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.