Table of Contents

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing

by Aliza Sherman

Table of Contents


How the book is broken down and how it can help you run successful crowdsourcing campaigns. 


Part One:

Crowdsourcing Your Way to Results


Chapter 1

Crowdsourcing Gets Things Done


A Brief History of Crowdsourcing

Ways to Crowdsource

Communities of Crowdsourcing

How Does Crowdsourcing Happen?

The Upsides of Crowdsourcing

Potential Pitfalls Sourcing Crowds

Crowdsourcing Applications

Crowds For Work

Crowds For Input

Crowds For Organizing

The “Co-Creation” Debate

Power in Numbers


Chapter 2

The Psychology of Crowds


The Brains of Crowds

Who’s Your Crowd?

Why People Sign On

Generate Income

Build a Portfolio

Work Virtually

Overcome Limitations

What Crowds Expect

Incentives for Crowds

Monetary Motivation

In-kind Consideration

Reputation Enhancement

Understand Crowd Influence


Chapter 3

Define Your Projects


Let’s Get started

Specify Your Goals

Clear Objectives Rule

Break Down Your Tasks

Crunch The Numbers

Costs of Traditional Labor

Opportunity Costs

Cost of Not Doing It

Envision Your Outcome

Confirm You Should Crowdsource

Manage Your Expectations

Short and Long-Term Success

Pick Your Crowdsourcing Solutions

The Right Companies and Sites

Fee-based Versus Free Sites

Quality Assurance Controls

Projects You Shouldn’t Crowdsource


Chapter 4

Do-It-Yourself Crowdsourcing


Your Do-It-Yourself Toolkit

Using Forms and Spreadsheets

Using Surveys and Polls

Using Databases

Leveraging a Crowd

Crowd Response Rates

Places to Crowdsource

Web-Based Online Communities

Social Networks

Collaborative Spaces

Execute Your Process

Map Out Your Steps

Set Up Your Tools

Gather a Crowd

Manage Your Crowd

Analyze the Results


 Chapter 5

Outsourcing Your Crowdsourcing


When It’s Time to Outsource

Who Provides Crowdsourcing Services?

When Not to Outsource

Costs of Outsourced Crowdsourcing

Partner With the Contractor

Define Everyone’s Roles

Get a Clear Process

Maintain High Level Oversight

Assess the Results


Part Two:

Crowdsourcing for Feedback and Input


Chapter 6

Build a Private Crowdsourcing Community


Managing Online Communities

Online Communities as Gardens

Liabilities and Legal Headaches

Policing Crowds

Resource and Time Drain

Plan Your Crowd Community

Establish a Community Purpose

Set Community Guidelines

Provide Terms of Use

Privacy and Security Policies

Community Building Tools

Using Ning

Using Google Groups

Using Grouply

Other Community-Building Platforms

Leverage Your Crowd Community

Invite Others to Join

Spur Community Participation

Crowdsourcing Conversations

Crowdsourcing Etiquette

When the Size Isn’t Right


Chapter 7

New Product Development


Crowdsource Product Input

When to Ask for Input

Improve Existing Products

Source New Product Ideas

Examples of Crowdsourced Products

Crowdsourcing Goods

Crowdsourcing Services

Try an Idea Generation Site

Social Product Development

Social Idea Generation

Put Customer Input to Use

Legal Issues of Ownership

Creators as Marketors

Customers as Creators


Chapter 8

Employee Crowdsourcing Communities


Your Employees as Your Crowd

Reach Out Securely

Reach Virtual Workers

What to Crowdsourcing Internally

Company-wide Crowdsourcing Toolkit

Collaborative Workspaces

Real-Time Communications Tools

In-House Surveys and Polls

Create a “Safe” Space

Avoid “Groupthink”

Foster Inhouse Crowd Collaboration

Sharing Outcomes

Empower Your Team


Chapter 9

Going to Crowds for Answers


When Crowd Answers Count

Craft the Right Question

Sample Question Formats

Caveats to Crowdsourcing Answers

Tools for Sourcing Answers

Free General Answer Sites

Fee-Based General Answer Sites

Niche and Vetted Answer Sites

Problem-Solving Crowds

Open Innovation Service Providers

Self-Service Open Innovation

Evaluate the Outcomes


Part Three:

Crowdsourcing on Social Networks


Chapter 10

Accessing Crowds in Social Networks


Social Networking Dynamics

Crowdsourcing in Social Networks

What Social Networks Do You Need?

Communicating with Your Crowd

Picking Your Social Network

Useful Social Network Features

Facebook Pages

Facebook Groups

Twitter Accounts

LinkedIn Groups

Build a Smarter Presence

Attract Friends, Fans, Followers

Coax Input from Social Crowds

Extract Data from Social Networks


Chapter 11

Foster Crowds in Facebook


Facebook Pages or Groups?

