Etsy – selling crafts online

Etsy, in a nutshell is a website that connects sellers and buyers on the field of handmade products, vintage and crafts. A long time ago people who wanted to buy crafts had to go to markets there were held not that often and had to have the luck that someone was selling what they were looking for. These times are passed now that Etsy is online. On this platforms sellers can put their products on the website for $0,20 and only 3,5% of the selling price goes to Etsy. There are sellers who make crafts or vintage in a wide range, from jewels till special handmade cutting boards. The buyers are people who search for something special and find it here as all products are one of a kind and/or handmade.

– hipster behind a Macbook –

The search for something that is unique is something that a lot of people want these days, there are certain social groups where this is very important (of course the hipster community: This is in line what Saarijärvi et al. (2013) wrote about value co-creation; customers demand a more active role in production. Buyers are proud of what they found via this website. Not only the big and well known artists are there to buy, but there is a lot of room for small sellers for example girls that make their own juwelery in their room sell their crafts here (very pretty: ). Continue reading Etsy – selling crafts online

Crowdsourcing as a tool during disasters

The start of the internet era opened a lot of opportunities for people all over the world. People contact each other by social media and news sites can make use of these resources to spread the news of happenings in the world. If a disaster happens at the other side of the world, within a short time the whole world knows of this. The way people respond to disasters is changed because of the internet1. People are more willing to donate money, resources, food and clothing to charity organizations which work in these disaster area’s because of the shared online images and messages1. Because it happens by internet, it is a form of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is defined as the act of taking a challenge faced by a firm, organization or individual and […] where the firm, organization or individual broadcasts an open call to other individuals […] to solve this challenge2,3. One example of the use of crowdsourcing during disasters is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor breakdown in Japan. Crowdsourcing platforms started to make maps of the radiation level in Japan and even on the west-coast of the US, where individuals measure these radiation and send them to the platforms4. This gave the citizens of Japan insight in how save it is for them to stay in their home town or if it was better to move to a place with less radiation. Another example is the use of these crowd-sourced maps to give relief workers a clear picture of the current situation, as it was done in Japan after the earthquake5 and after the typhoon in the Philippines in 20131. Continue reading Crowdsourcing as a tool during disasters A Foodies Paradise using Excellent Recommendation Agents

I recently came across an online platform that foodies (like myself) will absolutely love: This online food platform brings together recipes from all over the web to create the ultimate online cookbook. Searching for recipes that exactly match your taste and needs of the occasion, has never been easier!  Ok, so maybe I am a little behind on the facts, this yummy food platform was created in 2009 and has become the fastest growing food site in the world, with over 15 million users today.

So what is Yummly exactly?  According to their website:

Yummly was launched in 2010 by foodies on  a mission to invent the ultimate kitchen tool. Whether it’s finding a recipe or going to the store, Yummly wants to make it easier for foodies to do what they love – Cook, eat and share! Yummly’s mission is to be the world’s largest, most powerful, and most helpful food site in the World.

Funny fact: founder and CEO Dave Feller got the idea for Yummly because he couldn’t find a way to easily search for recipes that include mustard!

So what has been the success factor of this new platform, that has made it better than the many other recipe websites?

Continue reading A Foodies Paradise using Excellent Recommendation Agents

The Social Gaming Revolution

Video game industry is changing fast. More than changing, it is expanding to new unexploited segments of the market. Since the 70’s, video games have being increasing in complexity, both in graphics and playability. The first video games, like spaces invaders were no more than a handful of dots gathered in a way that reminded you a spacecraft. Right now, video games such as GTA display near to reality graphics in huge virtual worlds. Also the learning curve to play those games became bigger, making almost impossible to fully control the game.

All this features are highly appreciated by hardcore customers, but they leave out of the industry basically everyone else. This left unexploited a huge segment of the population that also happened to be the segment with the highest purchasing power. With this in mind, Marc Pincus creates Zynga in 2007, one of the first social videogame companies and without any doubt, the most successful. The proposition? Easy to play games with simple graphics. The business model? Freemium: free to play games with premium content only accessible by payment.


Continue reading The Social Gaming Revolution

TagTagCity, a Smart Two-Sided Platform

TagTagCity is a recent start-up launched by the cofounder Geoffroy Simon in Brussels in 2011. The idea is born considering the fact that it’s quite complicated and time demanding to obtain sufficient and relevant information about a city, such as the location and basic information about restaurants, hotels, shopping, culture and touristic places, etc. This problem is encountered either by tourists visiting a city, or simply by citizens living in a city. Even though loads of information is actually available, either on guidebooks, on tourist brochures, on diverse websites or simply using word of mouth, it may often become very inconvenient and difficult to use and integrate all these different sources of information while walking on the streets of a city. TagTagCity brought in an efficient solution to that particular problem.


