Lessons Learned

Contrary to popular belief, the respondents who devote the most time to crowdsourced campaigns are often those who have the highest level of expertise in the subject, said USC professor Daren Brabham, who has researched online crowdsourcing.

“It’s a better use of your time to target people who are experts and already interested in the topic, and then work from there,” Brabham said. “Once you get a hardcore community involved, others will be intrigued by the excitement, and it will bubble up from there.”49

ProPublica’s Zamora observed that sources from “closed-rank” communities, such as health care providers, tend to generate fewer contributions than from patient communities. Also, when ClearHealthCosts and its California PriceCheck partners asked about IUD prices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the response was limited. The community was more interested in colonoscopy prices, a likely testament to public radio demographics.

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