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November 19, 2008
Crowdsourcing Your Next Project
No I’m not talking about oursourcing your job but rather tapping into a global market of designers. Launched back in May, here in Chicago, crowdSPRING becomes the conduit for buyers who need a new logo, website, marketing materials or other creative content and creatives who could be down the street or across the world.
Simply put, you the buyer post your requirements and specs. Once posted, creatives from around the world submit actual work – not bids or proposals for the buyer to review but actual work. I know I can hear you grumbling about spec work now, and I did myself when I first met Ross, Mike, Pete and the team at crowdSPRING, but keep reading.
As the submissions come in, buyers are able to review, sort, rate, provide feedback and collaborate with creatives until they find the "the one."  crowdSPRING provides customized legal contracts, full project management, robust notifications, and many more. Nearly 8,000 creatives from 130+ countries work on crowdSPRING.  Buyers set their own price and crowdSPRING takes a 15% commission on top of that price. crowdSPRING Freelancers get 100% of the money paid by buyers and buyers put the money in escrow with crowdSPRING at the beginning of the project, ensuring payment.
Successful? Well they’ve hosted over 1,000 projects, presented at DEMO and been recognized by a number of publications. But the proof point for me is what they are tapping into, crowdsourcing, but with a twist.
What I believe crowdSPRING really does is allow the growing creative movement –millions of people around the world – to have a voice. And by having this voice it begins to change the risk/reward model in remarkable ways.
According to Ross Kimbarovsky at crowdSPRING: “These underdogs or unknowns have a high tolerance for risk because they have few alternatives.” They develop great software that challenges conventional thinking – before a single customer agrees to pay to use that software. They do this with eyes wide open and hearts exposed. They understand the risk and embrace it. They create not just for the money, but because they have a need to create. Novelists write books before they have a publisher. Painters paint before they have gallery representation or a single commission. Musicians and bands record songs long before a label deal is in sight.” I couldn’t have set it better.
But this isn’t for agencies, right? After all we’re doing more then logos and such? Wrong. Back in September and previewed at DEMO, crowdSPRING introduced crowdSPRING Pro, which “allows companies to post creative projects on the crowdSPRING Web site without revealing proprietary details, giving major brands and creative agencies exposure to top creative talent around the world while ensuring that the resulting work remains hidden from competitors” according to Kimbarovsky.
Now the game changes a bit.
Instead of dwelling on the potential negatives I’m looking at the positives for crowdSPRING, namely the ability to tap into the global resources of creatives. For a relatively low cost I can have resources at my disposal that I may never have found were it not for crowdSPRING. As an agency we could use this as a springboard, ideation or even to add to existing work, The possibilities themselves are just beginning with this global market and talent that are there ands ready.
In writing this I’d like to acknowledge by own sourcing and give a big thanks to Ross at crowdSPRING for sharing past writings, his take on the market and some pretty good pizza.

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For more than 15 years, Chris Mller has created, built and led businesses in the digital marketing space. He is a regular speaker at agency conferences and forums and is a recipient of numerous awards including agency of the year by Revolution Magazine, Cannes Cyber-Lion, One Show, Addy’s and Gold Effie. Currently he is the SVP, Group Managing Director, Interactive at Draftfcb and is actively involved with the majority of Draftfcb’s clients.
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