Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

CrowdFlower Heads Downmarket With New Photo Moderation Tools

CrowdFlower, the crowdsourcing platform, is striking out in a new direction under the leadership of co-founder Lukas Biewald, who recently took back the CEO role from a hired executive.

Crowdflower went through its own image moderation tool to find inoffensive images for this sample screenshot.

CrowdFlower traditionally charges customers at least $10,000 per month to do little tasks on a big scale — like fill out their e-commerce product listings or catalog online media content. Its customers include eBay, Microsoft and Toshiba.

Now, a new CrowdFlower self-serve photo moderation tool will screen image uploads for objectionable content, starting at $100 per month. Each image will be screened by three to 10 people (the photos that moderators disagree about get put back into the system), with results delivered in a few minutes.

The so-called “Real Time Foto Moderator” is already being used by the flirting app Skout, and existing customers will be moved to the lower pricing.

“I retook the CEO job because I had a new idea for the company,” Biewald told me. “It always bothered me that we served only the biggest customers.”

CrowdFlower already moderates photo uploads for user-generated content sites, at a rate of three million photos per month. The photo moderation tool is just the first self-serve CrowdFlower application, with others planned, Biewald said, adding that looking for objectionable images is “not our most common task — but the simplest and easiest to explain.”


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus