Idea Bounty: Turning crowdsourcing into cash

How could you get paid to add to the crowdsourcing debate? It’s simple, according to Daniel Neville, Brand Co-ordinator at Idea Bounty. Just do it.

Idea Bounty is a global crowdsourcing platform connecting clients with thousands of creatives around the world in order to help “solve marketing and communications briefs and challenges”, says the company. Clients pay for only the ideas they use and creatives receive a “bounty” for winning submissions.

It’s an idea clearly seeking to cash in on the crowdsourcing phenomenon, one that until now has been associated with profit in the popular imagination. Nic Ray and Rob Stokes, Quirk London’s Managing Director and the Quirk Group CEO respectively, confined a different idea shortly after the term “crowdsourcing” was coined in 2006 by Jeff Howe in a Wired magazine article.

At the time both Ray and Stokes were focused on the work Quirk was doing as an agency centred around producing creative solutions and ideas for its clients. “This got them thinking that crowdsourcing was the perfect way to tap into the collective creativity of the world in order to source creative solutions to problems faced by Quirk’s own clients… and so Idea Bounty was born,” recalls Neville.

Idea Bounty only emerged on the commercial scene two years later in November 2008 although it has since grown to having a global footprint with community members in around 90 countries worldwide.

The startup has so far managed to acquire some large clients, many with a South African presence — not surprising given its physical headquarters are in Cape Town. “On the client side we work largely with well established brands such as BMW, Red Bull, Chevrolet, [South African Bank] FNB and [South African beer] Castle Lager – on the community side anyone and everyone can sign up, become a member of the community, submit ideas and win Bounties,” explains Neville.

Facilitating the company was driven largely by QuirkLabs, a seed fund and start up accelerator. Idea Bounty is currently 100 percent wholly owned by the Quirk Group.

Co-founder Nic Ray who has a background in advertising and communications, working at Ogilvy Cape Town before moving to start a Quirk agency branch in London. Rob Stokes is the founder of Quirk – a business he started while still at university.

In a competitive market space, what is Idea Bounty’s unique selling point? “Idea Bounty is unique in the fact that the briefs posted on our platform only look for ideas and not fully crafted solutions as do most crowdsourcing platforms out there,” says Neville.

As a result the company’s briefs are often a little more complex and carry larger rewards (they currently have a US$25 000 Bounty posted).

Neville further claims that because the briefs are only looking for ideas, clients have the opportunity to tweak solutions before they are rolled out. “They also then have the ability to control the production process which keeps solutions 100 percent on brand and in line with solid production values and the brand itself,” he adds.

“Anyone and everyone is capable of coming up with creative ideas,” says Neville optimistically when asked how the company sees itself filling a gap in the market. Idea Bounty allows you to throw the net wider when you are searching for creative solutions to problems and challenges — this can only be a good thing.

But he is positively realistic when asked if the idea has the potential to change the world, though he by no means remains optimistic about crowdsourcing as a whole: “To be honest I don’t think Idea Bounty will change the world but I do believe that crowdsourcing has the capability to play a large role in the shaping of our future — take a look at some of the awesome crowdsourcing taking place on KickStarter for example.”

Idea Bounty’s clients only pay for what they use and Creative get to retain all IP over their ideas and submissions if the client does not purchase them.

Though it operates internationally, the majority of Idea Bounty’s clients are in Europe. “We are definitely looking to expand and soon will be hosting many more briefs concurrently than we are at the moment,” says Neville.

He claims the company has been doing “a trial run” since launching — learning everything it can about crowdsourcing in order to grow Idea Bounty into “the world premier crowdsourcing platform for solutions to marketing and communications challenges.”

Competition, however, remains strong. Victor&Spoils, an agency based on crowdsourcing principals, along with larger sites like Crowdspring, BootB and GeniusRocket are all noteworthy players in the industry.

This hasn’t stopped IdeaBounty from having the target of serving as the world’s premier platform. In five years the company wants a “community churning out creative solutions so fast our clients won’t be able to purchase them fast enough!”



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