Crowdsourced Writing Projects on crowdSPRING Ross and Mike | February 10th, 2010

“Write without pay until someone offers to pay” – Mark Twain

Since May 2008, the crowdSPRING community (now over 50,000 creatives, from 170+ countries!) has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, agencies, and Brands (from over 70 countries), with graphic, website, and industrial design projects.

We’ve paid millions of dollars to designers and want to provide similar opportunities – and a level playing field – for writers.

Today, crowdSPRING is proud to launch a new category of crowdsourced projects: writing. We’re thrilled to offer individuals and companies around the world access to an incredible community of writers.

Writing projects will work just like design projects. You’ll name your own price and schedule and you’ll pick from actual entries to your project, not bids and proposals. Unlike design projects (where some projects can be private), all writing projects are private – you and the writer who submitted an entry will be the only ones who’ll be able to see the submission. And if you need even more privacy, you’ll be able to post any writing project as a Pro project, which gives you full control over users, non disclosure agreements, and more.

As always, you’ll get access to a free, customized legal agreement in every project, full project management, payment escrow, and our awesome customer service team!

We pay writers 100% of the project awards (we charge buyers a 15% fee based on the total awards offered in their projects).

What types of writing projects can you post?

NAMING

  • Company names. Need help naming your new startup or small business? Tap into our global communication of writers who’ll give you dozens of great suggestions.
  • Product names or service names. Already have an established business but need a great name for a new product or service? Tap into a global community ready to help you.
  • Domain names. Having a tough time figuring out a great domain for a business or personal project? You’re not alone!

BUSINESS

  • Marketing (brochures, product descriptions, newsletters, press releases). Every business needs to market its products and services. Our global community of writers can help with everything from press releases, to product brochures, newsletters, and more!
  • Technical (documentation, manuals, white papers). Need to develop an easy to read product manual or compelling white paper? Tap into our community of writers.
  • Presentations. We’ve all sat through boring presentations. Here’s your chance to do something fun. Let our community of writers help you develop a presentation your audience will remember!
  • Articles, Reports and Proposals (i.e. grants). Need help writing a technical report or a proposal (for a grant, for example)? Our global community of writers can give you a helping hand.
  • Business Plans. Are you a technical rockstar but need help with a business plan for a cool new startup? Leverage our community of writers to get you ready for meetings with investors.
  • Books and eBooks. Want to share knowledge but need someone to help you communicate it in writing? Leverage a global pool of talented writers.
  • Taglines. Nearly every successful business has a short tagline that simply and succinctly explains what they do/who they are. Leverage our community to help you develop a great tagline for your business.

ONLINE

  • Blogs and Newsletters. Need original content for your blogs or newsletters? We have a global pool of writers who are ready to help.
  • Advertising/Marketing. Worried about increasing sales or competing against bigger companies? Leverage our community to help you.
  • SEO/SEM Content. Need to generate great search engine optimization (SEO) content or develop strong search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns? Our writers can help.

CREATIVE

  • Essays & Short Stories. Creative content for online or offline use.
  • Scripts (movies and plays). Have a great idea but need someone to help you write it? Or looking for great script ideas?
  • Books & eBooks. Have an awesome story to tell and need help telling it?
  • Song lyrics and poetry. Have a killer piece of music that needs great lyrics? Or need help with a personalized love poem on Valentines day?

EDITING/PROOFREADING

  • All categories

Are there other categories you think we should have?  Have a question about Writing projects? Feel free to contact our friendly support team, visit the Help center, or leave a note below in the comments.  We’d love to hear from you.

Take a look at the writing projects that have already been posted or if you’re ready, post your own writing project!

Need something designed? Name your price. Pick from 110+ entries. Love it or your money back.

Like our blog? You’ll freaking love our Twitter updates. Oh, and you’ll dig our Facebook page too.

