After Greg’s post on crowdsourcing, he and I met to explore how we might push this envelope a little further. We decided to run an experiment to see how well crowdsourcing might work for a firm. We wanted to show immediate value and cost savings and to demonstrate which types of tasks might be handled this way.

The Setup

Tool: We (mostly Greg) decided to use MTurk from Amazon as the tool. After some research on price ranges, we chose to pay our workers 10 cents per task. That appears to be an average price based on what we saw and it’s cheap … like Greg.

Project: We know law firms love to have information about General Counsels (GCs), so we selected that as our task. Greg was able to pull a list of companies from two different markets. 50 from the mid-west and 50 from the SF Bay area. These companies are listed on the site for the project. Then we asked for the following from each company – GC first name, last name and a link to their online bio. The bio had to be from the company site. We let them know the GC may have another title like Chief Legal Officer or Corporate Secretary.

The Method: To test for and insure quality we did two things. First Greg ran a report from another system so we already know the answers to our question. Second, we allowed for two people to respond for each company GC. This ‘double-blind’ approach would serve as a quality check of the information we obtained. Our budget for the experiment – $22.00. $20.00 for the task payments and $2.00 for the MTurk fee.

Initial Response: Within the first hour we had 20% of our responses in at a cost of $4.24 per hour. The quality seems to be high, but a full analysis will come once we close the project.

Obviously the crowdsourcing approach will have limitations as to the types of tasks and information we collect. But our initial assessment is that this idea has merit. It appears to have hit Greg’s trifecta: Cheap, Easy and Fast.

More to come …