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Don’t get lost in the crowd: A guide to crowdsourcing portals

Have an idea for a project, but need a little help from a professional? Of course you don’t want to just put your idea out on just any crowdsourcing portal, because that would just lead to more distractions. Crowdsourcing usually entails that one idea/project is completed by a group of people who can bring their specialties to the table. Using a crowdsourcing portal can be quite rewarding, benefiting both the project manager and the freelancer.

Crowdsourcing platforms are used to create connections between freelancers and clients, helping them to find jobs, show their projects and widen their networks.

Many of the crowdsourcing tools share similar qualities. Whether you are using a website focused on design, programming or film, the platforms used for crowdsourcing are all branches of the same tree. Many, if not all, use the contest as a base. Applicants apply by submitting designs, illustrations, code, films, and they are voted on by the client, or in some cases, the public.

A winning project is always rewarded with pay, which varies from platform to platform, yet the ability to make connections and display your work is always there.  It pays to explore each crowdsourcing portal, to see which one best fits your work and financial needs. If you are just starting out, some platforms offer services that facilitate the connection between client and product, which can really help when you are trying to navigate your way through the crowd. You keep your copyrights when uploading your artwork. Only artwork which was sold includes a transfer of copyrights.

One of the best-known crowdsourcing platforms is 99 Designs. Founded by Matt Mickiewicz, from Melbourne Australia in 2008, 99 Designs is one of the leading platforms for crowdsourcing for graphics. The website’s primary influence is the pre-existing concept of having designers enter a contest, where they would display their work and portfolios and the winner is paid for their design.

Yet, the reward from winning, or even not winning, is much more than just pay. Another benefit for designers is the ability to show their work, make connections with a client or potential client and add to their portfolio. 99 designs is also ideal for businesses that don’t have an in-house designer. These companies can choose from a variety of work without having to commit to any one designer. Thus the decision is solely influenced by the work. If a client is dissatisfied with the finished product, there is the option of a full refund and the chance to choose from alternative graphic designers. However once a graphic is chosen, it can’t be refunded anymore.

99 Designs pays customers with in a variety of currencies. It is important to note, that there are set minimum prices for different kind of graphics when you become involved with 99 Designs. A design for a website is simply more expensive than of a business card. You have the option of choosing between the bronze, silver and gold package, offering a different number of designs.

Another large and popular crowdsourcing platform is DesignCrowd, which also comes out of Australia. They recently became a part of Brandstack. Now the company is primarily known as BrandCrowd. A designer can browse the projects posted, ranging from logos, business cards, WordPress projects, t-shirt designs and much more…

The client, ranging from a small one-time job to a highly paid job for a company, states how much will be paid alongside a chart of what they are looking for in a design. DesignCrowd pays in Euro, and sets a minimum budget on projects of 150 dollars and the client is given the choice of how much he would like to pay the client after a project is completed.

If you are looking for a more intimate experience, Jade Magnet unlike the other platforms, is running on a smaller scale. They offer flexibility to their customers, allowing them to decide how much they are willing to pay for an individual project. Businesses also can decide how much they are willing to budget and have the ability to choose several designs before making a final decision.

This online portal also offers project delivery assurance, which gives the client some rest from worrying about management, payments and legal contracts. Jade Magnet has aimed their focus more towards a communal environment. Designers have the chance to receive feedback; performance evaluations and can also learn how to enhance their skills.

Registering for Jade Magnet is easy and free. Once signed up, you will be able to browse profiles and select work that has been posted, but once you decide on a creative project, then you must make a payment. The payment is then managed in an Escrow account.

Jovoto is neighbors with Deskmag at our coworking space in Betahaus. Jovoto is based in Berlin and works as crowdvotingplatform. The startup describes the idea behind its crowd as a “playground, training camp and workspace for creative talent from all around the globe”. If you sign up to collaborate with the users on Jovoto, you will have the chance to improve your own skills as well as rate the other projects posted online.

The point of Jovoto is to bring in different brands and non-profits to the crowdsourcing platform and then it helps with the process by forming a unique creative contest. Then winning ideas in each contest receive “community prize money”, which is distribute by the community members. Then whomever initiated the contest will choose their personal favorite and then work with the winner to create a license for the idea.

Jovoto moves in three stages: Public, Private (in which a member must be invited to) and then to the Jovoto Labs, which serves as the collaborative space with guaranteed payment. There is nothing to loose by signing up right away! You can test the waters and experience Jovoto for yourself. If you find yourself really enjoying the experience, keep submitting work and if it looks like you’re a good fit, you’ll be invited to join a private contest where your Jovoto career will begin.

How does it look if you combine crowdsourcing and crowdvoting with an ecommerce-shop? Like Threadlessan e-commerce shop for T-shirts. Instead of the designers connecting to businesses to promote their work, the designs are chosen by a public vote.

Threadless started in 2000, is based in Chicago, and has proved to be wildly popular across the globe. The company now has about 1.8 million users, which as a result has created a strong community for designers, allowing them to exchange ideas and critique each other’s work.

Threadless is unique in the way that designers send their ideas to a global audience. Each ‘challenge’ is categorized with a theme. For example you could design a t-shirt “inspired by the music of Arcade Fire” or make a design for wall-art or an iphone case. After a design is submitted, there is 7 days of review and the public can comment and give feedback on your design during that period. The winner receives a cash prize and if the design is reprinted the designer receives another 500 dollars.

Crowdspringoffers 43 categories to choose from on their website. The client will name their price and in the spirit of design contests, there is also a set a deadline. Once designers submit their work, you have the option of giving feedback and watching the revision process. Once you have chosen, you do not have to pay until you feel that the work has met all of your expectations. There are a variety of design projects that include everything from mobile, to industrial to graphic, but crowdSPRING also offers writing projects.

As a client, where you are creating your project, you can choose from ‘pro’ ‘standard’ and ‘economy’. Each category comes with a fixed starting price and like the other portals, a chance for you to narrow down what you are looking for in a design. This particular site pays in US dollar and also give the client the chance to name their own price and deadline.

If you are an independent filmmaker looking for work, Poptent may be the perfect platform for you. Based in Orange County, CA, the company’s specialty is working to promote advertisements for companies and video work. Poptent started with a small base of videographers and offered a 1,000 cash prize to the winner of the video contest. The company prides itself on having produced everything from “polished national TV spots to quirky viral videos”.

Tongal is another platform, which caters to creative individuals and Tongal for companies, which are both within the context of a social media platform. The process that Tongal follows in regards to its projects typically follows multiple steps. “Ideation, production and distribution. That means writers, directors, actors and animators can all focus on what they do best”.

A unique aspect of the Tongal platform, is that there is also room for actors and actresses. When you start a project with Tongal, the site offers help with design and advice on how to meet your goals. After you’ve organized you ideas, then you enter the “Ideation” phase, which lasts for about 2 weeks. Existing members submit their ideas and then there is the opportunity to discuss and give feedback before you pick the idea that fits your project best.

Then you get to work on production, and distribution. Tongal focuses on generating online video content, and giving the opportunity for you to build a portfolio, or be the one to discover the next superstar.

Found in the crowd:

Even if you find success on one or more of these crowdsourcing networks, you still always have the option to try the other portals available to you. You may find yourself involved in a project that is totally new to you, and come out with a new skill and something impressive to add to your portfolio. Of course it can be somewhat alienating to only make connections via online portals, but that’s why we have coworking spaces.

Source: Deskmag

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