E-business is constantly evolving. The crowdsourcing model with its internet rich community of volunteers and followers has proven to be a platform that will enhance e-business development. As defined by wikipedia.org, “Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community, through an open call”.
An example of this is Wikipedia.org itself. Wikipedia.org is an online free encyclopedia where anyone and everyone is invited to participate. In doing so, the “crowd” has become the author of the largest encyclopedia to date. At the time of this writing, there exist 3,384,039 articles in English alone. This is just since 2001 when Wikipedia was first launched by its founders.
Wikipedia.org paved the way for many other peers to peer sites and opening the ebusiness world up to a multitude of possibilities.
Crowdsourcing has developed a new opportunity for ebusiness owners who want to showcase their expertise. WikiHow for example, a How-to encyclopedia created for and by the crowd allows you to learn about different techniques and articles.
The site ranges from, How to win big in Vegas to how to knit your baby’s first sweater. eBay created ebaywiki where it educates its members on “buying and selling photography” (find another example)
What is fascinating about this particular business model is the drive so many have to contribute. Wikipedia and many others, which use crowdsourcing as their model for growth have grown exponentially in the last few years and many believe the trend is here to stay.
Crowdsourcing, sustains itself on trust and purpose, making this a true paradigm shift for the economic belief that people are driven by monetary compensation.
The community “trusts” its members because they know those who contribute (for the most part) are driven by passion and not monetary gain. BitTorrent, for example, is a social site which helps people share music from one another.
Music unites people and having the ability to tap into music experts in order to discover new artists and music genres is a luxury even the deafest tone person can appreciate because through the wisdom of crowds comes the increased wisdom of each individual community member.
We now live in the age of Transparency. Buyers are more educated because their knowledge base has increased through the interaction of online communities writing reviews, answering questions for one another.
Consumers are now more apt to research forums to get the inside “scoop” on products and their developments. Companies have become savvier to this trend and have now begun interacting with their customers online.
Developers are beginning to interact with their “fans” online and involving them in the production process. And when the crowd feels heard acknowledged and looked after… the lines start forming. Buyers are literally waiting in line or should I say “on-line” for products to come out of production. The production they have been in the trenches with, with products they have helped develop. Along the way building loyalty for the companies’ brand and product line.
Crowdsourcing is the perfect integration of online and offline merging together in the development of e-business.