Zooppa harnesses crowd-sourcing's energy
What: Zooppa.com, Seattle Who: Wil Merritt, 52, CEO Mission: Produces ad campaigns by coordinating online networks of freelancers. Employees Employees: 15 Financials:...
What: Zooppa.com, Seattle
Who: Wil Merritt, 52, CEO
Mission: Produces ad campaigns by coordinating online networks of freelancers.
Financials: Founded in 2007, the privately held company does not discuss its financials.
Crowd sourcing: "Zooppa is about crowd-sourcing creativity," Merritt said. After the company gets a contract with a client, it runs an online contest challenging its network of freelancers to produce the best video, print ad or online banner. "We have 90,000 members around the world who create videos and print ads for the brands," said Merritt. "And we have a staff at Zooppa that screens all the work and makes sure that it's exactly to target."
Win, win: According to Merritt, the top 20 or 30 submissions will win an award, with the top submission typically getting tens of thousands of dollars. "We just finished a project with AT&T and $20,000 was the award for the best video," he said. "The total pot was $30,000." Zooppa makes its money in the form of a management charge to the client.
Emerging talent: About 40 percent of Zooppa's 90,000 members are professionals in the communication business, including freelancers, videographers and people who work in design firms. About 60 percent are enthusiasts, students and recent graduates, people who are looking to get into the advertising world. "It's a great way to get work for your portfolio, and to get practice with major brands," he said.
Future model: Merritt says crowd sourcing is a future model for advertising. "It's a cost-effective way of producing content," he said. "But even more importantly it's a way of distributing it. People are proud of the work they do and they share it with other people."
— Patrick Marshall
This article originally appeared in print Dec. 27, 2010. Because of a production error, it wasn't published online until Jan. 13, 2011.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.