  • Eric Benderoff

    How much will writers be paid? Will writers write on spec? Example: Would a writer produce a white paper and be paid only if the company likes the paper?
    Thanks!

  • Eric Benderoff

    How much will writers be paid? Will writers write on spec? Example: Would a writer produce a white paper and be paid only if the company likes the paper?
    Thanks!

  • Ross

    Eric – thanks for your question. Buyers on crowdSPRING set their own price (we have established minimums in every category). Writers will receive 100% of the award(s) posted by buyers. crowdSPRING earns revenue by charging buyers a 15% fee in addition to the award amount(s).

    Writers will write on spec and would be paid if their work is chosen (this is how our design projects work). Writers would not need to draft the full document. For example, if a buyer is looking for a 750 or 1000 word essay or article, we recommend that writers submit 75-100 words and then the winning writer will provide the full article during project wrap-up. This is an analog to how our design projects have worked for the past 20 months.

  • Ross

    Eric – thanks for your question. Buyers on crowdSPRING set their own price (we have established minimums in every category). Writers will receive 100% of the award(s) posted by buyers. crowdSPRING earns revenue by charging buyers a 15% fee in addition to the award amount(s).

    Writers will write on spec and would be paid if their work is chosen (this is how our design projects work). Writers would not need to draft the full document. For example, if a buyer is looking for a 750 or 1000 word essay or article, we recommend that writers submit 75-100 words and then the winning writer will provide the full article during project wrap-up. This is an analog to how our design projects have worked for the past 20 months.

  • Angela Allen

    I’m thrilled to see that the writers among us will now enjoy both sides of the CrowdSpring experience! Thanks for expanding to include those who concentrate on the creative use of language!

  • Angela Allen

    I’m thrilled to see that the writers among us will now enjoy both sides of the CrowdSpring experience! Thanks for expanding to include those who concentrate on the creative use of language!

  • davebowman (Greg)

    I think the addition of writing contests is fantastic! (I’ve already entered one, and love the gallery format… it’s fully thought out and makes perfect sense).
    One question: what happens in the even of a tie, in other words, if two creatives enter the exact same name for a product or company?

  • davebowman (Greg)

    I think the addition of writing contests is fantastic! (I’ve already entered one, and love the gallery format… it’s fully thought out and makes perfect sense).
    One question: what happens in the even of a tie, in other words, if two creatives enter the exact same name for a product or company?

  • Ross

    Angela – we’re really pleased to be able to offer opportunities for writers and especially pleased that many in our community can design and write!

    davebowman – thanks! We spent a great deal of time debating/discussing/testing galleries and how things will work. As you know – we always invite feedback and never hesitate to evolve. Glade to hear we started in a good place.

    If two creatives enter the exact same name, we’d ask the buyer to split the award (since writing projects are private, creatives would not be able to see each others’ entries and we’d want to do what’s equitable). Curious if you think that’s a reasonable approach and if not – what you would do.

  • Ross

    Angela – we’re really pleased to be able to offer opportunities for writers and especially pleased that many in our community can design and write!

    davebowman – thanks! We spent a great deal of time debating/discussing/testing galleries and how things will work. As you know – we always invite feedback and never hesitate to evolve. Glade to hear we started in a good place.

    If two creatives enter the exact same name, we’d ask the buyer to split the award (since writing projects are private, creatives would not be able to see each others’ entries and we’d want to do what’s equitable). Curious if you think that’s a reasonable approach and if not – what you would do.

  • davebowman (Greg)

    Ross…thanks for the quick reply. Splitting the award makes total sense to me, but your answer makes me want to ask specifically… would that happen automatically (ie: where the contest holder has no other choice)? In other words, Crowdspring wouldn’t ‘ask the buyer’ to split the award, they’d ‘make the buyer’ split the award. It’s a subtle difference in semantics, but seems to me it’s important to have a set in stone policy and wrapup for this issue.

