Crowdsourcing at Aol Assignment Help

Crowdsourcing at Aol Case Study

Where would you go if you needed to find hundreds of people each willing to take on a tiny
portion of a large task for minimal pay? Projects like these include filling out surveys, verifying
or entering data, writing articles, and transcribing audio files. They are increasingly common in
the digital age, so you might turn to an online marketplace such as,
CrowdFlower, or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk where people around the globe go to find work.
Daniel Maloney, an AOL executive, recently turned to crowdsourcing for help inventorying
AOL’s vast video library. (Note: This definition of crowdsourcing differs from the one used in
Chapter 5 to describe crowdsourcing as a way to spur innovation). He broke the large job into
micro-tasks and described the tasks that he needed to be done on Mechanical Turk. In
particular, each worker was asked to find Web pages containing a video and identify the video’s
source and location on those pages. The over half a million workers that were registered at
Mechanical Turk could read about the tasks and decide if they wanted to perform them. Crowdsourcing at Aol Assignment Help
Using the crowdsourcing service, the AOL project took less than a week to get up and running,
and only a couple of months to reach completion. The total cost was about as much as it would have
been to hire two temp workers for the same period.
Mr. Maloney was pleased with the cost savings and added: “We had a very high number of
pages we needed to process. Being able to tap into a scaled work force was massively helpful.” 32
However, he really didn’t know very much about the workers who did the work for AOL and he
likely had to make sure that their work was done correctly

Crowdsourcing at Aol Assignment Help

Critics of crowdsourcing feel it can lead to “digital sweatshops,” where workers, many of whom
may be underage, put in long hours to generate very little pay and no benefits. Some also feel
crowdsourcing will eliminate full-time jobs. The crowdsourcing marketplace services counter
that they are trying to register stay-at-home parents or college students with spare time.

Discussion Questions
1. Is crowdsourcing as used by AOL a form of outsourcing? Why or why not?
2. What steps do you think Maloney might have taken to ensure that the crowdsourcing would
be a success for the inventory project?
3. What factors should be considered when deciding whether or not to crowdsource a particular
part of a business?
4. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourcing.

Sources: Amazon Web Services Web site, (accessed on April 17, 2012); Haydn
Shaughnessy, “How to Cut Consulting Costs by 90% and Keep Your Talent Happy!” Forbes (April 16, 2012),; Scott Kirsner, “My Life as a Micro-Laborer,” The Boston Globe (April 1, 2012),; and R. E. Silverman, “Big Firms Try Crowdsourcing,” Wall Street Journal (January 17, 2012),¼djem_jiewr_IT_
domainid (accessed on November 2, 2011)

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