in-house creative account team reviews their goals, crafts a solid creative brief, and manages each project.
For the creative artist interested in the new “no-spec” based process, and if they apply and are accepted, they become a member of the vetted community. Each has a chance of being selected for a project and everyone who creates media content receives payment for their efforts.
Victors and Spoils’ primary model is based on an agency-type service with an extended crowdsourced creative team. The in-house creative team acts as the digital intermediary between client and creative. Catering to the needs of big brands, it feels like a top ad-agency by establishing the project’s strategic direction, providing engagement management and managing the client relationship, but also produces the engagement, cultural relevance, results and return on investment that crowdsourcing can deliver. Interestingly, V&S have also just introduced a simpler version of their platform called “The Squirrel Fight” where non-ranked creatives can work on simple projects yet V&S still provides a level of direction to both the client and the creatives.
The presence of a team of specialists that can broker the engagement between a client and the digital workforce for lower volume, higher-value crowdsourcing initiatives has long been the norm. Sites such as innocentive and ArticleOne Partners have always operated this way, driven by the need for a greater level of client intimacy required to meet the more elaborate and intricate requirements of more complex projects. However, it seems that we may be observing the rise of digital intermediary in areas of crowdsourcing that have otherwise relied upon Sturgeon’s Law - that the 10% of work that isn’t crud will rise to the top!