Web Trend: Crowdsourcing

If two heads are better than one, imagine the collective intelligence of the global population. This is crowdsourcing at its best.

Crowdsourcing is more than just a buzzword in 2013. It’s a process revolutionizing business and personal worlds alike. What better way to take advantage of the participatory culture of the twenty-first century than distributed problem solving outsourced to the world at large?

Limitations of who you know or even where you live no longer exist. Sites like Answers.com might pop to mind, but simple Q & A message boards just scratch the digital surface.


Sourcing Talent

Freelancing just became a bit less intimidating. Crowdflower, Elance.comAmazon Mechanical Turk, and countless similar sites optimize the possibilities of crowdsourcing to connect skilled workers with the marketplace. Businesses across the globe need extra hands, and the talent pool is rich when you know where to find it. To take it a step further, there are even sites like TaskMonkey.com enabling to-do lists to grow shorter by finding available errand runners in your own city. From web developers to bloggers to someone who will pick up donuts for the break-room and your dry cleaning, a network of possibilities is expanding every day.

Open Innovation

And the growing resources of crowdsourcing aren’t just limited to paid talent. Scientists and researchers across the disciplines have opened up quandaries and conundrums to the world at large to amazing outcomes. For example, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search challenges mathematicians to find the largest known prime number (the most recent find being on January 25th of this year –  a 17,425,170 digit number); Whale.fm has enlisted listeners to group similar whale sounds in effort to understand marine mammal dialects and call meanings; Recaptcha protects sites from spam and helps to digitize books, newspapers, and old time radio shows; SETILive shares live radio frequencies from the Allen Telescope Array allowing the public to join in on the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. The list goes on and on, and this is surely just the beginning.


A collaboration of minds enables people to take their ideas further, but crowdfunding allows for those ideas to gather steam. In a tough economy, finding donors is an obstacle that holds back researchers, artists, and entrepreneurs alike. New financing leads can be a blessing, and now there is a lead with limitless resources. Since the 2009 launch of Kickstarter, $450 million has been pledged toward over 35,000 initiatives. Included in this was the record breaking Pebble E-Paper Watch that raised $10 million alone. Of course, not all crowd-funding campaigns (or sites) are this successful, but the variety of projects finding financial assistance shows off the diversity and generosity of the 21st century world.

As we’ve mentioned before, at Petrofy, we’ve embraced open source code from WordPress to the Magento. This crowdsourcing mentality is at the core of Internet, business, and personal development in 2013. Whatever your needs, your brain-trust has expanded exponentially.