Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls


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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 nine serious pitfalls. Learn more about naming, or find a professional naming company to hire, at Copyright 2013 Marcia Yudkin.

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Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Looking for a new business name? Crowdsourcing may seem like a cheap, fast way to tap the wisdom of crowds. However… Learn more at
  2. 2. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #1 No confidentiality. Learn more at
  3. 3. 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. Learn more at
  4. 4. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #2 Poor quality entries. Learn more at
  5. 5. 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. Learn more at
  6. 6. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #3 Wrong direction. Learn more at
  7. 7. 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. Learn more at
  8. 8. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #4 Popularity misleads. Learn more at
  9. 9. 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. Learn more at
  10. 10. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #5 Stolen or recycled names. Learn more at
  11. 11. Sad but true: Contestants in crowdsourcing competitions frequently submit ideas they have copied, plagiarized or submitted in other competitions. Learn more at
  12. 12. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #6 Coming up empty. Learn more at
  13. 13. 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. Learn more at
  14. 14. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #7 Derailment. Learn more at
  15. 15. 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. Learn more at
  16. 16. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #8 Missing the best talent. Learn more at
  17. 17. 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. Learn more at
  18. 18. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Pitfall #9 Hidden costs. Learn more at
  19. 19. Culling through thousands of submissions takes time and personnel. Because of the high probability of copyright infringement, legal expenses mount up, also. Learn more at
  20. 20. Crowdsourcing: 9 Hidden Pitfalls Commentary by Marcia Yudkin, Founder of the Naming Company Named At Last Learn more at