Summer Milestone 3 lucamatsumoto Crowdsourcing in Japan

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Current State of Crowdsourcing in Japan

Crowdsourcing is popular in Japan. The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency published white paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Japan, which contains the following data.

Trends in numbers of crowdsourcing website registrants

Year Number of People in Thousands
2009
59
2010
126
2011
241
2012
433
2013
916

Details of jobs ordered through crowdsourcing websites (multiple responses)

Category Percentage
Design
55.1%
Web Design
42.2%
Web Development
28.9%
Writing
22.3%
Operations
17.8%
Servers/System Development
10.1%
Images/Video Processing
8.7%
Other
10.8%


Details of jobs received through crowdsourcing websites (multiple responses)

Businesses (n=459)

Category Percentage
Operations
23.3%
Writing
32.2%
Design
37.3%
Web Design
24.4%
Image/Video Processing
9.8%
Web Development
23.5%
Servers/System Development
9.8%
Other
13.3%

Non-businesses (n=1074)

Category Percentage
Operations
51.9%
Writing
51.6%
Design
15.2%
Web Design
5.9%
Image/Video Processing
5.5%
Web Development
5.3%
Servers/System Development
2.4%
Other
10.7%

Data source: http://www.chusho.meti.go.jp/pamflet/hakusyo/H26/download/2014hakusho_eng.pdf

Types of Crowdsourcing

The tasks can be classified into the following three types based on the method for determining workers and how one proceeds the task.

  1. Project: The requestor selects a worker and asks that worker to complete a certain task.
  2. Competition: The requestor receives several proposals from the workers and selects the best one.
  3. Task: Have multiple workers do micro tasks. Very simple jobs that anyone can do. Each task can be done in a few seconds to a few minutes.

Payment

Major crowdsourcing sites provide escrow service.. The requestor pays the crowdsourcing company in advance and holds the money. Once the worker completes the task, the worker gets paid from the escrow.

Problems of Crowdsourcing

  1. Because there are a massive variety of workers, the avarage wages of the tasks are lowered compared to when workers were not crowdsourcing. For example, before crowdsourcing, logo designers receive approximately 100-1,000 dollars. However, while crowdsourcing, these same workers only receive 50-100 dollars.
  2. The workers are not as good as advertised. How can we find trustworthy workers?
  3. Difficulties in communication: Communication skills are a crucial part of success. Good requestors with bad communication skills may suffer difficulties in getting workers. Skilled workers who are bad at communcating may suffer dificulties in completing tasks given to them.

Popular Crowdsourcing Sites

CrowdWorks

They have about 500,000 members. The advisors of this company are Jeff Howe and Joi Ito. They support all three types of crowdsourcing, project, competition and task. For payment, this company utilizes the escrow system. For the "project" method, the worker gets payed a fixed amount, hourly basis.

Lancers

Known as the first ever crowdsourcing company that was established in Japan. They have about 390,000 members. They support all three types of crowdsourcing, project, competition and task. For payment, this company utlizes the escrow system.

The company certifies workers based on how well they are doing their jobs. There are five basic criteria that determines a "good" worker.

  1. The worker is within the top 20% of people based on the cumulative wages in the same category.
  2. The worker receives an average rating of 4.8 or higher.
  3. Worker completes over 90% of his or her tasks.
  4. Responds to messages within 24 hours 80% of the time.
  5. The worker's profile is completed.

There are also minimum requirements for workers in this company.

  1. Up to 5 occassions of cancellation of rxequests due to non-response.
  2. Task completion rate is over 90%.
  3. For "project" types, the worker must have completed at least one project.
  4. For "task" types, the worker must have completed over 75% of the tasks.

The company keeps a keen watch on workers who fail to satisfy these minimum requirements and sends requests to failing workers to improve their performances. The worker may take an "ExpertRating IT Skill Test" to merit a better profile and receive a popular online certification of IT skill.

Job-Hub

They support all three types of crowdsourcing, project, competition and task. Unlike many other companies, Job-Hub does not utilize the escrow system. The worker does not have to pay any commisions. Can write awards and accolades history on profile. The company provides a non-disclosure agreement.

List of Crowdsourcing Websites