Crowdsourcing, sleazy new word for sleazy old scam.


As I was reading the articles, the blog and the information that search engines provide on consumer behavior, mass customization and crowdsourcing I came across many reasons for and benefits of putting the consumer in charge of the decision-making-process. We learn how crowdsourcing reduces risk of failure, boosts brand resonance and even creates word-of-mouth. What an amazingly happy world from the firm’s point of view.

And consumers, they are at least just as satisfied. Now they actually get the chance to design what they want, earn money with their hobbies and feel the fulfillment of consuming their own creations.

Just look at this video of Zazzle. Look at the happy faces.

When I almost started believing that everybody in this world is pleased with the hype of crowd sourcing, I came across the following text. I find it very nice to see more than just one angle of the story.

By Bill Casselman
Crowd sourcing

Crowdsourcing is getting low-pay or no-pay outside amateurs to do company work. Coined in June 2006 in the pages of Wired magazine by writer Jeff Howe and editor Mark Robinson, the word was formed by analogy with the term outsourcing. But crowdsourcing is offloading a task to a large audience outside the company, so that the company does not have to pay regular employees to perform the task.

You will see in the corporate come-hither advertisements ( The consumer is the creator! Wheeeeeeeee!) written to encourage you to take part in crowdsourcing that huge benefits in personal creativity and imagination and perhaps a modest payment will accrue to you, the hapless schnook asked to do the corporate work for next to nothing. Well, if you believe that, you are a schnook. What the corporation is really doing is tricking you into doing company work for little or no pay.
A Business Concept as Old as Suckers

The word crowdsourcing may be new but the concept is as old as P. T. Barnum. You remember P.T? He’s the American sharper who invented the freak show, the department store and the three-ring circus. Barnum’s most famous utterance? “There’s a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.” To which that spry iconoclast H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) added: “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

Fascinating marketing concept and at such a low cost! You get the customers to come up with ideas for you and then you fob them off with chump change and loose pennies.

(for the entire text, go to the following link;)http://www.billcasselman.com/unpublished_works/crowdsourcing.htm

Mahrou Kharazi

One thought on “Crowdsourcing, sleazy new word for sleazy old scam.”

  1. Thanks Mahrou!! Great post!! It is very interesting to see the other side of the coin!!

    Although personally I believe it seems like a conspiracy theory (see: a bit exaggerating), I enjoy it when these voices raise to challenge the benevolence of the companies.

    But in the end of the day, either you give incentives and rewards or not, it’s the consumers who are willing to participate!! You can not take this right from their hands, right?

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