Their main idea was to centralise all this information on a single world map, online. This idea resulted in the implementation of a two-sided online platform presented in the form of a Google world map. On the first hand, any business owners could tag the location and basic information about his business on the map for free. On the other hand, any user could simply go on the website,access the map for free, and benefits from all the information tagged on it. The users has two basic options, either he enters a specific place in the world to check on the map, or he asks the website to localize himself to check nice places around him. Continue reading TagTagCity, a Smart Two-Sided Platform

No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else


Crowdsourcing has been gaining relevance in recent years, mostly because it allows firms to outsource efficiently and to challenge the inertia they face internally through new ways of innovating and customers’ involvement in new product development. However, this does not preclude organizations whose reputation and fame is based on their talent’s pools and ability to innovate from benefitting from crowdsourcing.

One of such cases involves Harvard University and Topcoder, while the first organization hardly needs a presentation the second one is a crowdsourcing platform whose community is beyond 600.000 specialists in computer programming. Continue reading No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else

Barter your holidays!

Because of the economic crisis Italian travelers have less money to spend, while the B&Bs are increasingly threatened by cheaper options of room – or even couch – sharing. But there is plenty of opportunities where creativity exists, and today the holidays are object of barter.barter-may-1

“La settimana del baratto” (literally, “the barter week”) takes place in Italy once per year and gathers around 2000 B&Bs, which offer rooms in exchange of goods or services. By giving away your old books of literature, you can spend a weekend in a B&B located in Tuscany, as doing some plumber’ repairs will allow you to sojourn one night in a nice countryside near Rome. Started as a time-limited event of one week, it became a permanent opportunity which sees the participation of around 800 B&Bs. Continue reading Barter your holidays!

Nuffnang: Explore the potentials of the Blogosphere!

Recently, more and more blogs are flooding the cyberspace. From its traditional notion as a platform to share personal ramblings, blogs have now become a popular way of information sharing. From the new hype restaurants in town, the newly launched gadgets, to places to go abroad, all kind of information can be found in blogs. Readers acknowledge blogs for their information sources often because they perceive that the contents provide a first-hand experience of someone who is similar to them. Similarity draws people together and grows a sense of liking, which in turn increases the level of trust among them (Cialdini, 2001). Take my case for example. I found myself following a few bloggers whose words I trust for product reviews and recommendations because I feel that they are similar with me, in terms of age, preference, and lifestyle.

The growing popularity of blogs has now evolved into a new marketing tool used to advertise products or services. Advertisers started to acknowledge the influence of bloggers and turned blogging into an activity that pays. Having such business potentials has undoubtedly boosted the popularity of blogging phenomenon. Not only the bloggers could continue doing what they like, they could also earn money out of it. However, what are the odds that a blogger could earn money out of their postings?

To begin with, a blog needs to be popular enough to achieve a certain reach for advertisers to be willing to invest in it. Some popular blogs like engadget.comSmashing have millions of reader and already full-scale business  (See: Top Earning Blogs – Make Money Online Blogging). But, let’s put these established-business scale blogs aside. What I’m interested here is more on individual bloggers like (perhaps) me and you. How could a relatively novice blogger have enough offering for the advertisers? Continue reading Nuffnang: Explore the potentials of the Blogosphere!

Crowdsourcing education with Codecademy


Over the years education has seen a lot, and at the same time little change. One of the initiatives that seems very succesful in redesigning the shape of 21st century education is the Codecademy. But its more than just a philantropic endeavour…

Founded in August 2011 by Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski, the platform started with free online tutorials in which anyone could start to learn JavaScript. Soon after its start it had already attracted about half a million users and already a thousand developers had added content to the website. The Codecademy has grown extensively, and more than 24 millions of users today. Now Codecademy also provides tutorials in the programming languages jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby, and the markup languages CSS and HTML. Over the years not only the amount of programming languages increased, the amount of courses grew into thousands. Now the Codecademy also found its way to the mobile apps for iPhone and iPad providing the possibility to learn to code wherever you go.

