Your guide to crowdsourcing platforms (with examples)

George Denison
|July 5, 2024

Crowdsourcing platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years. By 2027, the global crowdsourcing market will hit $154.8 billion.

These platforms connect researchers and businesses with a global community of problem solvers who can handle simple tasks or complex scientific challenges. They tap into the crowd's collective intelligence to help you get tasks done quickly – and save money.

There are many crowdsourcing platforms on the market, catering to different audiences and needs. This article looks at six popular examples, exploring their features and use cases to help you make the right choice.

What is a crowdsourcing platform?

A crowdsourcing platform connects businesses with freelancers or problem solvers online. Companies post tasks that can include surveys, experiments, and challenges, and people from around the globe work on them.

Crowdsourcing began in the early 2000s when the internet made it possible to reach a large network of talent. It's used by all kinds of people and enterprises, from solo academics and small start-ups to large corporations.

Crowdsourcing platforms offer benefits such as saving money, accessing a wide range of skills, and easy scaling. They're also a great way to source innovative solutions from people with diverse perspectives.

6 examples of popular crowdsourcing platforms

1. Prolific

Prolific is a platform that enables researchers to collect high-quality human-powered data at scale from a large, vetted pool of research participants and taskers.

Using the Prolific platform, researchers can target, contact, and manage research participants from Prolific’s vetted pool. Participants contribute to academic studies, industry research, AI tasks, and more.

Key features and benefits:

  • 200k+ active and engaged participants

Prolific’s pool of participants is carefully vetted. IP addresses are checked, and identities are verified with bank-grade ID checks.

  • Regular manual and algorithmic quality checks

Prolific maintains high data quality through manual reviews and advanced algorithms, ensuring the data collected is accurate and trustworthy.

  • Seamless integrations and API

Researchers can connect any tool with just a link, and scale and automate everything with a flexible API.


Prolific has a transparent service fee. This is added on top - participants get 100% of their hourly rate and receive payments of $8/£6 per hour minimum. Researchers can also pay additional bonuses for high-performing participants. You can work out the costs using this cost calculator.


2. Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a marketplace for micro-tasks. It allows businesses to outsource small, repetitive tasks to a large group of workers.

Businesses can post tasks such as data entry, content moderation, and surveys. Workers complete these tasks for a fee.

Key features and benefits

  • Cost-effective for repetitive tasks

MTurk allows businesses to outsource small, repetitive tasks at a low cost, making it an affordable option for handling large volumes of simple work.

  • Large pool of available workers

With a vast workforce, MTurk provides access to a large number of workers who can take on tasks. This ensures that tasks are picked up and completed quickly.


Users can decide how much they pay workers for each assignment. This is then subject to a 20% service fee, which covers the reward you pay them and any bonuses.


3. Upwork

Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms in the world. It connects businesses with freelancers in various fields, such as writing, programming, design, and more.

Their platform allows businesses to find and hire freelancers for short-term and long-term projects. It offers tools for project management, communication, and payment.

Key features and benefits

  • Access to a vast pool of freelancers

Upwork connects businesses with millions of freelancers worldwide. This diverse talent pool allows you to find experts in any field you need.

  • Flexible hiring options

Upwork offers various hiring options, from short-term gigs to long-term contracts. This flexibility makes it easy to scale your workforce according to project needs.

  • Integrated tools for managing projects

Upwork provides built-in tools for communication, project management, and payment. These tools streamline the workflow and make managing projects more efficient.


When you hire on Upwork, you pay a 5% Client Marketplace Fee. This is charged on all payments made to freelancers for fixed-price or hourly-rate jobs. They also charge freelancers and agencies a 10% service fee on their earnings.


4. 99designs

99designs is a platform specifically for graphic design. It connects businesses with freelance designers who compete to create the best design for the client.

They provide design contests where multiple designers can submit their work. The client then picks their preferred option. You can also use 99designs to hire designers for specific projects.

Key features and benefits

  • Access to a wide range of design styles

99designs offers a diverse community of designers with expertise in various styles and genres. Whether you need a minimalist logo or an intricate illustration, you can find the right style for your project.

  • Competitive pricing through design contests

By hosting design contests, 99designs allows businesses to receive multiple design concepts and choose the best. This competitive environment often results in high-quality designs at competitive prices.

  • High-quality design talent

This platform attracts top design talent from around the world. The platform's stringent vetting process ensures businesses can access skilled designers who can deliver professional and creative designs.


While it’s free to join, 99designs charges both clients and designers. Client rates include a 5% platform fee on top of the designer’s fee. Designer rates align with normal industry rates, but they’re also categorized. You can choose an entry-level, mid-level, or high-level designer to suit your budget.


5. uTest

uTest is a platform for software testing. It connects companies with a community of professional testers who help ensure their software is bug-free.

This platform offers functional, usability, and localization testing services. Testers provide detailed feedback and bug reports to improve software quality.

Key features and benefits

  • Access to skilled testers

uTest provides access to a global community of skilled testers specializing in various software testing aspects. This ensures a thorough evaluation of your software across different devices and environments.

  • Comprehensive testing services

They offer a wide range of testing services, including functional testing, usability testing, and localization testing. This comprehensive approach helps identify and address potential issues before software release.

  • Improves software quality and user experience

By using uTest's services, businesses can enhance the quality of their software and ensure a positive user experience. The detailed feedback provided by testers helps refine the product and meet user expectations.


It’s free to register and take part in tests. The average uTest hourly pay ranges from approximately $25 to $74 per hour. This is dependent on the tester's experience.


6. TopCoder

TopCoder is a platform for competitive programming and crowdsourced software development. It connects businesses with a global community of developers and data scientists.

They offer coding competitions as well as project-based work. The platform provides solutions for complex problems in software development, data science, and algorithm optimization.

Key features and benefits

  • Access to top-tier programming talent

TopCoder connects businesses with a global community of elite developers and data scientists. This ensures access to top-tier programming talent capable of solving complex problems and delivering high-quality solutions.

  • Innovative solutions through competitions

Their coding competitions foster innovation and creativity. These competitions often result in novel solutions and cutting-edge approaches to software development challenges.

  • High-quality software development

By engaging with TopCoder, businesses benefit from high-quality software development services. The platform's rigorous competition and review processes ensure that delivered solutions meet industry standards and exceed expectations.


This platform uses AI to help clients define their work and estimate a reasonable price. This enables them to attract the right talent to get the results they want. Clients only need to pay if the solution meets or exceeds their standards.


Crowdsourcing platforms offer a flexible, cost-effective way to solve many business challenges. They use global talent to find innovative solutions and complete tasks quickly, saving money.

These platforms provide access to diverse skills and expertise, making it easier to scale projects up or down as needed. By using crowdsourcing, businesses can enhance productivity, improve quality, and stay competitive in an ever-changing market.

Looking to crowdsource high-quality data for your research? Prolific makes it easy to find vetted participants at scale. Get set up, integrate your tools, target the right participants and launch surveys, tasks, or experiments in minutes.

Find out how you can get complete datasets in just two hours with Prolific.