  • davebowman (Greg)

    Ross…thanks for the quick reply. Splitting the award makes total sense to me, but your answer makes me want to ask specifically… would that happen automatically (ie: where the contest holder has no other choice)? In other words, Crowdspring wouldn’t ‘ask the buyer’ to split the award, they’d ‘make the buyer’ split the award. It’s a subtle difference in semantics, but seems to me it’s important to have a set in stone policy and wrapup for this issue.

  • Ross

    davebowman – We don’t make it a practice to review all entries in every project. Given the volume of projects and entries, this would quickly overwhelm our small team. Since the entries are private, the chances of duplicates are rather small. But if this happens and the buyer asks us what to do, we will advise the buyer that if they intend to award one of the entries, we would split the award (and I think buyers would agree that would be a fair and reasonable solution). Now – this applies to very simple projects (for example, naming) and not to more complex projects where it would be pretty unusual for two original works to be identical.

  • Ross

    davebowman – We don’t make it a practice to review all entries in every project. Given the volume of projects and entries, this would quickly overwhelm our small team. Since the entries are private, the chances of duplicates are rather small. But if this happens and the buyer asks us what to do, we will advise the buyer that if they intend to award one of the entries, we would split the award (and I think buyers would agree that would be a fair and reasonable solution). Now – this applies to very simple projects (for example, naming) and not to more complex projects where it would be pretty unusual for two original works to be identical.

  • Marc Köhlbrugge

    What happens when a company holds a ‘company name’-project, gets less then 25 entries, cancels the project, uses a submitted company name, and then claims it already had it before it was submitted?

    Though question, I know :).

    For design projects I don’t see this happening, but for short texts it’s easy to claim you already thought of a name before.

    The only solution I can come up with is stating the ’25 entries minimum’-rule doesn’t hold up when a company uses a name that has been suggested by a user. Even when the company supposedly already came up with it before the contest. (unless, of course, they announce their own ideas up front)

  • Marc Köhlbrugge

    What happens when a company holds a ‘company name’-project, gets less then 25 entries, cancels the project, uses a submitted company name, and then claims it already had it before it was submitted?

    Though question, I know :).

    For design projects I don’t see this happening, but for short texts it’s easy to claim you already thought of a name before.

    The only solution I can come up with is stating the ’25 entries minimum’-rule doesn’t hold up when a company uses a name that has been suggested by a user. Even when the company supposedly already came up with it before the contest. (unless, of course, they announce their own ideas up front)

  • Tauren

    As @Marc points out above, with the simple writing contests (naming, taglines, etc.), it seems like there could be substantial misuse of writer’s ideas. It is so easy to just copy a couple words off of a web page. How much thought have you put into protecting the writers?

    For instance, if a contest is to come up with marketing content for the home page of their site, perhaps what they are looking for is a list of bullet points with a short paragraph for each. What’s to keep the contest holder from awarding one writer the prize, but still “borrowing” ideas and bullet points from many other writers?

    As a writer, is there any way that we can know where this content will get used, so later on we can go and see what they decided upon? I’m guessing that isn’t really possible.

    Lastly, if the contest holder is looking for a domain name idea, and someone owns one that they think would be perfect for the contest, is it acceptable to offer to sell it to them? Will these kinds of contests become full of “spam” entries with domaineers marketing their domains?

    I’m not trying to rant, I love the idea of writing contests. But the faq didn’t really go into much from the writer’s perspective, and I think us writers might have a lot of questions like these.

  • Tauren

    As @Marc points out above, with the simple writing contests (naming, taglines, etc.), it seems like there could be substantial misuse of writer’s ideas. It is so easy to just copy a couple words off of a web page. How much thought have you put into protecting the writers?

    For instance, if a contest is to come up with marketing content for the home page of their site, perhaps what they are looking for is a list of bullet points with a short paragraph for each. What’s to keep the contest holder from awarding one writer the prize, but still “borrowing” ideas and bullet points from many other writers?

