Why YouTube or Delicious are not crowdsourcing

Logos de YouTube y Delicious

Traditionally, crowdsourcing has been linked to certain internet platforms like YouTube and Delicious, for example. This relationship arises from the fact that all these platforms involve a lot of users, a crowd, that focus their efforts in creating content (User Generated Content – UGC).

However, it is important to note that these types of platforms, from my point of view and after an objective analysis, are not crowdsourcing per se (although they may be used for this purpose).

The reasons for this (possibly) controversial claim are two.

One. These platforms offer a service: online video storage, online bookmark storage, etc. To enjoy this service, users must not perform any task, excluding the task related to the register process. Therefore, there is not a reward, there is a service offered free to any user.

Two. Crowdsourcing initiatives are characterized by using an open call to perform a particular and clearly defined task. The open call implies to “cite, call one or more people […]”. It can be observed that none of the two platforms make this kind of call (which doesn’t mean that they don’t advertise their services in different ways). Moreover, neither “Broadcast yourself!” (YouTube) or “Discover yourself!” (Delicious) can’t be understood as specific clearly defined tasks.

Despite this reasoning, it is important to note that both platforms can well be used as a platform for crowdsourcing. In the case of YouTube, for example, it can be used to upload  videos created by users for a contest. In the case of Delicious, if a crowdsourcer proposes a micro-task consisting in the search of certain types of websites, those can be bookmarked on the Delicious social bookmarking system.


  1. Very true! As Daren Brabham (PhD, Univ. of North Carolina) says: "This process is one that is sponsored by an organization, and that the work of the large network of people—the “crowd”—is directed or managed by this
    organization throughout the process. This is very different from, say, the online encyclopedia
    project Wikipedia, where an open space exists for individuals to work collaboratively"

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