Cashsourcing through Crowdsourcing

What if you were a homing beacon for spare change in your couch cushions? Some crowdsourcing ideas and applications are good for a few extra bucks here and there and (as someone who is never disappointed by finding $5 in an old jacket) I’m excited by the idea of picking up some spare change.

Perhaps the most enterprising of these apps is the Park Circa for iPhone. Because finding parking in San Francisco is often like a quest to the heart of Mordor, this app simplifies matters by allowing fellow drivers to rent out their recently vacated parking spots. The driveway owner simply posts that their driveway is empty and as you cruise through the neighbhorhood with cash in your Park Circa account, you check in with the app and find a place nearby at a reasonable price (some as low as $1/hour).

There’s also Amazon’s Mechanical Turk which is a marketplace where businesses can get actual people to handle small and scalable tasks (transcription, image identification, data entry, etc.) on demand. Each Human Intelligence Task (or HIT) is good for anywhere from a few cents to several dollars transferred from the company to the user’s Amazon payments account. I toured the site for awhile and spent more time looking for a task worth the doing of it than I did doing any actual work, but was still pretty pleased when those dollars hit my account.

Or there’s the higher-stakes Quirky which is a social product development company. Quirky launches two new consumer products each week that are invented by site visitors and influenced by the global community that critiques and improves the invention. Quirky then shares their revenue directly with the people who helped make the decisions. According to Quirky’s payout FAQ’s “Quirky shares 30 percent of all top line revenue brought in by direct sales on quirky.com, as well as 10 percent of indirect retail sales revenue, with each product’s influencers. About 35 percent of that reward goes to the ideator/inventor.” Which, if a product does well, could add up to some real money. I want the Mocubo.

I have yet to crowdsource my early retirement, but it’s still less tedious and less dorky than using a metal detector. As we continue to discuss how to fairly compensate crowdsourced ideas and workers though, it’s nice that some companies are already beginning to try out different models. Can you think of any other ways to inspire a few crowdsourced entrepreneurs? What are some other ways that we can reward crowdsourced workers for their completed tasks? Is there a fair way to compensate in the crowdsourcing world?

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