    As a writer, is there any way that we can know where this content will get used, so later on we can go and see what they decided upon? I’m guessing that isn’t really possible.

    Lastly, if the contest holder is looking for a domain name idea, and someone owns one that they think would be perfect for the contest, is it acceptable to offer to sell it to them? Will these kinds of contests become full of “spam” entries with domaineers marketing their domains?

    I’m not trying to rant, I love the idea of writing contests. But the faq didn’t really go into much from the writer’s perspective, and I think us writers might have a lot of questions like these.

  • Melissa Giovagnoli

    I have been using CrowdSpring for more than two years now and I think it is the best thing to come along for small businesses since I wrote my first book more than 15 years ago called “The Chicago Entrepreneurs Sourcebook.”

    Now 15 years later you have created a tool that I can recommend to all the authors we work with and I will now use for my 12th book I am working on as we speak.

    Best,

    Melissa Giovagnoli
    http://www.networlding.com

  • Melissa Giovagnoli

    I have been using CrowdSpring for more than two years now and I think it is the best thing to come along for small businesses since I wrote my first book more than 15 years ago called “The Chicago Entrepreneurs Sourcebook.”

    Now 15 years later you have created a tool that I can recommend to all the authors we work with and I will now use for my 12th book I am working on as we speak.

    Best,

    Melissa Giovagnoli
    http://www.networlding.com

  • Jesse

    Awesome I’m so going to help out!

  • Jesse

    Awesome I’m so going to help out!

  • mike

    @Marc, @Tauren – these are fair points and we have been thinking along the same lines. For the time being, we have decided that ALL entries to writing projects will be visible ONLY to the buyer and (of course) the Creative who submitted the entry. Having said that the full range of IP prtoections that we offer in design project will also apply to Writing projects. Here is more info on those: http://bit.ly/protectip We will be carefully monitoring these projects and adjusting as we go, much as we did with design projects; please let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how the community can benefit.

    @Melissa – thanks so much for those kind words; we’re looking forward to seeing your projects!

    @Jesse – if you haven’t already done so, be sure to hop in and participate on the current batch of Writing projects! http://www.crowdspring.com/browse/writing/

  • mike

    @Marc, @Tauren – these are fair points and we have been thinking along the same lines. For the time being, we have decided that ALL entries to writing projects will be visible ONLY to the buyer and (of course) the Creative who submitted the entry. Having said that the full range of IP prtoections that we offer in design project will also apply to Writing projects. Here is more info on those: http://bit.ly/protectip We will be carefully monitoring these projects and adjusting as we go, much as we did with design projects; please let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how the community can benefit.

    @Melissa – thanks so much for those kind words; we’re looking forward to seeing your projects!

    @Jesse – if you haven’t already done so, be sure to hop in and participate on the current batch of Writing projects! http://www.crowdspring.com/browse/writing/

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  • Matthew

    I’ve entered a few of these now, and have to say I’m disappointed that the winning entries are kept secret.

    We have no way of knowing if the winner is similar to ours. Further, it’s just plain unsatisfying. We’ll literally never know what the buyer was looking for, and this stunts our growth as creatives. All we get is a “unfortunately, you lost” e-mail.

    Further, most buyers are choosing to stay anonymous, so we can’t even check up on them and see if they’re using any of our ideas down the road.

    I e-mailed the site and didn’t hear back from you guys about these and other concerns, and now I’m seeing only 4 or so projects to browse from in total.

    I wonder if other writers are also hoping to see the service evolve better soon. The concept is great, but at this point, I’ve been a little disappointed.

    Matthew

  • Matthew

    I’ve entered a few of these now, and have to say I’m disappointed that the winning entries are kept secret.

    We have no way of knowing if the winner is similar to ours. Further, it’s just plain unsatisfying. We’ll literally never know what the buyer was looking for, and this stunts our growth as creatives. All we get is a “unfortunately, you lost” e-mail.

