In the office it’s called brainstorming, on the playing field it’s called teamwork and on the web it’s called crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a great way for companies and individuals to ask an undefined group of people to take part in specific tasks, solve complex problems and share new ideas. Projects can range from web or logo design to writing articles or administrative duties. On the other hand, outsourcing is another way for companies to contract a business process. The only difference is the task or project is by an independent organization or entity versus an undefined public. Here are the top crowdsourcing sites and outsourcing platforms;
Elance is a marketplace for buyers to outsource tasks and projects to freelancers. The user-friendly interface lets employers review candidate messages, take notes, view bid history for specific projects without any obligation to choose. Unlike other outsource services, Elance offers escrow payments, making it easy for freelancers to enter new projects with clients and have confidence the money will be available. Elance does need a one-time fee for freelancers and they must choose a membership option to use the service.
For only $5, Fiverr makes outsourcing those small, simple projects easy. Fiverr is ideal for mini-tasks, or gigs, such as keyword research, eBook covers and article writing. The website is easy to navigate and user-friendly, search gigs by keywords or categories or preview some of the gigs with intro videos. However, the $5 price tag is for small tasks, not for large complicated projects like creating an information system from the ground up. In addition, there will be many people on the site providing gigs so finding the right person for the job might be a challenge.
99designs is a well-known graphic design service provider with a money-back guarantee. Their marketplace has an intuitive design posting process that helps organize and present your concept to designers. As one of the largest marketplaces, you will receive hundreds of bids for one project; unfortunately, you cannot review designer’s portfolios, resume or feedback to make an informed decision. In addition, you can get an estimated number of submissions based on your budget or even run a blind contest so only you see submissions. They also have premade logos that are customizable within 24 hours, all for a low rate. Although you have control over setting your own price, there are minimum prices for each design category.
CrowdSpring is logo and graphic design marketplace. Similar to other crowdsource services, you are in control of presenting your project and price in the marketplace. The one thing that has made CrowdSpring standout from the rest is their feedback structure and idea protection. They promote communication between client and designer so they can grow together and create trust. In addition, you can view samples of designer’s work through their online galleries. Although you may receive bids from all over the world, receiving such a high volume is overwhelming when you have to study, review, and grade then send feedback for each.
Odesk is an online platform for buyers to outsource business projects and tasks to freelancers. User-friendly and easy to navigate employers are able to manage the progress of multiple freelance employees and give real-time feedback through the work-diary system. The automated-billing system lets employers know the amount of time spent on a project and the cost. Unfortunately, freelancers will have to install the software, which allows employers to watch their work process. For some this might be a privacy issue.