Is crowdsourcing good for some?

Laurel BlackRecently on my original post about crowdsourcing, I got a detailed response from Shopsanity, who caught a lot of very public flak for crowdsourcing their logo, only to find that the design had been stolen.

Even after that, they still seemed to think that CS was okay for start-ups because they think branding costs $200K (I wish). Shopsanity contends that start-ups should wait until they scale before worrying about branding and other design collateral. They make some interesting assumptions about design and its purpose that I think may be of use from a marketing standpoint, because it shows what we’re up against in selling creative services.

My response was pretty long so I made it into a full post. They have since replied again at length and we have a pretty robust conversation going on. You can read the whole thing here.

Hope this isn’t beating a dead horse…here is the initial post on crowdsourcing.

And what about this new technology that allows computers to write articles instead of humans? Is that another form of crowdsourcing?

5 thoughts on “Is crowdsourcing good for some?

  1. Pamela Saxon

    Laurel, you have summed it all up so beautifully. I wish I could express myself as valiantly as you! My favorite part of all is your very last paragraph in the post. Brava! And thank you for taking the time and effort to stand up on the behalf of all designers. (Proud to know you!)

  2. Billy

    My recommendation to all designers and creatives that read these articles about crowd sourcing is join some of these crowd sourcing sites and submit work… work that is bogus. These sites rely on crowds, so let give them a crowd. I’m sure there is already a lot of terrible work being submitted, but if these sites get flooded with work, and projects that are completely phony they won’t be in business for long. I’m going to start today. It’ll only take a few minutes a day.

    When Shopsanity was informed that the logo they chose was stolen, they posted that they don’t condone IP theft, but that is exactly what they are doing with crowd sourcing. They say they got 400 submissions and intended to pay for one, therefore they are stealing 399 logo designs. They also try and blame the crowd sourcing site claiming there was insufficient policing. But that is the whole point of crowd sourcing. It’s a free-for-all, with no review or process, or quality, or real communication or interaction.

    1. Jason

      Don’t sink to their level. if people are willing to give away crappy designs, and a company is willing to risk getting a stolen logo, then let them do it. I don’t think crowdsourcing is bad, but the company should be responsible for their own actions, and the designer who stole the logo should be held accountible. We should not fear the new business model, but learn to adapt. A good designer should be able to explain to a potential client why his work will be much better than something by a random person.

  3. Richard Clunan

    The model of crowdsourcing whereby lots of people contribute work and don’t get paid is for sure bound to get flak from designers and others.

    For a system to work well for designers and for clients, that key point has to be taken into account in building the model.

    There’s a blog post about that here:

    …and when I find a bit of time, I intend to write another blog post about this.