Is Crowdsourcing Hurtful or Helpful?

Image by Superhub

Image by Superhub

The article by Jeff Howe “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” talks about how with the technological advances crowdsourcing is not only becoming a more viable solution to problems as far as cost and efficiency but it is also pushing out outsourcing and people who specialize in specific areas of work as well.

To put in layman’s terms, crowdsourcing is glorified group work to find the solution to problems.  People from all over the planet are able to contribute.  Some sites offer a fair amount of money for your work if you specialize in something while other sites such as Mechanical Turk by Amazon (as Howe mentions) there is not much monetary rewards. In his article Howe brings up examples of how this can be a good thing but at the same time there are people that suffer from crowdsourcing.

Howe used the example of a photographer in the very beginning of his article stating that “In 2000, Harmel made roughly $69,000 from a portfolio of 100 stock photographs, a tidy addition to what he earned from commissioned work. Last year his stock business generated less money – $59,000 – from more than 1,000 photos. That’s quite a bit more work for less money.”  When there is so much information and in this case photographs available at the blink of an eye because of the technological advances it dilutes the products value.  At one point you would pay someone a lot of money for a couple of images or images of something particular you were looking for but with crowdsourcing you can have a lot of images for a lot less money.

It makes sense for businesses to use crowdsourcing because if they spend less money but make the same amount then that’s a greater profit for them obviously but for artists or photographers we can see how crowdsourcing is harmful to their craft.  Another reason why crowdsourcing can be beneficial is to world problems.  With the internet you have to ability to connect everyone at the blink of an eye, whether you live in Australia or New Jersey, you can work together to find a solution to a problem. When you have a greater amount of people working towards one goal the chances of getting what you want done obviously rise.  One example is with the missing flight of the  Missing Malaysia Airline.  People from all over the world are trying to figure out what could have happened, where the plane is, what actually went wrong.  You have all of these people from all over the world with different types of backgrounds and education trying to reach a common goal the you will eventually have results and solutions.

Overall crowdsourcing definitely has it’s benefits, but as with most things there will be the people that are not able to adapt and will suffer because of it.


  1. I see what you’re saying. The problem is that not everything needs to be on equal footing, but that’s what has happened. Just because crowd source type networks exist, does not mean people should feel entitled to cheaper EVERYTHING, especially in the case of artwork. I agree that it is helpful in other areas.

    1. That’s not to say that I would pay more for something when offered a cheaper but acceptable alternative. Im glad crowd sourcing exists, saddened that it has to hurt the entrepreneurs and artists who genuinely deserve recognition and compensation for hard work. I know I’m contradictory. Ha

  2. Good work! You did a great job covering the main themes of the article. I thought it was interesting how you decided to talk about the pros and cons of crowd sourcing. I personally took a different spin in covering the article and decided to objectively describe the process.

  3. Great response! Although this is a smart move for companies and bosses, it does take away jobs and money from the public, which I view as a problem. I love the example you gave about the missing plane. This shows exactly what you mean about a ton of people sharing a common goal and how that is much more efficient!

  4. I think you made some really great point in your critical response. I think crowdsourcing can be a bit of a catch 22, but that’s my own personal opinion.

  5. You make a great point. I think crowdsourcing can be really amazing and the example of the airplane is an excellent one. It shows people coming together for a common goal and it is a very helpful endeavor. However, the issue becomes a bit more complicated when talking about jobs and such. Outsourcing, and by extension crowdsourcing is great for the company. They get a bigger profit and they end up succeeding but many people call it exploitation for a reason.

  6. I liked how you related crowding sourcing to the missing Malaysia airplane. Many people from multiple countries are banning together, bringing in their own knowledge and technology to help locate the missing plane. I hope they find it soon!

  7. It is unfortunate that despite the benefits that is brought to the table by crowd sourcing, it also contains a curse. As you have stated, the influx of various different inputs lowers the value of artists, writers, and other contributors irregardless to the amount of effort and time that they had put into their work. I guess this is a classic case of less is more.

  8. Crowdsourcing is a wonderful benefit that could help locate the missing Malaysia Airlines Plane. Many people from different countries are able help the people that are lost at sea. I liked the examples you used to help identify and explain what crowd sourcing is. Nicely done.

  9. Your analysis of the article touches on all the key points. I especially like how you used the example of being connected with the rest of the world by using the missing Malaysia plane. I like how you made sure to touch both sides of the argument, how it is good and harmful. It is sad that due to crowdsourcing a lot of artists lose out. But at the same time, being connected is a good thing. Like everything in the world, there are always two sides and the fact that you kept that in mind is pretty cool.

  10. Like others have said, crowd sourcing is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand more minds working on a common goal means higher success rate, but on the other independent artists find their work devalued.

  11. I really like your response to the article and I also liked the examples used to explain what crowd sourcing is. I thought that overall this article was really interesting and you did a good job of including all the important points.

  12. Great job with your analysis! Crowdsourcing is such an interesting thing and of course there will always be two sides to it, but I think we have a lot of evidence for why it is beneficial. I always like to think of startups and where they began and what they are now because they use crowd sourcing all the time and it works out very well.

  13. I like how you pose the question, and make people think about whether crowd sourcing is helpful or hurtful. I also think you do a great job highlighting a lot of examples. By doing that you make your points very clear and understandable. I especially liked how you used the Malaysia flight as an example, it’s real and current and a different way to think about that event.

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