Kathleen Gilroy, Otter Group
Sylvia Marino, Edmunds.com
Michael Sikorsky, Cambrian House
Wikipedia definition: relies on a combination of volunteers and low-paid amateurs who use their spare time to create content and/or to solve problems.
Examples of crowdsourcing:
Zazzle I use it to generate stamps as presents for my nephews and nieces.
Goldcorp -- Took its data and made it public and encouraged people to analyze the data and suggest mining opportunities for a reward. (Written Up in Mavericks at Work.)
This notion of earning credentials from crowdsourcing is great.
Sylvia Marino--Edmunds.com started back in the 60s. In the early 90s, the chairman had the vision of making info available electronically via Newstand.. After a few months, he was asked to remove it because there were so many people hitting it. Obviously a great opportunity. But he had a bigger vision.. not just making the info available online, but let customers compare notes about prices. I want it to be managed. I want it to be high quality. I want to be able to pull up a screen at a GM board meeting and not be embarrassed by the content.
We have 4 sites:
Edmunds.com (info for shoppers and owners)
InsideLine.com -- entertainment for car enthusiasts
CarSpace.com -- (community for "car people")
AutoObserver.com -- (analysis of the car industry)
Consumer-generated content is at an equal level as professionally generated content. And it's marked as user-generated. E.g. expert ratings and end-user ratings.
Blog for our execs in the industry. When we talk about crowdsourcing and value-creation, we think about who you're serving first:
- Searchers -- If you type in "Toyota Prius software problem" you'll get an accurate answer
- Researchers -- I'm looking to buy a car in the Bay area, what's the best approach?
- Contributors -- We value our contributors, they get to see more posts per page and less ads
- Manufacturers -- Manufacturers are coming to us. We issue a trends report and hand it out as a closed list. We get early detection and warning...
- Site Development -- what aren't we doing that we should do.
- Early warning.. one morning in the WSJ.. Toyota recall -- we knew about it 9 weeks earlier and alerted manufacturer and our community
- Product improvements -- BMW removed the dipstick and people got upset. Didn't like monitoring oil level electronically
- Product Innovation -- getting new product ideas from our forums
- Product forecasting -- when new models come out, what did people like, not like..
- Brand consideration -- Looking for a hatchback.. vs. Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, etc. brand consideration landscape is widened
- Ad Revenue -- we integrated advertising after two years..
- Audience Increase -- no marketing. Everything we've done has been word of mouth, references from other sites and links. The authentic voice that we provide.
- Peace of Mind -- people want to feel good that they made the right decision
- Brand happiness -- this is big. Toyota folks are constantly checking on the happiness of customers
- Pure enjoyment -- I like answering these questions.. I know a lot about this. I feel good when I can help people out. Because of the community we built, the media outlets come and ask for referrals to be interviewed.
We create authentic value for participants.. the other value follows.
We archive everything. We help peple get better deals and prices. We feel we're doing a better public service.
Question: Do you charge manufacturers? Sometimes they ask us to do special research related to particular projects, but in general they can just come and get info from the site all the time. Of course, they DO run specific ad campaigns.
On a monthly basis, customers contribute about 20% of our content.
Michael Sikorsky, Cambrian House
Crowdsourcing of Software. We've made a community for creating ventures.
I might have a great idea, but no idea about how to get it off the ground. In our next gen product, you'll be able to actually raise venture capital.-- planning a VC fund of $100 million in 2007.
Somebody submits an idea, people vote on it. Your idea then goes to Idea Words. Right now there are 4300 ideas.. TAke the top 16 ideas, then you get the winner.. the winners can get financing. Tournament.. ideas battle with one another in the tournament. Once it moves into a venture, who owns it? Whoever submitted it, owns it. If someone wants to take over my idea, they can ante up.
You win the contest and your awarded $10,000 in cash plus your royalties in common stock. You define an ownership structure. It's a mix between common and preferred stock. You can buy stock in others' ideas. It's a proxy for VC. A software developer might love your idea and be willing to help you with it, and get paid in stock or royalty points.
Example of a venture that has been successful. It's a video game that lets people fight on their desktops. It's an idea that won the tournament. Game was developed quickly, people started downloading and playing it.
QUESTIONS: When is a crowd wrong?
Sylvia: Crowds can be wrong. Very early on, hybrids were unpopular. There were only 5 or 6 diehards, which grew to 16 and then more.. At what point did this change? When gas prices skyrocketed and people had been pushing this idea for a while...
Are there specific things you can do to bring influencers into your community?
Sylvia: For just about every car brand, there are natural experts. They rise up. They like to answer questions. Being gracious and saying thank you. Sometimes we direct people to the brand expert.
Michael: We honor people and encourage them to join our group. We are very targeted. We go after heroes, such as Guy Kawasaki.