Crowdsourcing, or “cloudsourcing” (outsourcing work to the cloud – as some are calling) is perhaps one of the most mature areas of social commerce.

It works like this – you pay online (the e-commerce bit) to get a task done, and then the task is either broken down into micro-tasks and distributed to a network of online workers (or “Turkers” as they are known on Amazon Turk) or it becomes the focus of an online contest.

Typically, you (the client) get to use social media tools (tagging, voting, commenting) to interact with your network of workers (that’s the social media bit). The result? Better, faster and cheaper work. For example, TopCoder (cloudsourcing service of software coders) projects have 80% fewer errors than competition.

I believe “cloudsourcing” could be the future of Social Commerce in B2B – there’s already a growing number of cloud/crowdsourcing software vendors out there. One such SAAS vendor – Smartsheet – has posted this webinar on social commerce in B2B – featuring the great and the good from this area (including Jeff Howe and John Winsor).

Top takeouts from the Webinar:

How to make social commerce work in B2B

  • Sell the result (output) not the process (run head-to-head contests with traditional suppliers)
  • Offer simple “Wizards” for setting up jobs
  • Offer reassurance on regulatory and IP concerns
  • Offer help in screening/quality controlling work
  • Offer easy to use review tools
  • Offer service to interface with cloud workers – so client has just one point of contact
  • Make sure the output looks and feels just like work done traditionally
  • Automate results/output

B2B Cloudsourcing Model of Social Commerce needs to convince on key points

  • Quality of Work Delivered (screen upfront, help brief, help screen)
  • Regulatory Concerns (Tax, IP)
  • Ethical Concerns (Are contests exploitative? Are we Outsourcing Work Abroad?)

What will it take for it to become mainstream?

  • When it’s a simple as e-commerce – should be like ordering on Amazon, painless and effective
  • When more big names jump in and PR their success stories (e.g. Accenture or Crispin Porter + Bogusky)

The Future

  • Standard APIs – Mashups – Establshed Businesses Plugin to Network, and Technology (Chaordix) + more stuff will get outsourced (e.g. take photos of places around the world…)
  • Integration with Facebook/LinkedIn…