BciNet: A Biased Contest-Based Crowdsourcing Incentive Mechanism through Exploiting Social Networks

Yufeng Wang, Wei Dai, Qun Jin, Jianhua Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Crowdsourcing has proved to be a splendid tool to aggregate the knowledge from a pool of individuals in order to perform abundant microtasks efficiently. Recently, with the explosive growth of online social network, Word of Mouth (WoM)-based crowdsourcing systems have emerged, in which besides conducting the tasks by themselves, participants simultaneously recruit other individuals through exploiting their social networks to help solve crowdsourced tasks. This crowdsourcing paradigm can greatly facilitate to grow the pool of crowdworkers. However, there exist two conflicting challenges in designing an effective WoM-based incentive mechanism: 1) sybil attack and 2) heterogeneous effect of participants. That is, intuitively, incentivizing (usually compensating for) common-ability individuals will inevitably stimulate the behavior of sybil attack (i.e., some individuals create multiple sybils, and split the total efforts into those sybils to expect more compensation). This paper proposes a novel biased contest-based crowdsourcing incentive mechanism through exploiting social networks (BciNet), aiming to balance those two conflicting objectives. BciNet is composed of two phases. First, based on spreading activation model, an enhanced geometric virtual point dissemination mechanism is able to provide sybil-proof property and accommodate the realistic social network structure. Second, based on participants' virtual points, a biased contest gives more reward to less able participants. Through carefully calibrating the bias factor, simulation results based on the real dataset show that BciNet can greatly improve the amount of participants' effort levels, and actually be robust against the sybil attack. In brief, for a practical incentive mechanism, the methodology to address conflicting goals is to put rational individuals into dilemma: to be sybil or not to be, it is the problem, i.e., the potential gain from the sybils in the second phase may be offset by the loss in the first phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8370841
Pages (from-to)2926-2937
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug


  • Biased contest
  • incentive mechanism
  • social network
  • sybil attack
  • word of mouth (WoM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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