Holotof is a network of "advertising creatives", which enables businesses to come and pitch them work - in the form of ad projects and campaigns. The idea then is that creatives submit ideas for the pitch and the client chooses the best one to work with. The site was launched in May this year by Robby Ralston, a native of Peru. Robby told me via email that Holotof currently has 900+ creative professionals from 68 countries signed up. His description of Holotof:
"Advertisers from all over the world will drop their briefs at holotof and we will sent them our ideas in return. They will choose a winner, who will get the cash award."
Of course, dropping your briefs is liable to get you in trouble some places... but in Holotof it is a chance to get creative people competing for your business. I like the idea and it seems a good way for advertising creatives to get work - especially for young or inexperienced creatives, who are trying to build a reputation in their industry.
Robby referred to it as a combination of web 2.0 and crowdsourcing (a term coined in June this year by Wired, which means using "a combination of volunteers and low-paid amateurs" to carry out work traditionally done by internal staff - e.g. R&D work). In the case of Holotof, it brings together a crowd of creative individuals and lets them compete for advertising work.
Holotof is very similar to the current wave of jobs websites, such as oDesk - which R/WW mentioned in our review of the Web 2.0 Summit Launchpad. oDesk describes itself as an "on demand global workforce" and the idea is to be a marketplace for technical talent - as with Holotof, individuals essentially compete to land a contracting job. oDesk also provides web-based tools to manage remote teams, which has been a little controversial because it includes monitoring and click tracking software. Incidentally the controversy has been neatly turned into a positive by oDesk, even to the point of oDesk users waxing poetic about it:
"Each 20 minutes, a screenshot appears,
of the desktop for the guy I just hired.
At the end of my day, I can view on a page,
the events of his day that transpired.
But oDesk knows that there’s more to manage,
and throws some treats in the mix,
a vertical bar beside the photo,
counting all his mouse clicks!"
But I would imagine Holotof doesn't need to go to those lengths, as advertising creativity is not really a thing you can measure by mouse clicks!!
Anyway, Holotof guarantees its clients get at least 10 bids/ideas for their advertising briefs. Their business model is that clients pay for usage of the system - rather than a set monthly fee or a commission.
It's unclear at this stage how much business has flowed through Holotof, but I think the idea itself is promising and we'll increasingly see this kind of use of web technology in the global workforce. Speaking as a New Zealander, I can see huge benefits to both kiwi workers and businesses in using such a system to get work outside our tiny country.