Will Crowd-Writing be as successful as Crowd-Sourcing & -Funding?
The crowd. It has been a term we have all heard at some point in our studies. I heard about it first during the BIM and Innovation Management courses in our Bachelor. There I learned what a great force the crowd can be. It can be a huge source of information for companies in developing new products or solving problems (crowd-sourcing). Or it can serve as a source of capital for exciting new start-ups who do not feel like giving up a huge chunk of equity to investors, or who want to generate lots of buzz about their products before they are even developed (crowd-funding).
Recently, a new use of the crowd has been emerging and gaining popularity. It can be seen as a form of crowdsourcing, but is becoming so popular it is becoming a force of its own. Crowd-Writing is when lots of people (mostly amateur authors) come together to read, write or critique each others work. Users may post their work and ask for feedback or they may start a whole new group or community to write poems, novels, articles, blogs or whatever they want. The opportunities are endless.
One of the first start-ups that focused on crowd-writing is called Wattpad. This is an online writing community that allows people to crowd-write online or through the Wattpad app. They launched in 2007, but only really started to take off in 2011, when they received their first $3,5 million investment. This year, their biggest funding has occurred, as they received $46M in a financing round led by OMERS ventures. Today, the app has 25 Million users, 40 Million stories to read and is available on 85% of all mobile devices.
Their success has not gone unnoticed and one of the leading companies in terms of (e)books and (e)readers, Amazon, has launched its own crowd writing community a few days ago. WriteOn, which is how it is called, will serve as a crowd-editing and –writing service and is now in Private Beta, so not available just yet. It is easy to imagine how Wattpad and other crowd-writing start-ups are following this news with great concern. Amazon is the king of eReaders and eBooks so it could very easily implement crowd-writing into its business. Amazon already allows amateur writers to publish their own eBooks on their website, cutting out the publisher as a middle man. So adding a crowd-writing service to this should be no problem. Now that Amazon has joined the crowd-writing game it has the potential to grow from small communities only to the masses and main stream users, which means it may not harm, but could also benefit the growth of Wattpad.
What do you think the future will hold for crowd-writing? Can you see it growing as big as crowd-funding and –sourcing? Or will the combined work of a hundred amateur novelists never match up to a single, great author’s writing?