What does crowdsourcing buy?

Last week’s Creative Freelancer Digest generated more debate about the crowdsourcing issue here and on the LinkedIn group discussion forum.

But most of the discussion is theoretical: is crowdsourcing good or bad, and for whom?

One side of the story that few have heard so far was addressed yesterday on Slate.com in a column, “The Crowd Is Wise—but Can It Draw?” by Rob Walker, author of “Consumed” and the more recent, “Buying In.”

In it, he tries out crowdsourcing to see what you actually get when you ask for “a logo for an email newsletter.” (He even includes along with slides of his top five (of 32) picks.) The results won’t surprise anyone but it is enlightening.

Has anyone else actually participated? If so, share your experience.