The term crowdsourcing is a portmanteau (fusion of two words) of "crowd" and "outsourcing".
Crowdsourcing is when companies and organizations collect ideas from the general public and use them. The earliest example is when the Oxford English Dictionary made an open call to the public to help index words. They received more then six million submissions over seventy years.
Crowdsourcing today is mainly on the internet, which is beneficial because people are more comfortable sharing and more attention is given to the project than communicating with individuals.
Types of crowdsourcing:
This is when a website gathers a group of people's opinions on a topic or object to ensure accuracy with product sales, politics and the like. For example:
- Threadless.com has users vote on T-Shirt designs which are then printed and sold, making a totally user controlled product range.
- The Star Wars parody webcomic Blue Milk Special frequently runs polls about the Star Wars universe for its readers and recently decided to parody the spin-off media "Shadows of the Empire" due to a poll they ran.
This is when individuals get together over the internet and put their funding into efforts commenced by other individuals or organizations and charities. For example:
-Various activities and pursuits benefit from crowdfunding, such as disaster relief, street journalism (bloggers, self-run newspapers), free software development, independent film development and support of artists by their fans on sites like DeviantArt, RedBubble e.t.c.
- It also refers to companies funding themselves by selling small amounts of equity to investors. This was recently noticed by policymakers, and the JOBS Act, which allows a larger range of investors and lessens restrictions, was signed on by President Obama on April 5 2012.