Ideal Jobs for Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is an incredibly powerful way to carry out jobs that can be broken down into tasks. We’ve found the best jobs for crowdsourcing are those that:

  • Cannot be automated 
  • Can be divided into discrete steps governed by objective rules
  • Can be carried out online without requiring contributors to leave their computers

In the sections that follow, we’ll discuss three elements that qualify certain jobs for crowdsourcing. Later on we’ll cover some of the most common use cases for turning to the crowd to get a job done.


1. Humans > Machines

Can a computer perform the job better? Then assign the job to a computer. There will still be plenty to keep us humans busy and our feelings won’t be hurt, we promise. Jobs that can be 100% automated might as well be completed, in less time and for less money, by running a script or application.

But what about those jobs that involve some element of interpretation, synthesis, or evaluation? That’s where humans perform well and computers perform poorly. For example, humans could better describe the action taking place in a photo or determine whether an email is spam based on subtleties that a computer would miss.

2. Objective Rules

Most jobs involve a series of tasks that are accompanied by objective guidelines for contributors to follow. For example, you might ask contributors to take certain criterion into account while carrying out a product-categorization tagging task. The better able you are to teach contributors your guidelines, the more accurate and valuable your results will be.

3. 100% Online

The most successful crowdsourcing jobs have something in common: they all involve tasks that keep contributors at their computers. When contributors are asked to collect information from the real world, collaborate with others, or turn to another device to carry out a task, extraneous factors can skew results and unforeseen obstacles are more likely to interfere with task completion. An example would be a task that requires contributors to use a smartphone to provide feedback on mobile applications. For best results, use CrowdFlower to crowdsource jobs that can be completed in the digital world and on a single device.

Common Use Cases

It should now be clear that the ideal jobs for crowdsourcing on the web are mainly objective in nature, but also have subjective nuances that prohibit complete automation. You might call these repetitive, time-consuming tasks that require human attention. Comparing two records, categorizing a product, or finding a company’s website are all tasks that require people to complete a repetitive task for a potentially large set of data. If you can create an objective set of rules that anyone could follow to complete the task, you likely have a great fit for a crowdsourcing job.

For a better understanding of some of the most common categories of crowdsourcing use cases, consider the examples listed below:

  • Sentiment Analysis – direct contributors to do what computers cannot: interpret context clues to extract meaning, mood, intention, or tone from a graphic, video, or piece of writing (e.g. one that contains humor, sarcasm, slang, or irony).
  • Categorization – ask contributors to categorize companies, products, media, or any number of other items, based on the criteria that you provide.
  • Content Moderation – ask contributors to moderate your content for guideline violations, inappropriate content, or spam. Whether it’s text, photos or video, the crowd can evaluate the content against a set of objective rules.
  • Business Listing Verification – use the crowd to improve the quality of your business data by verifying company websites, addresses, phone numbers, and other important fields in your CRM system.
  • Data Collection and Enhancement – ask the crowd to collect new data or enhance your current databases by finding social media handles on LinkedIn or Twitter profiles, locating parent and subsidiary companies of a business, or by flagging duplicate business records.
  • Search Relevance – ask the crowd to create training data for an algorithm. For example, the crowd could help refine a search algorithm by rating how relevant search results are to some query.
  • Image Transcription –  direct contributors to sort through photos and transcribe information from the photos into data that you can use. 

If you’re ready to harness the power of the crowd to tackle tasks that no computer could take on, CrowdFlower is here to help. If you’re just getting started, make sure to review our Platform Overview. If you’re ready to dive right in, we’d suggest reading up on our Tips for Task Design.

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