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Before the Internet in 1968, a great example of crowdsourcing was Scientific American’s “1st International Paper Airplane Competition,” which drew almost 12,000 entries from more than 5,000 people in 28 countries. The contestants included scientists, engineers, origami (paper folding) enthusiasts and children. Some of the winning designs went on to be used by airplane manufacturers to design lighter and longer flying gliders and experimental aircraft. Crowdsourcing today uses the Internet and social media to get innovative suggestions, donated products, data or services from large numbers of people. How crowdsourcing is used today Wikipedia is one of the most well-known and successful modern examples of crowdsourcing (www.wikipedia.org). Essentially, Wikipedia is a free, online, collaborative, multi-lingual encyclopedia that is open for people to edit and to contribute new articles.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization of volunteer editors who maintain Wikipedia’s published articles. The Foundation curates user-suggested additions, deletions and modifications.
As of 2020, more than 200,000 people around the world contribute articles to Wikipedia every month, with more than 290 versions of Wikipedia in different languages, totaling about 48 million articles. Numerous studies have shown Wikipedia’s accuracy to be on par with commercially available encyclopedias. https://tinyurl.com/ compare-them.
Yelp ( www.yelp.com ) is an example of a popular website that offers crowdsourced reviews of a wide variety of services, vendors and products … everything from restaurants to physicians. Because of COVID-19, many of Yelp’s restaurant reviews connect to take-out menus and also link to pickup and delivery service apps.
Angie’s List ( www.angieslist.com ) , Task-Rabbit ( www.taskrabbit.com ) , and HomeAdvisor ( www.homeadvisor.com ) take this concept a step further. They not only provide reviews of home-repair contractors and service providers; they also allow users to solicit bids from those companies. This lets people decide what to buy or whom to hire based on the opinions and experience of others around the country and in your local community.
Waze (www.waze.com) is an example of a really successful crowd-powered app that allows users to report traffic jams and offers maps and directions to help you re-route around the traffic jam. Besides user reports of traffic jams and road closures, Waze detects the traffic jams by measuring the speed of cars using the Waze app.
When COVID-19 becomes less of an issue, you might want to consider forming a carpool so you can drive or ride along, to share costs and have some company in the car.
Waze Carpool (www.waze.com/carpool) uses crowdsourcing to form carpools, matching potential drivers and riders who want to go to the same destination at the same time. How can you use crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is used to start a business, raise money for a cause or tackle an expensive project. Instead of borrowing money from the bank or friends, crowdfunding services let you appeal to a very large potential audience through the Internet to raise the funds you need.
Crowdfunding services use the web to advertise your cause/project. They also pay for processing payments. Their fees can range from two to nine percent of the donations raised to pay for their services, depending on the type and size of crowdfunding campaign.
Four basic types of crowdfunding
Donation-based – typically used to sponsor charities, non-profit organizations and social causes that can motivate people to action. The best example of this type of crowdfunding are GoFundMe ( www.gofundme.com), sometimes listed as GoFundMe Charity .
Reward-based – typically used to fund startups with new and innovative products or services to offer people who donate a fixed amount of money. Rewards can be a new product when it comes on the market, a future discount or some other gift or service.
Some good examples are Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), IndieGoGo (www.indiegogo.com), Crowdfunder (www.crowdfunder.com) and Fundable (www.fundable.com). Crowdfunder
and Fundable are used for both reward-based and equity crowdfunding.
Debt – this kind of crowdfunding is similar to a normal loan, where the lender expects to get their principal back with some level of interest. Instead of banks or investment firms, the money comes through small-donation amounts from a lot of people. This is typically used to finance home projects, pay off credit cards or help people buy a car or a house. An example of this type of tool is AngelList (www.angel.co), which was used to fund Uber.
Equity – this type of crowdfunding offers shares (future equity) in a for-profit business to donors. Examples of this type are Crowdfunder and Fundable, which only use accredited investors, and Wefunder for non-accredited investors (www.wefunder.com.) Federal agencies such as the SEC regulate equity crowdfunding.
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