Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls

Collection by Marcia Yudkin, Marketing & Publicity Expert

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Online, you can find sites set up for web-based naming competitions. Although this may seem like a fast, inexpensive and effective way to come up with a new company name or product name, the process has many serious pitfalls. Learn more about naming, or find a professional naming company to hire, at www.namedatlast.com. Copyright 2013 Marcia Yudkin. #company names #business names #naming #crowdsourcing

Marcia Yudkin, Marketing & Publicity Expert
Looking for a new business name? Crowdsourcing may seem like a cheap, fast way to tap the wisdom of crowds. However, it holds many hidden pitfalls.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Looking for a new business name? Crowdsourcing may seem like a cheap, fast way to tap the wisdom of crowds. However, it holds many hidden pitfalls.

Soliciting suggestions makes your plans and the competitive advantages of your company or product public. If you try to be cagey and provide less information for this reason, the ideas you receive are less relevant. This is the deadliest downfall of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Soliciting suggestions makes your plans and the competitive advantages of your company or product public. If you try to be cagey and provide less information for this reason, the ideas you receive are less relevant. This is the deadliest downfall of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing contestants submit whatever comes to them off the top of their heads. They may not know much about your industry and don't take the time to learn about it. They often ignore your stated naming criteria, so you must wade through a ton of wildly off-target suggestions.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Crowdsourcing contestants submit whatever comes to them off the top of their heads. They may not know much about your industry and don't take the time to learn about it. They often ignore your stated naming criteria, so you must wade through a ton of wildly off-target suggestions.

Because amateur namers don't look at the whole business landscape, they can lead you in a very foolish direction. This pitfall ensnared Kraft Foods Australia in a PR nightmare when they selected the product name "iSnack 2.0" from a crowdsourcing competition, then retracted the name after massive public outcry.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Because amateur namers don't look at the whole business landscape, they can lead you in a very foolish direction. This pitfall ensnared Kraft Foods Australia in a PR nightmare when they selected the product name "iSnack 2.0" from a crowdsourcing competition, then retracted the name after massive public outcry.

The number of votes an idea receives has nothing to do with whether the target audience will find it appealing, whether a name is legally free for use, whether it contains connotations that might backfire on the company, whether it is sufficiently distinct from the competition, etc.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

The number of votes an idea receives has nothing to do with whether the target audience will find it appealing, whether a name is legally free for use, whether it contains connotations that might backfire on the company, whether it is sufficiently distinct from the competition, etc.

Sad but true: Contestants in crowdsourcing competitions frequently submit ideas they have copied, plagiarized or submitted in other competitions.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Sad but true: Contestants in crowdsourcing competitions frequently submit ideas they have copied, plagiarized or submitted in other competitions.

When you eliminate all the crowdsourced entries that are not legally available, linguistically wise and appropriate from a marketing standpoint, you may have nothing left.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

When you eliminate all the crowdsourced entries that are not legally available, linguistically wise and appropriate from a marketing standpoint, you may have nothing left.

When NASA asked the public to help name a new room to be added to future American space stations, comedian Stephen Colbert asked his fans to suggest it be called "Colbert." And indeed they did, in droves, so that he received 40,000 more votes than the runner-up name. The U.S. space agency was not amused.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

When NASA asked the public to help name a new room to be added to future American space stations, comedian Stephen Colbert asked his fans to suggest it be called "Colbert." And indeed they did, in droves, so that he received 40,000 more votes than the runner-up name. The U.S. space agency was not amused.

Those with great experience and skills do not frequent crowdsourcing sites. Yet experts are much more likely than eager amateurs and novices to nail the assignment.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Those with great experience and skills do not frequent crowdsourcing sites. Yet experts are much more likely than eager amateurs and novices to nail the assignment.

Culling through thousands of submissions takes time and personnel.  Legal expenses because of the high probability of copyright infringement mount up, also.

Crowdsourcing: Disadvantages and Pitfalls of Crowdsourcing for Naming a Business or Product

Culling through thousands of submissions takes time and personnel. Legal expenses because of the high probability of copyright infringement mount up, also.