Create your Facebook Page

Enhance Your Facebook Page

Add New Tabs to Pages

Add Polls to Pages

Add Custom Tabs to Pages

Talking With Your Facebook Crowd

Using the Wall

Using the Discussions Tab

Crowdsourcing on Facebook

Leverage Likes and Comments

Process Data from Facebook

Don’t Violate Facebook’s Rules

Manage Facebook by Mobile Device


Chapter 12

Tap into the Twitter Crowd


Twitter is Not Like Facebook

When to “Tweetsource”

Crowdsource the Twitterstream

Interpret the Twitterstream

Use Twitter for Fifteen Minutes

Build Your Twitter Following

Proper Tweeting Techniques

How to Craft Effective Tweets

How to Get Retweeted

Twitter-Related Tools

Gather Data via Twitter

Monitor and Manage Tweets

Track Hashtags

Manage Twitter on Mobile

Analyzing Twitter Data


Chapter 13

LinkedIn for the Professional Crowd


Benefits of Business-Minded Crowds

Set Up a Professional Presence

LinkedIn Premium Levels

Get Answers on LinkedIn

Target Your Question

Distribute Your Question

Publish LinkedIn Polls

How to Start a Poll

How to Distribute a Poll

Leverage LinkedIn Updates

Using LinkedIn Groups

Set Up a Group

Publicize Your Group

Mobilize Your Group

Manage LinkedIn Data


Part Four:

Harness Crowds for Work


Chapter 14

Get Crowds to Do Work

When Automation Won’t Work

Best Tasks for Crowdsourced Labor

Prepare and Submit Projects

List Discrete Tasks

Specify Skills Needed

Determine Preferred Outcomes

Crowdflower Pools Crowd Labor

How Crowdflower Works

Self-Service Through Crowdflower

Human Tasks on Mechanical Turk

Getting Started with Mechanical Turk

Launching Your Mechanical Turk Task


Turning to ClickWorker

Working through ClickWorker

When Crowdsourcing Doesn’t Work


Chapter 15

Crowd Competitions


Hold a Competition for Results

Projects for Competitions

Try a Competition Site

Using CrowdSpring




Set Up a Competition

Define Your Project

Set Up the Mechanics

Correspond with Submitters

Handle the Payment

Promote Your Competition

Competition Caveats


Chapter 16

Crowdsourcing Freelance Work and Consulting


Freelancer Marketplaces

Steps to Crowdsourcing Freelancers

Post a Project

Manage Bids or Resumes

Make Your Worker Selection

Manage Your Freelancer

Pay Your Virtual Worker

Agencies That Crowdsource

Working with Crowdtap

Workign with Poptent

Working with Tongal

Using Crowdtap

Consulting Firms That Crowdsource

Working with Chaordix

Working with Whinot

Getting Your Money’s Worth


Chapter 17

Crowds for Troubleshooting and Beta-Testing


Prepare for Crowd Testing

Define Your Needs

Specify Skills and Resources

Set Testing Criteria

Perform Objective Testing

Perform Subjective Testing

Find a Crowd of Testers

Website Usability Testing

Mobile Apps Testing

Software Testing


Chapter 18

Crowdcourced Customer Support


Learn From Your Crowd

Build FAQs with Crowd Input
Compile Common Questions

Source the Answers

Build Your FAQ

Get Customers to Help Customers

Crowdsourcing Customer Service

Managing Customer Support Communities

Crowdsourced Customer Feedback Tools

Handling Customer Crisis


Part Five:

More Ways to Crowdsource


Chapter 19

Pushing the Envelope


Crowdsourcing Miscellany

Translation from Crowds

Crowd-Powered Transcription

Keyword Optimization

Unusual Uses of Crowdsourcing

Tattoo Creation

Group Buying

Traffic Reporting

More Mobile Crowdsourcing

Corporate Crowdsourcing

Develop + Connect

MyStarbucks Idea

Innovate with Kraft

Dell IdeaStorm

General Electric’s Innovation Challenge

Applying the Crowdsourcing Model


Chapter 20

Fundraising from Crowds


Tapping Into Crowds for Fundraising

Articulate the Need

Sites for Crowdfunding

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Funding Individual Projects

For-Profit Funding

Sites to Support Causes

Using givezooks!

Using SocialWish

Using DonorsChoose

Managing the Money Pipeline

Relationships with Donors



Chapter 21

Organize for Crowd Action


Crowdsourcing Social Change

Civic Innovation Through Crowds

Give a Minute Empowers Residents

SeeClickFix Engages Citizens

Apps for Democracy Sources Citizens

Crowdsourcing Volunteers Through Sparked

Harnessing Global Crowd Power

Crowdsourcing Global Philanthropy

Tracking Protests with CrowdVoice

Crisis Support Using

Global Innovation on

Innovation Support Through

Online Actions to Real Results


Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Websites for crowdsourcing (Alpha order)

Appendix C: Sample documents.



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