Jeff Howe coined the word 'Crowdsourcing' in a 2006 article for Wired magazine to describe the way in which the Internet has broken down traditional employer/employee relationships to create vibrant new enterprises that are 'staffed' by informal, often large gatherings of enthusiasts. A few weeks before the article hit the newsstands, a Google search for the word 'Crowdsourcing' returned zero results. One month after the article appeared, the same search returned nearly 500,000 hits.
These days anyone and everyone can write book reviews on Amazon, post videos on Youtube, come up with new uses for Google maps or design T-shirts for Threadless. What makes this phenomenon so remarkable is that it is starting to transform the way many companies operate and to change their relationship with their customers: iStockPhoto.com has revolutionised the world of digital photography; Cambrian House is having a profound impact on the way films get made; Second Life has created a vast, profitable business with only a few formal employees but thousands of dedicated contributors. Moreover this revolution is rapidly changing our culture, introducing a consumer democracy that has never existed before.
Jeff Howe has now followed up his initial, ground-breaking article with months of research, and the result is a book that will define the next stage of the Internet revolution.