Why crowdsourcing is rubbish : "We know it when we see it"

Tom Albrighton at abc copywriting has put up a well researched piece explaining all the faults he sees in crowdsourcing. Beyond the obvious "can we do the font from that one, the headline from that one, and the picture from that one?" thing we've all run into when we present three pieces to more than five people.

Thanks to social media and the web, the ritual of presenting options to the client has mutated into a monstrous and dangerous new form: completely crowdsourced creative.

Instead of badgering their creative agency into producing one good design and four pointless alternatives, the client can just go straight to 99 designs and get 500 rubbish designs to choose from – at a fraction of the cost.

Since the designers involved are paid little or nothing, their submissions are severely compromised in terms of commitment, time and ideas. So instead of buying one great idea, the client gets lots of weak ones through which they can enact their own taste and control-freakery. Crowdsourcing design means buying lots of rubbish little dogs and barking rubbishly yourself as well.

The mindset behind all this is puzzling. I guess we could sum it up something like this: ‘I know I can’t do this myself, so I need someone more creative to do it. And although I trust them to produce the ideas, I don’t trust them to choose the best one – I’ve got to do that. And even though I wouldn’t have any idea how to proceed when faced with a blank page, I’ll know the right answer when I see it.’