Crowdsourcing (outsourcing tasks to a crowd) is a powerful concept that can be adapted to a wide range of industries, such as entertainment, finance, IT, and more. It has branched out into sub-niches like crowdsolving (solving a problem as a group of people), crowdsearching (modern-day search party), crowdfunding (funding a product or cause as a group), crowdvoting (gathering reactions or ideas of a group of people), and more.
Today, there are even inducement prize contests that are based on crowdsourcing, but with a cash prize element in exchange for idea generation. Earlier versions of this include IBM’s 2006 “Innovation Jam,” which yielded 46,000 ideas from over 140k participants around the world, and Netflix’s 2009 “Netflix Prize” recommendation-algorithm $1m contest that increased the platform’s prediction algorithm to over 10% thanks to the idea from the winning team BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos.
Eventually, crowdsourced contest sites that cater to businesses popped up everywhere. They provide a platform for businesses in need of help with naming new products, services or startups and hundreds of participants from all walks of life giving out their ideas in hopes of winning cash prizes.
How Do Crowdsourced Contest Sites Work?
Every participant must join the crowdsourced contest site, check out available contests, and enter their name recommendations for a chance to win a prize. Most contests only give prize ranging from $10 to $500 to the participant with the best answer, but some contests also include smaller-amount prizes to second and third placers.
Businesses rarely disclose their names, but they include as much information needed for participants to be able to churn out recommendations properly. For example, an IT startup providing internet marketing and website creation is looking for a “quirky and memorable” company name that shows the professionalism and fun side of the company. Prize amount is displayed, so participants can decide whether to join the contest or not.
In most crowdsourced contest sites, participants can recommend as many names as they want, and join as many contests they like. There’s no technical skill or educational requirements required from participants, so all you need to do is your creativity and ability to follow instructions.
Getting Started with Crowdsourced Contest Sites
If you have some free time and want to join brand-naming crowdsourced contests, you can start with these 3 sites:
1) Naming Force – With Naming Force, a client creates a contest and allows members to recommend names within 7 to 10 days. Once the submission period ends, Naming Force members have up to 3 days to vote for their favorite entries. The client reviews leading suggestions within 7 days and picks the winner. If the client fails to choose a name, the name with the most votes automatically gets picked and the one who recommended it gets the prize.
- Participants earn higher ranking every time they submit more names per contest.
- Participants with high rankings increase the number of submissions per contest. This is because some clients can set the number of times a participant can submit a name.
- Average prize amount is $100, but it may also range from $50 to $500.
- Prizes are set by the clients.
- Prizes are sent via PayPal
- Naming Force is only open to U.S. citizens.
2) Squad Help – Founded by Chicago-based entrepreneur Darpan Munjal in 2011, Squad Help doesn’t just help with naming brands or companies. They also help clients find logo design, taglines or slogans through the work of contest participants. Out of all crowdsourced contest sites, Squad Help has the largest online presence (from Facebook to Twitter). Participants can jump right in a day after registration. New members can join select contests and can enter up to five entries per contest.
- Your entries are instantly checked for Trademark issues and domain (URL) availability. If the system accepts your entry, you’ll see a green flag pop up. If not, a red flag will notify you and you can try again.
- Some contests are invite-only and past winners (Tier A Category) are the only ones eligible to join
- Some clients require participants to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement before being allowed to join the contest
- Prizes range from $50 to $300 with an average of $100.
3) CrowdSpring –This platform was founded by Ross Kimbarovsky in 2008. Like Squad Help, Crowd Spring also offers various crowdsourced services, including email templates, design, and more. This is a favorite among creatives since they are allowed to communicate with clients and receive feedback from their submissions. Crowd Spring is also known to police projects properly, which reduces the chance of creatives to get scammed.
- Creatives can register without a fee.
- Enter as many contests as you wish.
- There’s no limit as to how many entries you can submit per contest.
- As prize, winners are given 60% of the package fee a client chooses.
Are these Sites Worth Your Time?
There are downsides to joining crowdsourced contest sites. First, there’s tough competition. Second, there’s no guaranteed income from participating in these sites. And lastly, your creative name suggestions will be out in the world without much copyright protection and you can’t do anything about it when they get stolen.
On the other side of the coin, naming products or businesses doesn’t require tons of skills or an impressive resume. Just put on your thinking cap, get creative and hope that you win. I don’t recommend using these sites as your main source of income, but if you have spare time, you can always check out what’s available and join in on the fun.