UPDATED 16:36 EDT / JUNE 15 2009

The Downside to Crowdsourcing [Google’s Free Artists]

image Recently, Edward Cruz (founder and creator of BountyStorms.com) did a series here on crowdsourcing, which encouraged big business to take a second look at crowdsourcing as an economical alternative to getting a generally higher quality product for a variety of things a business may need.

One of the things he emphasized throughout the course of his series was the need to “care and feed” the crowd.

Care and feeding of a crowd, as I sometimes jokingly refer to it, really is not a joke.  It’s one of the key challenges of crowdsourcing. Without an even playing field that benefits both crowds and crowdsourcers, a viable social and economic ecosystem can’t be built, much less sustained.  And that doesn’t bode well for crowdsourcing.

There’s a lot of talk today around the topic of Google, in light of a recent expose at the New York times, having forgotten this essential bit of the crowdsourcing equation.

Essentially, in preparation for a new release of its Chrome browser, Google recently asked dozens of illustrators to provide art skins for its Chrome browser. For free.

“While we don’t typically offer monetary compensation for these projects,” Google said in a statement, “through the positive feedback that we have heard thus far we believe these projects provide a unique and exciting opportunity for artists to display their work in front of millions of people.”

The problem, though, as Edward points out, is one of blowback. Edward offered a wide variety of case studies and examples of successful crowdsourcing in action, and all of them offered at least some sort of bounty on the picked “winner” of a crowdsourced effort.

Google didn’t – and the fact that they didn’t is only exacerbated by the fact that the company grosses billions and nets millions. That they couldn’t set aside a few hundred for a winning design is certain to reflect badly.


Since you’re here …

Show your support for our mission with our one-click subscription to our YouTube channel (below). The more subscribers we have, the more YouTube will suggest relevant enterprise and emerging technology content to you. Thanks!

Support our mission:    >>>>>>  SUBSCRIBE NOW >>>>>>  to our YouTube channel.

… We’d also like to tell you about our mission and how you can help us fulfill it. SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s business model is based on the intrinsic value of the content, not advertising. Unlike many online publications, we don’t have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.The journalism, reporting and commentary on SiliconANGLE — along with live, unscripted video from our Silicon Valley studio and globe-trotting video teams at theCUBE — take a lot of hard work, time and money. Keeping the quality high requires the support of sponsors who are aligned with our vision of ad-free journalism content.

If you like the reporting, video interviews and other ad-free content here, please take a moment to check out a sample of the video content supported by our sponsors, tweet your support, and keep coming back to SiliconANGLE.