How does it work?
Continue reading Crowdsourcing education with Codecademy

Power to the People

Thunderclap (1): A crowdspeaking platform that enables individuals with ideas to gather support from the public and shout out their message to the world, ready to be picked up by governments or companies (but it’s also just a good marketing tool!). The #1 example? Phonebloks. As a message from Dave Hakkens, his Phonebloks Thunderclap gathered almost one million supporters before its due date. The result? At the same day the Thunderclap was sent out, Project Phonebloks was picked up by Motorola and is now being developed (under the name Project Ara) by the infamous Google X. Talk about success. Sometimes all you need to do is gather enough supporters so your idea can get the attention it deserves. Thunderclap enables this and makes sure that good ideas, innovative ideas, crowdsupported ideas, get to those that can develop it.

Turn this idea upside down and we’re talking about Google’s Play Store (2). Bring those that can develop applications an open source platform and within no time you will have a monster load of applications on any subject and of any quality. Regulation is minimized and this ensures an almost instantaneous time-to-market when the app is submitted for publishing. The crowd is used for app rating and as a back-up check to make sure the app isn’t malicious. Only when a certain amount of complaints is reached will Google step in.

Continue reading Power to the People

A New Approach to Product Discounts

What if the next time you went to the local supermarket in order to do your groceries you would receive a discount on your favorite brand of cereals or beer? How about if you received a discount for chicken meat, but you’re a vegetarian? Two supermarket chains from the United States, Safeway and Kroger have come up with a way of tailoring discount coupons to each customer according to their shopping history. As soon as you swipe your loyalty card when paying, the system records your shopping list and a complex algorithm uses it, along with all the previous ones, in order to generate product offers that would interest you.

As such, the next time you go shopping for pasta, you might get a discount for the specific type of pasta that you like, or a discount for another type, but produced by the same company, if the system detects that you have a strong loyalty to the brand. At the same time, the algorithm ensures that you are never given discounts for products or brands that your shopping history indicates that you have a low chance of choosing.

Continue reading A New Approach to Product Discounts

Mass Customization: Just Upsides?

Mass customization is becoming more and more trendy. An increasing number of companies turn their products into customizable ones to attract customers that seek uniqueness, but are they all successful? Also, are there only advantages to this? Nike, Ikea and Dell did it; but when and where do companies stop? These are all questions we try to answer in our mini-case.


First, why is mass customization such a sought feature? Well, if handled correctly, it’s a win-win concept for both customers and companies. Thus, the customer receives a product which fits better his/her needs, while the company gets great insight into what its customers want. Aside from choosing a suited market and/or product, handling mass customization correctly means following 5 principles:
deciding whether the customization process focuses on needs or parameters, providing the starting point, offering the possibility for incremental refinements, creating prototypes to be tested by consumers in order to avoid surprises and teaching the consumer about the product [1].

Continue reading Mass Customization: Just Upsides?

Crowdsourcing Takes Off!

Airbus A380 for Blog Post

Crowdsourcing can be defined as the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2006). The motivations for people could be intrinsic or extrinsic or a combination of both. Two examples were highlighted to exemplify crowdsourcing, illustrate the different motivations behind them and to discuss their relevance and success levels.

The first example was Tomnod.  A Boeing 777 disappeared into the ocean in flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines on March 8th. Due to the large search area of the ocean, the search was an overwhelming task. Therefore, to make the search faster, a satellite imaging company, Digital Globe, launched an online platform called Tomnod. Continue reading Crowdsourcing Takes Off!



Ever heard about Criteo? No? Maybe the reason for that is because it is mainly involved in B to B deals. However the expertise of this company is very present in your everyday life and you help the developing their product almost every time you go on the internet. But before going into details lets quickly go through its overview; Criteo is a French company that has been founded by three engineers in 2005. Today it is listed on the NASDAQ and made 444M€ revenues in 2013, it has more than 700 employees and more than 4000 collaborators. It operates in more than 37 different countries and has offices in 15 different countries.

What made the success of the company at its beginning is the algorithm they developed; this algorithm is able to track consumers’ habits on the Internet. So, what is the difference with any other matchmaker? It is different in the fact that tracking is not the finality of Criteo; indeed, once it has collected enough data concerning your habits, Criteo uses them to make a forecast of your next probable purchase intentions. Continue reading Criteo

Priceline: A Two-Way Price Interaction

Ever wished you could name your own price for a flight or hotel? For those who have the urge to secure the best deals offers the perfect platform.

While — yes, the one with the annoying father—daughter commercials — enjoys a well established position in the travel industry in the United States, parts of Europe’s mainland are still waiting for their own version of the “name-your-price” travel website. Hence, it is interesting to briefly consider the ingredients behind the success of in the U.S.

