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Prizes, pieces, and property rights

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7 Responses

  1. Eric Goldman says:

    Greg Linden has suggested that the good response to Netflix’s contest is due less to the prize than to the public availability of a much richer dataset than was previously available. See http://glinden.blogspot.com/2007/01/netflix-prize-and-big-data.html Eric.

  2. Michael, You suggest splitting-up prize money based on pro-rata contribution. Does it help to split the challenges up before-hand into micro-challenges.

    One way to avoid redundant activity is to create a market for partial solutions. The eventual winner might have purched one or more partial solutions in the process. (The purchase price could be a percentage of any eventual winnings). This would also allow Prize-seekers to hedge their bets by selling partial solutions.

  3. KipEsquire says:

    A system of prizes will, by defintition, reflect the subjective preferences of the prize offeror and not the objective needs of the market the way that traditional intellectual property does.

    Rich Philantropist may offer a huge prize for the discovery of a cure for Obscure Disease, but intellectual property will make sure that Rich Pharmacuetical Company will devote it profit-seeking resources to a cure for Widespread Disease.

    The two systems can certainly exist side-by-side (ignoring crowding out effects). But if we abandon IP entirely and move to a government-financed prize-based incentive system, as some propose, then we are no longer dealing with Rich Philanthropist but instead with Powerful Politician and Busybody Bureaucrat.

    No thanks.

  4. I think some advertising firms offer prizes. My cousin worked for awhile at a famous ad firm in Dallas, and she routinely sent emails to her family and friends asking them to name new products. These emails were sent to all employees of the firm and then sent outward. The “winner” received a small cash prize, like $25 or $50. I’m not sure if “winning,” was determined by the ad exec’s decision or the client’s, though.

  5. Kate Litvak says:

    How is this different from prosaic “buy” ads in the Classified section of your local newspaper?

  6. Haninah says:

    Another consideration is that the prize offered must be small enough to make crowdsourcing cheaper than hiring, but large enough to be bigger than the profit that the winner could expect to make on his own (in the Netflix case, for Netflix to get what it wants the prize that it offers must be more than the inventor of the better algorithm believes s/he can make by either selling his/her algorithm to Netflix or a competitor in a marketplace or by starting his/her own competitor with the improved algorithm as its chief competitive asset.

  7. Amaresh says:

    You mention some interesting points about redundant work and IP issues.

    I recently blogged about the Netflix prize and tried to examine the applicabilty of the model overall to analytics.

    http://diamondinfoanalytics.com/blog1/2007/02/23/crowdsourcing-analytics/