FaceBook CrowdSourcing Strategy – Will it Fly?

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Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

FaceBook, the $15bn worth startup is turning to it’s users for translating FB in international languages.

Moving beyond the US market is core strategy of FaceBook, and instead of spending millions of dollars in editorial tranlsation, FB is taking the ‘wisdom of crowds‘ route (i.e. crowdsourcing).
But what’s really interesting to note is that users aren’t too interested in putting up the effort for no substantial return.

But at the same time, users are ready to sweat it out for a not-for-profit site, like wikipedia.

“Wikipedia is a charitable, information-sharing, donation-supported cause,”..”Facebook is not. Therefore, people should not be tricked into donating their time and energy to a multimillion-dollar company so that the company can make millions more – at least not without some type of compensation.” – says a user.

So, users are fine with producing content on a not-for-profit site (i.e wikipedia), but have a serious concern when it comes to a site which gives them nothing tangible in return.

And that brings up few interesting questions –

  • What sort of incentives work for users?
  • How do you position a product so that users “start believing” that they are a part of it?
  • Is money the only incentive?

I find it hard to believe that money is the only incentive for users to participate in a for-profit site – the participation could be driven by whole lot of other means.

For e.g. in Facebook’s case, I believe FB was stupid to directly approach users for translation – how about a FB app that enabled them to convert a word in their local language (and others will vote on that) – Take a cue from Google labeler, a fun way to generate keywords for images.

Point that I am driving here is that users will participate only when they see a value in their participation – be it in terms of fame, fun or learning (wikipedia).
The serious users will not participate if they see a hungry-for-$ beast in front of them, asking users to give their time and effort for nothing substantial in return.

Or will they? Do you think money-based-incentive will work?

What’s your take on crowdsourcing? Is it really scalable?
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