Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crowdsourcing 2.0: Is it Ready for Primetime?

Over a year ago, I participated in a charity auction for my good friend (and now podcast partner), Jennifer Leggio. Also taking part in the auction were social media smarties, Chris Brogan, Geoff Livingston, Greg Verdino and Joe Jaffe. The goal of the auction was to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the five of us offering up a variety of speaking/consulting services to the highest bidder. In my case, a company called Genius Rocket ended up being the highest bidder.

I'll spare you the details on the back and forth discussion that the EVP of marketing at Genius Rocket, Peter LaMotte, and I had over how I would make good on my engagment but the net net was the video below (and a wrapper post) so that you would have a little context.

To Peter's pleasant surprise, I've spent quite a bit of time thinking and engaging in the art of crowdsourcing based on my participation in the We Are Smarter Than Me project. To that end, I was quite at ease sharing my opinions of how crowdsourcing can benefit business -- especially when it comes to outsourcing some elements of the creative process.

During the video, I cover the following topics:
  • Why I'm bullsing on crowdsourcing
  • Companies that are doing a good job at crowdsourcing
  • Reasons why crowdsourcing is becoming more mainstream
  • Considerations for doing crowdsourcing right
  • Reasons why I would consider using companies like Genius Rocket

[Update 11/23]

Following the interview that Peter and I did back in March at SXSW, Genius Rocket announced the launch of a new offering called GRSelect. What I like about this new product is that it addresses the issue of quality when it comes to crowdsourcing (something we covered during the video interview). You can see the details on how this works in the diagram below but the essence of GRSelect is that it brings the customer into the production process.

From Genius Rocket's blog announcing the product...
The new model answers the most common requests of the creative crowdsourcing world; higher awards, more feedback, and less risk. No artist that participates in a GRSelect project will go uncompensated for his or her efforts. At the same time, clients will now be active collaborators in the creative process.
While I haven't seen GRSelect in action, I like this approach a lot.

So what about you? Are you using crowdsourcing in your business? If not, what's holding you back?


  1. Did Kellog's pay you to put their box in the background, because if you did not mention that in your blog post you are in big trouble ;) Nice video.


  2. Mike - you have no idea how happy your comment makes me. Brilliant!

  3. Aaron, Thank you for the interview and the article. We believe that crowdsourcing is very much still in its infancy and as it grows and evolves it will only serve the client and creative artist more effectively. We think GRSelect is that next step in on the evolutionary path. It gives the client more interaction with the creative artist, and mitigates the risk for the the artist by assuring them any work they produce will be monetarily rewarded.

    We hope to launch our first client in the next few weeks and expect that the quality of the content will rise accordingly.

    Thanks again,
    Peter LaMotte

  4. Genius Rocket? well the name is kinda funny but overall it should be professional right? I think the quality of content is good:)

  5. Ive been following the specwork debate for months now and this concept really excites me. Genius Rocket and are the two making waves in this area.

  6. @Peter_Blackette - thanks for noticing us!

    Here's how DesignCrowd ( has addressed the problems with crowdsourcing:

    1) Crowdsourcing 2.0 - we offer crowdsourcing where everyone can get paid (so designers don't have to walk away with nothing). Customers can hand pick multiple designers who receive 'participation payments' while their project is still open to 10,000+ designers from around the world. This process helps us attract and retain higher quality designers and removes the issue of inconsistency which plagues other crowdsourcing sites. See

    2) Protection measures - designers cannot see eachother's work until the contest is finished, feedback to designers is private preventing copying and group think. See completed contests

    3) Agency crowdsourcing - rather than competing with traditional agencies, we invite them to leverage our service via a white labelled, wholesale design service. See

    Alec Lynch
    CEO | DesignCrowd