With services ranging from a car rental interface to cruise bookings, offers a platform for both professional and leisure travelers to connect with offering companies. While this is nothing special these days, the ‘name your own price’ function that the website boasts offers a unique opportunity to interact with the offering travel companies: it allows the user to set a price for a particular service. Continue reading Priceline: A Two-Way Price Interaction

Burberry, the trench has gone digital

How to transform a “dusty” old-fashioned luxury brand into a pioneer of the digital world?

There are not many things that could be considered more cult than the trench; the British fashion house’s trademark coat with the characteristic tartan pattern. For most people, Burberry is the ultimate synonym to tradition and heritage. However, since 2009, with the guidance of its former CEO Angela Ahrendts who has now –not surprisingly- moved to Apple as retail chief, the luxury brand has managed to walk and not fall from the runway towards the digital kingdom. Burberry, through its innovative, as far as luxury brands is concerned, approach has managed to relate to the younger generation.

The first step was the realization that brand owners apart from just offering value, they co-create value with inputs and influence from customers and other parties to achieve value sought in terms of exclusivity, recognition, access to privileged information and prestige (Tynan, McKechnie and Chhuon, 2010). But how did Burberry manage to do it a reality? Mainly, by taking advantage of the opportunities that the online marketing offers. With their most popular item, the now iconic, trench coat as the central point and the brand’s website as the vehicle, Burberry applied two well-known techniques; mass-customization and crowdsourcing.

Art of The Trench


Continue reading Burberry, the trench has gone digital

Having your favorite masterpieces at home


The Netherlands is known for some of the greatest museums. Institutions that have been present for ages but museums are more than ever struggling; with the technological changes it became more and more difficult to get people to visit museums.

Following the trend of more active customers, museums also engaged customers in their new product processes, with the ‘product’ being a new exhibition, a new outline of the museum, or a new collection bought. In her book ‘The Participatory Museum’, Simon (2009) lays down these different types of co-creation with visitors.

This year the Rijksmuseum took another approach in co-creation. With the renovation, the Rijksmuseum decided to digitalize a great part of her collection. With the re-opening of the museum the website the Rijksstudio was set up. The website holds more than 150,000 works of art (masterpieces to be exact!) that can be ‘liked’, zoomed in on but most of all can be downloaded to be used in your own creations. The entire online collection is available in pin-sharp clarity and copyright-free.

Continue reading Having your favorite masterpieces at home

Darahkubiru: Behind a Community Platform

Started as a platform to virtually connect with other denim enthusiasts in Indonesia, Darahkubiru has gained popularity as a trustworthy source to gather many denim-related product reviews. Later on the owner decided to start a company based on the website.


Since 2009, Darahkubiru has been providing many interesting articles regarding denim and other fashion products, ranging from interviews with local brand owners to a proper product treatment. The primary purpose of this website is simply to attract Indonesian youngster to the world of denim as a lifestyle instead of solely about fashion statement ( After being online for several months and dozens of positive feedback given by its readers, the owner released a forum section in the website to better accommodate the readers communication with fellow denim geek. In the forum, registered users are able to exchange views, comments, and passion about certain product. Within 5 years, the website managed to attract a staggering 16,312 users.

Then how do they gain profit??

Continue reading Darahkubiru: Behind a Community Platform

Donors Choose

According to the Oxford dictionary, Crowdsource refers to an action in which an individual or a group of individuals “Obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet” (1).

Nowadays, there are many types of crowdsourcing, perhaps one of the most popular one is crowdfunding. In which individuals or companies fund their projects by the contribution of small amount of money of a large amount of people, usually via the internet.

One of the most innovative companies in 2014, according to the Fast Company, is, an online charity site, in which teachers from a public school of any part of the United States of America can post a request for materials that students need for their education. Once published in the website anybody who visits the website can contribute to any project.

Continue reading Donors Choose

The World Wide Wedding Web: Curse or Gift?

A wedding ceremony is one of the oldest traditions. Every culture around the world celebrates a union of love. We have seen wedding ceremonies evolve throughout the years; from a traditional religious wedding to a destination wedding, an engagement photo shoot to a wedding video presentation. In the digitized world, the wedding industry has taken yet another turn. There are many wedding platforms on the Internet that offer service for planning a wedding. These platforms offer value co-creation between consumers and vendors/merchandisers.

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Recently, especially in the US, wedding websites have become very popular among the couples. Continue reading The World Wide Wedding Web: Curse or Gift?