Amazon.com is the runaway leader in online retail, nearly three times that of the closest competitor Staples. Is it likely that it will also be Amazon that is “the Amazon of Paid Crowdsourcing”? If they aren’t already, they are certainly on their way.
According to Panos Ipeirotis, they had over 10,000 unique work requesters use their Mechanical Turk service directly between January 2009 and April 2010. That’s a lot of folks buying Crowdsourcing. That got me to pondering how much larger that number is when you add in all the distinct companies that are using the Mechanical Turk indirectly through products like CastingWords, CrowdFlower and Smartsheet. We’ve had over 500 companies use it via the Smartsourcing feature in our product this year. And, as I pondered how much the Mechanical Turk API has enabled ISVs to expand specialized access to their crowd workers in ways not previously possible, I wondered something else…
When might the Mechanical Turk team open up an API on the other side of the equation, and enable other work crowds to be plugged into their exchange? Will they make it possible for Crowdsourcing companies like Elance, 99Designs, and oDesk to include their proprietary workers into the mix? This would certainly follow the pattern of their flagship retail business in which they serve as the intermediary order taker for others that fulfill the product.
I’m not saying that this would be the highest priority for the Mechanical Turk team right now, but given their impressive API and attention to scale, they’d be the ones that could pull it off. And, add “Earth’s Biggest Work Exchange” to their sub-tagline.