Friday, March 5, 2010

Thinking Of CrowdSourcing For Ideas Or Solutions? Be Aware Of Its Pitfalls, Warns Business Naming Expert

Although CrowdSourcing appears inexpensive, easy and fast, organizations need to realize it comes with several pitfalls

Nearly every day sees the launch of another crowdsourcing application – an arrangement whereby an organization solicits ideas, designs or solutions for problems from the general public, amateurs or enthusiasts. Usually a reward is offered for the winning submission. According to Marcia Yudkin, a business naming expert and founder of Named At Last (, although crowdsourcing is seductive because it seems inexpensive, easy and fast, it comes with serious pitfalls.

"The biggest danger is receiving appealing submissions that are the intellectual property of other companies," Yudkin notes. "This has occurred in several well-publicized logo and naming competitions. When you award the grand prize to a no-name person who snitched their entry from someone else, you could be up for public relations problems and high legal expenses. On the other hand, this almost never happens when you hire established professionals."

Other dangers of crowdsourcing include:

* No confidentiality. You can’t fly under the radar with your project when you put it out for crowdsourcing. To get high-quality entries, you have to divulge a lot of details that wouldn’t be public when dealing conventionally with consultants.

* Poor quality entries. Crowdsourcing aficionados rarely take the time to familiarize themselves with your project criteria. So submissions are often wildly off base.

* Derailment of the competition. Comedian Stephen Colbert loves telling his fans to enter his name into contests – and he has so many fans, this can crowd out the well-meant entries. It happened to NASA when the space agency decided to name a future space station.

"The more exacting you are and the higher the stakes are in your project, the greater the dangers of crowdsourcing," Yudkin concludes. "Sometimes crowdsourcing works perfectly. But much of the time, you’re better off going the traditional route."

Named At Last offers a free downloadable report on generating new names without resorting to crowdsourcing. To obtain it, go to

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