A few days ago, I was pitching an idea at the Entrepreneurship Club at CMU to move away from micro-payments in crowdsourcing to something what people would care for. While micro-payments like $0.01 are meaningful in developing countries, it is not attractive for most others. And the point here is that the reward mechanism has severely narrowed down the kind of tasks that can be performed online in a crowdsourcing manner. If we can find an incentive system that is attractive to a wider range of audience, it will automatically drive more users to participate and in-turn more companies will start moving towards crowdsourcing.
Here is a potential list of things that I think people would work for and surprisingly most of them are still unexplored incentive systems. Unless current platforms expand and provide flexible incentive systems, the adoption of crowdsourcing as mainstream will be limited.
1. Micro-payments (Mturk, Crowdflower etc)
2. Free mobile minutes (Txteagle)
3. Frequent flyer miles (?)
4. Coupons (?)
5. Movie tickets (?)
6. Discount points that can be used at other sites
7. Facebook points, Zynga points (Gambit+Crowdflower)
Think about it. Amazon's Mechanical Turk is where most of the crowdsourcing happens today, and at any given instance the number of tasks on the site are still less than 200,000 ! So little for such a widespread concept of crowdsourcing. For more details of studies realated to MTurk, I will refer you to Panos's blog.