Crowdsourcing in the broadest sense will be one of the fundamental platforms of the emerging network economy. As such it’s pleasing to see that Australia is becoming a hub for a number of the most significant crowdsourcing platforms globally.
I caught up with Alec Lynch of DesignCrowd yesterday for an interesting conversation about the crowdsourcing space and thought it was worth giving a quick pointer to the three main platforms run out of Australia (though all are global in scope).
Freelancer.com, was founded in Sweden as getafreelancer.com in 2004. I first wrote about it in 2005 in an overview of the space. For many years it was the dominant online services exchange in Europe, and one of the top three globally. In May 2009 it was bought by Australian company Ignition Networks, which also acquired the domain Freelancer.com. The company is run by veteran tech entrepreneur Matt Barrie, who most recently founded and ran specialty processor firm Sensory Networks Inc.
The other two major crowdsourcing sites in Australia have been the global leaders in prize-driven design sites.
99designs has clients set a design brief and budget, and then provide feedback to designers during the design phase, ultimately selecting a winner who is awarded the full budget. It has been very successful though its model has many detractors in the design community. I wrote a post titled 9 practical steps to getting great outsourced design on 99designs reflecting on my experiences using the site.
DesignCrowd began life as DesignBay, using a similar prize-driven model to 99designs. Late last year it acquired the US company DesignCrowd and adopted its name. DesignCrowd is using more nuanced approaches to awarding prizes, including giving second place prizes and participation payments.
Crowdsourcing is an extremely dynamic space. It will be interesting to see whether these and other Australian companies will grow their presence in the market. Certainly let me know if there are other companies I should be aware of.
I will be sharing more perspectives on crowdsourcing over the next little while, including an overview and taxonomy of the global crowdsourcing space.