When someone thinks of carrying out a crowdsourcing initiative, one of the first questions that arises is where to develop this initiative: in an existing crowdsourcing platform or in a website created ad hoc for the initiative?
Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks that will depend largely on the type of task that needs to be carried out. It will also be determinant if there exists other objectives or goals different from doing a task or solving a problem.
Using your own web site or platform
When I refer to “your own website or platform”, I mean both a website created from scratch for a crowdsourcing initiative and applications developed on platforms or social networks for that initiative.
The main advantage is the ability of customization that can be achieved. You can configure the interface to get the information you need in the way that you want, you can get information about the participants, such as the country of origin, the time of participation, if they visited other pages or the time spent in the web (this is accomplished using tools such as Google Analytics or WordPress plugins).
This customizability, also remains when these sites are developed on platforms or social networks. Just look at the Doritos’ case and his famous ad contest for the Superbowl. In this latest edition, Doritos has change their personalized web domain for the event (www.crashthesuperbowl.com) for an application on Facebook (apps.facebook.com/crashthesuperbowl/).
Another advantage is that this initiative site becomes the focal point of the crowdsourcing campaign, often exploited to convert the crowdsourcing campaign in a marketing campaign. Such is the case of the initiative “Music Experience”, launched by Coca-Cola and that represents the next step of the musician Carlos Jean in its use of crowdsourcing. In this case, also the website of the initiative is within the corporate website. Altought It doesn’t reach that point, “El Plan B”, Ballantines crowdsourcing initiative now in collaboration with the music group La Oreja de Van Gogh, maintains the official Ballantine’s website style (www.ballantines.com/es), but the initiative website is not within the corporate website (www.elplanb.tv).
The main drawback of using your own website are the associated costs. The design and development of the website, which means economic resources to hire (or reassign employees to these tasks), computing resources as a web hosting if necessary, etc.. These costs depend on the type of initiative planned.
Another drawback is related to the promotion of the initiative. While existing crowdsourcing platforms, to a greater or lesser extent, support and publish projects that they take in, when an initiative is built from scratch, it’s the crowdsourcer the responsible for the promotion and support.
Also noteworthy is the inconvenience of having to generate the crowd of potential participants. If there is no community of users around the brand/person/company/organization that launched the initiative, it will need to be created, which takes time (a lot) and money (to hire someone to do it in the right way, it’s not an easy task).
Using existing platforms
When using existing crowdsourcing platforms as Adtriboo, Microtask or Amazon Mechanical Turk, normally what is sought is not the promotion of the brand or the performance of a marketing campaign from a crowdsourcing initiative, but the effectiveness : the realization of the task in the shortest period of time, at the lowest price and with the best possible quality.
The first advantage is the minimal cost involved in publishing any initiative in a crowdsourcing site. You don’t have to pay hosting, designers … The costs will be limited to the advertising that may be given to the initiative and to the crowdworkers reward. Telepizza, for example, used Adtriboo to get its new logo. Costs: 1000€ reward + possible promotion + a lot of criticism from a great number of designers.
Another advantage of using existing crowdsourcing platforms is that most platforms already have a big crowd. As I mentioned in the post about where to find the crowd, Amazon Mechanical Turk has a crowd of more than 500,000 people, InnoCentive has more than 250,000, etc. This does not mean that if a crowdsourcing initiative is launched in a crowdsourcing platform you don’t have to look for the crowd, it just means that the hard part is done by the platform.
The main drawback is the lack of customization. It is limited to the possibilities, sometimes just a customizable form, offered by the different platforms. You lose the ability to design your own page, to control where you go… AMT, for example, offers to the crowdsourcers different templates that suites the different kind of tasks that can be done. It’s more than a customizable form, but it’s not “do what you want”.
Other drawback is that you won’t be able to get all that interesant information given by such plugins like Google Analytics, etc. Information like the country of procedence or the language of the browsers of the participants, can be very important to improve future crowdsourcing initiatives.