Exploitation or Leverage?

BusSongs has quickly achieved the of accolade of having the largest collection of nursery rhymes and Children’s songs on the Internet. When the site was acquired, it came with 130 songs, but this has spiraled to just shy of 1,000 in under a week. How was this possible?

There a whole bunch of outsourcing platforms now in existence – with eLance, Rentacoder and Odesk being the largest and most established outfits. They all operate with the same model; a buyer posts a project detailing the task they want performed, contractors bid on the project, the buyer than selects a coder (based on a combination of cost and collective feedback for that contractor) and then work commences. The platform typically holds money in escrow and acts as an arbitrator if things go wrong.

The benefits are obvious. You can tap into a vast talent pool, save on costs and spend your own time on more value-adding activities. How cheap is it? The addition of 1,000 pictures to Just Pooh cost a meager $90 and consumed around 18 hours of labour. Each batch of 100 songs for BusSongs (processing user submissions) costs $15 and takes roughly 3 hours to complete (the contractor was asked to only input public domain material). The contractor was very professional and did a really great job, despite it being a pretty tedious task.

As you might guess, most contractors originate from developing economies, but this isn’t always the case. With another recent project, I hired a Swiss guy to scrape data from my YPN account and spit it out onto a webpage. The resulting widget (shown on the right, with fake data) negates the need to manually log-in and run reports to pull the key data I want. Email me if you want a copy.

The contractor is getting a fair wage for their time (in relative terms) and effectively input money into the economy without extracting natural resources.

After a bit of a deliberation, I reckon that I’m not exploiting anyone. Anyone beg to differ?

Update: Added some extra clarity.

 Tags: Blog, Internet, Random   Published: 14th June '08

5 Archived Wordpress Comments


Hi K. Extreme. I thought you need to be in the US to publish with YPN? How does it compare to adsense?

Keith Mander

Where there is a will there is a way Kiddo.

The ad inventory is extremely low, especially for end users outside of the US. This results in super high CPCs ($1-2 per click is not unusual) and shocking CTRs (it’s a challenge to get anything higher than 0.2%). All in all, your earnings will be competitive with AdSense, but you’ll wish you had more relevant ads so that your users are more likely to come back.

Do you guys use any other networks?

Ross Mander


Not if they are tendering their own bid.

Keith Mander

I’m not sure that they’re involvement in the tendering process is the key here. After all, the desperation of their situation might mean that they’re just about willing to compete with a bid that makes them a fraction of a profit.

On the flip side, if you’re paying a wage that is relatively generous for that job market then outsourcing is really quite a good thing. Money is injected into the economy from abroad, yet without extracting or processing raw materials.


i think that “if you are not confident that you can do this, than it’s better to hire people who have expertise in that field”.From last 1-2 decades the % of outsourcing or hiring people has tremendously increased. and i have done same thing.
But i have selected different path.i mean to say that i haven’t go though the freelancers or any bidding site.i preferred to search directly a good and reliable service providing companies.So, i moved to marketraise (www.marketraise.com) virtual service providing company.And i am fully satisfied with there services.so i will suggest you all to carefully hire the people for virtual services.