|We spend a lot of our free time helping other for free: answering questions on stackoverflow, providing tips and advice on blogs, even clicking on an ad usually profits more to the advertiser that the person clicking. How can we reward fairly this work? Should we expect to be getting anything in return? I'd like to see more products or services for which good contributors and/or active users are not treated as free labour.|
The most extreme example that comes to my mind was Google Image Labeler. I said "Was" as I've just noticed that "Google Image Labeler is being phased out, and will no longer be available as of September 16, 2011.". Google Image Labeler (http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/) was a total farce or simply brilliant depending on how you look at it. Behind the disguise of a game, contributors were asked to label random images in order to improve the relevance of Google Image Search. Some have spent several hundreds or thousands of hours for free; the top contributors reaching around 3 million points. The only benefitor in term of money is Google.
Your time is not free but what can I offer in exchange of you contributing to my website? Some examples in no particular order:
- Nothing, just a good reliable product/service. In a way, most people are happy to use services such as Google or Facebook for free. The service providers get money through ads and the user get a good service.
- Freebees: every week, the top 100 contributors automatically enters to a draw to win an iPad.
- Some of the profit: cut of the profit generated by the content you provided. Many blogs or user content generated websites do reward the author based on the success of their content.
- No Ad: Similar to paid applications that simply removes the ads, contributors could have the option to opt out of ads.
- Extra features: Contributors get the advanced features that would normally be given to paying customers.
- Reward: each contribution gives the user points and points can be exchanged against money/product/whatever.
- Badge/Karma: that's how ycombinator/stackoverflow works.
- Amazing deal: Through partnerships you get x% discount on products/services.
Do you think contributors of a community website should be rewarded? If yes, to which degree? What would you like to get offered?