Here are more great stories on how small businesses are using crowdsourcing to solve business challenges and executive projects more economically. Check out these stories on crowdsourcing, too.
- A great crowdsourcing resource is Cooltownstudios.com, which publishes several stories each month not only on crowdsourcing, but how crowdsourcing is being applied to placemaking (developing community-oriented places people are passionate about). According to Neil Takemoto, CEO of Cooltown, placemaking is "the difference between competitive crowdsourcing, which often gets a lot of negative feedback, and purpose-driven collaborative crowdsourcing, which inspires people as a community. One of the best recent examples is this one. I consult these kinds of projects for a living, but this latter one I'm just familiar with the guys doing it, and they mentioned that they were influenced by my site."
- Quirky is a social product development company that uses crowdsourcing to bring new consumer products to market. Quirky, launched June 2009, develops one new product a week and shares the revenue with the influencers who helped develop each product. Since its launch it has collaboratively developed 48 new products and has raised $6 million in series A financing led by RRE Ventures. Each week, Quirky engages its online community of more than 30,000 individuals from around the world to collaborate in every aspect of a product's creation -- from ideation, design, naming and marketing, to sales. Anyone can participate in this process either by submitting their own ideas, or by evaluating and contributing to others' ideas. The final product becomes available for pre-sale in Quirky's online store and if it reaches a certain sales threshold, it goes into production and becomes available worldwide. Quirky then shares its product-based revenue with all the community members that positively influenced the product.
- Jeff Epstein's company, zferral.com helps companies crowdsource their sales and marketing through affiliate programs. "Naturally, we used crowdsourcing to get our logo designed in an efficient manner," paying about $320, and getting about 100 choices to look at in just a week. The company is now planning on crowdsourcing banner ads.
- Nick Kellet, founder of the game GiftTRAP, sourced gift ideas and images for its product using crowdsourcing. "We used Creative Commons licensing to credit the sources who contributed. It's now in 12 languages globally. Creative Commons used us as a poster child of how to crowdsource and use Creative Commoins licensing to create a commercial product," Kellet notes.
- Marc Pitman, who runs The Fundraising Coach website to help people raise money for causes, came up with the title of his first book, "Ask Without Fear," using crowdsourcing techniques. "I didn't pay anything," he notes. "I used my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to direct people to a Survey Monkey survey. It would've cost thousands of dollars to get a marketing firm to create the kind of buzz my 'help me name this book' contests created. I was thrilled with the outcome. Not only did it help me sell books, despite being a first-time author, it also helped me come up with a much better title for my book. I love crowdsourcing. I've just used crowdsourcing to help me lay out a plan for rebranding one of my websites. And I will use it again in the coming months to help me name a new DVD-based fundraising training I'm working on."