    Further, most buyers are choosing to stay anonymous, so we can’t even check up on them and see if they’re using any of our ideas down the road.

    I e-mailed the site and didn’t hear back from you guys about these and other concerns, and now I’m seeing only 4 or so projects to browse from in total.

    I wonder if other writers are also hoping to see the service evolve better soon. The concept is great, but at this point, I’ve been a little disappointed.

    Matthew

  • Ross

    @Matthew – we balance risks and benefits when deciding how projects will operate (and also spend a great deal of time talking with creatives and clients). For writing projects, the risks of having entries be public – even winning entries – outweighed the benefits. Buyers are looking for unique content, and publishing such content on our site – before a buyer is able to publish it using their intended channel/medium, is counter-productie.

    I’m surprised you didn’t hear back from us. When you click the “contact-us” link on the site, you’ll get an email in response with a ticket number. That tells you that we’ve received your note (if you didn’t get a response email, it’s possible that we didn’t receive your note).

    As for evolution – we have lots of work ahead of us. We already have numerous changes planned for writing projects and will work tirelessly to continue to improve how they work – for both creatives and buyers.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • Ross

    @Matthew – we balance risks and benefits when deciding how projects will operate (and also spend a great deal of time talking with creatives and clients). For writing projects, the risks of having entries be public – even winning entries – outweighed the benefits. Buyers are looking for unique content, and publishing such content on our site – before a buyer is able to publish it using their intended channel/medium, is counter-productie.

    I’m surprised you didn’t hear back from us. When you click the “contact-us” link on the site, you’ll get an email in response with a ticket number. That tells you that we’ve received your note (if you didn’t get a response email, it’s possible that we didn’t receive your note).

    As for evolution – we have lots of work ahead of us. We already have numerous changes planned for writing projects and will work tirelessly to continue to improve how they work – for both creatives and buyers.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • Matthew

    Thanks for the response, Ross.

    I’d e-mailed one of the staff e-mails from a previous ticket.

    Overall, I find your site great for design projects, but with the limitations that you’re describing, I don’t see any of the creative growth benefits of the way your system for design works. The only benefit is cash, and that’s… boring.

    Seeing how others tackle problems is a big part of what makes the design projects a growth opportunity for competing designs, for instance, and seeing the winner is instructive too in terms of seeing the connection between what a client says their looking for, the feedback they leave, and the work they ultimately choose.

    Trust me — I understand why you’re doing the writing projects the way you’re doing. But I’m sharing my viewpoint, as a creative, that I don’t find it satisfying.

    With your decisions, the only incentive for writers to compete is $$$.

    All the other benefits of the design process — gone.

    Just one person’s viewpoint.

    I love your site for design projects, and you guys do a great job overall. I’ve recommended your design process literally dozens of times in the past few months. I can’t do the same for the writing side — yet.

    Matthew

  • Matthew

    Thanks for the response, Ross.

    I’d e-mailed one of the staff e-mails from a previous ticket.

    Overall, I find your site great for design projects, but with the limitations that you’re describing, I don’t see any of the creative growth benefits of the way your system for design works. The only benefit is cash, and that’s… boring.

    Seeing how others tackle problems is a big part of what makes the design projects a growth opportunity for competing designs, for instance, and seeing the winner is instructive too in terms of seeing the connection between what a client says their looking for, the feedback they leave, and the work they ultimately choose.

    Trust me — I understand why you’re doing the writing projects the way you’re doing. But I’m sharing my viewpoint, as a creative, that I don’t find it satisfying.

    With your decisions, the only incentive for writers to compete is $$$.

    All the other benefits of the design process — gone.

    Just one person’s viewpoint.

    I love your site for design projects, and you guys do a great job overall. I’ve recommended your design process literally dozens of times in the past few months. I can’t do the same for the writing side — yet.

    Matthew

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