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OllieMcCarthy says


That’s crowdsourcing and I personally don’t like the idea of it since a lot of people are basically going to be wasting their time.
Wasting their time how? I buy a theme from Author A, and she’s too busy to provide support. I post my question in the support marketplace and Authors B, C, and D offer to help. I pick author C based on his ratings, I transfer the credits, he provides the answer, I rate his performance…that’s very efficient.

If you crowdsource the support you will get Author A, B, C and so on applying for work. Only one author will get the work and that’s why the others will be wasting their time. Since the amount of work is so small you will not get serious authors bothering to waste their time on it. Add to that the fact that every author codes differently or has different frameworks as ParkerAndKent pointed out; you are basically looking at inefficient/incompetent support.

It would be a mess. It would end up with un-skilled individuals scurrying for scraps; the same situation on every crowdsourcing marketplace I’ve seen so far.

Crowdsourcing is bad for business. Its quintessential purpose is to devalue what we do and turn us into desperate beggars. Please let us have the collective dignity to boycott it as an unethical way to do business.

That’s the only way we can kill it.

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fillerspace says

@ollie

I think that crowdsourcing done right is a good thing. Just look at Envato. I think that many buyers would prefer support from a 3rd party over the complete lack of support from a busy author. And while every author has different coding styles, much of it will be similar, and easy enough for another author to follow. Just like how you don’t have to take your Honda to the dealer just to get the battery changed. And what I bet will happen is that we will see support experts emerge who advertise familiarity with a specific author’s themes/framework, just like you see independent BMW service shops.

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OllieMcCarthy says

@ollie I think that crowdsourcing done right is a good thing. Just look at Envato. I think that many buyers would prefer support from a 3rd party over the complete lack of support from a busy author. And while every author has different coding styles, much of it will be similar, and easy enough for another author to follow. Just like how you don’t have to take your Honda to the dealer just to get the battery changed. And what I bet will happen is that we will see support experts emerge who advertise familiarity with a specific author’s themes/framework, just like you see independent BMW service shops.

I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that Envato is just a marketplace and not crowdsourcing. Also, most authors, including myself, give support within 24hrs even if they are busy.

As for outsourcing support – yes I’m sure it could work if there is a direct relationship between the author and the 3rd party provider. I’m not knocking that idea at all :)

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Kriesi says

I think separating the support provider from the author is key.

Honestly? I would love to put support in other peoples hands and never again care about it :)

An observation I have made from my support staff is that other people are very likely to solve a problem different than you, and it might not be as efficient since they dont know your code as well as you do, but that doesnt matter to customers. What matters is that support is provided fast and that the provided solution works.

So if there were a company that would do this for a reasonable price or if something like that would be implemented into the envato system I would definitley use it :)

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fillerspace says

I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that Envato is just a marketplace and not crowdsourcing. Also, most authors, including myself, give support within 24hrs even if they are busy.

Crowdsourcing definition:

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.

Envato crowdsources the creation of themes, graphics, code, etc. instead of building them in-house.

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fillerspace says

So if there were a company that would do this for a reasonable price or if something like that would be implemented into the envato system I would definitley use it :)

That brings me back to my original post…as an author, how much would you pay if my company offered this? How much in gross sales or how much per ticket? Or should this cost be shouldered by the buyers requesting support?

I have already proven that buyers are willing to pay based on the amount of money I’ve earned from people contacting me as a result of this thread. I want to see if authors would pay as well.

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OllieMcCarthy says


I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that Envato is just a marketplace and not crowdsourcing. Also, most authors, including myself, give support within 24hrs even if they are busy.

Crowdsourcing definition:

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.
Envato crowdsources the creation of themes, graphics, code, etc. instead of building them in-house.

Crowdsourcing involves the following scenario: There is a single buyer and multiple sellers, with all sellers investing time and effort before any money has changed hands. The buyer then picks one and everyone else selling loses out. The ratio is 1:many. The buyer vrs. seller power is skewed unfairly to the buyer.

In the Envato marketplace there are multiple buyers and multiple sellers – much like any traditional market place you’d see in real life. Envato merely provides the “venue” for this market (and take a cut). The ratio is many:many. The buyer vrs. seller power is more fairly distrubuted.

Big difference my friend :)

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Kriesi says


So if there were a company that would do this for a reasonable price or if something like that would be implemented into the envato system I would definitley use it :)

That brings me back to my original post…as an author, how much would you pay if my company offered this? How much in gross sales or how much per ticket? Or should this cost be shouldered by the buyers requesting support?

I have already proven that buyers are willing to pay based on the amount of money I’ve earned from people contacting me as a result of this thread. I want to see if authors would pay as well.

I would say about 5-7% of my revenue. thats a little more than I am paying currently but if I never have to check my forum again I would pay it ;D

My staff writes about 900 posts per month, thats 30 a day: about 1-2 hours of support each day.

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fillerspace says



I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that Envato is just a marketplace and not crowdsourcing. Also, most authors, including myself, give support within 24hrs even if they are busy.

Crowdsourcing definition:

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.
Envato crowdsources the creation of themes, graphics, code, etc. instead of building them in-house.

Crowdsourcing involves the following scenario: There is a single buyer and multiple sellers, with all sellers investing time and effort before any money has changed hands. The buyer then picks one and everyone else selling loses out. The ratio is 1:many. The buyer vrs. seller power is skewed unfairly to the buyer.

In the Envato marketplace there are multiple buyers and multiple sellers – much like any traditional market place you’d see in real life. Envato merely provides the “venue” for this market (and take a cut). The ratio is many:many. The buyer vrs. seller power is more fairly distrubuted.

Big difference my friend :)

There are many types of crowdsourcing. You have described one (the design contest), and I have described another. Envato is definitely crowdsourcing in that many authors design on spec and submit with many being rejected. Crowdsourcing is the reason there are 1000+ themes here and only 100 on ElegantThemes.

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PaulWinslow says

^ I’m with Ollie in this particular debate. I think the process you’re suggesting will just make the whole deal more complicated than it needs to be. It really should be as simple as possible. And yes, I would call it crowdsourcing.

I don’t know if I’d be happy with other people making money by fiddling with my themes, making modifications. It’s my work and I’ll be supporting it, unless I’m actually giving the support work to somebody I know and trust.

If an author wants to outsource his/her support I think that’s perfectly fine – but at his/her discretion. The author might not want other people supporting their items out of their hands.

I would, however, really like to see some sort of system put in place to make offering support more rewarding and worth while for authors – I think it’s great that this discussion is being had.

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