From the March 2010 issue of Startups

With access to technology that makes it easier than ever to connect to others, companies are increasingly addressing their needs through crowdsourcing--that is, tapping into the online community as a whole to complete business tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor. According to Lukas Biewald, CEO of CrowdFlower.com (a site that connects companies to a wide pool of online workers), crowdsourcing allows businesses to get results without spending the extra time and money needed to hire workers. "With crowdsourcing, you pay for exactly what you get," he says.

Here are some business tasks that can be done through crowdsourcing, along with websites that provide these services:

  • Logo, graphic and website design
    (crowdSPRING and 99designs.com offer access to thousands of designs.)
  • Product redesign (Redesignme.com)
  • Transcription (CastingWords.com)
  • Data entry and other similar tasks
    (Amazon Mechanical Turk allows companies to post "human intelligence tasks" to be completed by freelance workers registered on the site.)
  • Voiceovers (Voice123.com)
  • Monitoring photos uploaded online
    (Biewald says CrowdFlower.com can help companies find people who can monitor photos to ensure that copyrighted or offensive photos aren't being posted online.)