Question: Where would you go if you needed to find hundreds of people each willing to take on a tiny portio…

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Jun 13, 2022



Question: Where would you go if you needed to find hundreds of people each willing to take on a tiny portio…

by | Jun 13, 2022 | Questions & Answers

Where would you go if you needed to find hundreds of people each
willing to take on a tiny portion of a large task for minimal pay?
Projects like these include filling out surveys, verifying or
entering data, writing articles, and transcribing audio files. They
are increasingly common in the digital age, so you might turn to an
online marketplace such as, CrowdFlower, or
Amazon’ s Mechanical Turk where people around the globe go to find
work. Daniel Maloney, an AOL executive, recently turned to
crowdsourcing for help inventorying AOL ’ s vast video library.
(Note: This definition of crowdsourcing differs from the one used
in Chapter 5 as a way to spur innovation.) He broke the large job
into microtasks and described the tasks that he needed to be done
on Mechanical Turk. In particular, each worker was asked to find
Web pages containing a video and identify the video ’ s source and
location on those pages. The over one‐half million workers that
were registered at Mechanical Turk could read about the tasks and
decide if they wanted to perform them. Using the crowdsourcing
service, the AOL project took less than a week to get up and
running and only a couple of months to reach completion. The total
cost was about as much as it would have been to hire two temp
workers for the same period. Maloney was pleased with the cost
savings and added, “We had a very high number of pages we needed to
process. Being able to tap into a scaled work force was massively
helpful.” 48 However, he really did not know very much about the
workers who did the work for AOL, and he likely had to make sure
that their work was done correctly. Critics of crowdsourcing feel
it can lead to “digital sweatshops,” where workers, many of whom
may be underage, put in long hours to generate very little pay and
no benefits. Some also believe that crowdsourcing will eliminate
full‐time jobs. The crowdsourcing marketplace services counter that
they are trying to register stay‐at‐home parents or college
students with spare time. Discussion Questions 1. Is crowdsourcing
as used by AOL a form of outsourcing? Why or why not? 2. What steps
do you think Maloney might have taken to ensure that the
crowdsourcing would be a success for the inventory project? 3. What
factors should be considered when deciding whether to crowdsource a
particular part of a business? 4. Describe the advantages and
disadvantages of crowdsourcing.


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