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Podcast: Understanding crowdsourcing



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Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a function traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people using information technology. Crowdsourcing relies on a combination of distributed networks, inexpensive digital tools of production and people who create content, rate other people's work or solve problems in their spare time. To learn more about this buzzword, WhatIs.com's Alex Howard went right to the source and interviewed Jeff Howe, the writer who coined the term (in concert with editor Mark Robinson) and published this article exploring the crowdsourcing phenomenon in Wired Magazine .

When you listen to the podcast, you'll learn the answers to the following questions:

  • Where does the term "crowdsourcing" come from?
  • How does crowdsourcing work?
  • What are some real-life case studies of the phenomenon? How is Amazon's Mechanical Turk is an excellent example.of crowdsourcing?
  • What are the five new rules for this new labor pool?
  • How is crowdsourcing affecting the stock photo industry, corporate R&D, newspapers and advertising?
  • How is Second Life a pure example of crowdsourcing?
  • Where doesn't crowdsourcing work? Are fair labor concerns and protection of intellectual property at issue?


Use the Flash player above or click on the MP3 link below to listen on your PC or download to your favorite portable media player. After you listen, visit Jeff's crowdsourcing blog for updates on where and how crowdsourcing is being used, including more information about AssignmentZero .

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This was last updated in April 2007

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