Good article Kiristen, but here are some major points why crowdsourced design A) works B) is here to stay... First, it's a marketplace. We dont force anyone to participate as a designer, and we don't force any project holders to launch contests--- but our conversions have tripled from our previous model. Why? Because it works, plain and simple. Is it perfect? No, but i have yet to see a perfect business, and it will get better. But, it's hard to convince a small business owner that their is a better solution for $300, where they can get 80+ concepts... in a week.
Second, I believe many people underestimate the global design community and the amount they can earn in this model. India and China have a combined 2 billion+ people. I'm not sure how many are designers, but i bet there's a lot. That's just 2 countries. Individuals in those markets need to earn around $300 to make GOOD salary. Our top designers earn more than $2k per month, regularly. we get emails all the time how we are changing their life. Even better for a designer, all they have to do is design... they dont have to find clients, pitch them, bill them, argue over revisions, just pick a project and design. This is extremely powerful.
Third, you also have to understand the mentality of the start up business. MOST small businesses don't get seed money, or VC. They leverage their credit card, or try to get started with a few thousands dollars. Therefore, getting a professional logo, AND some decent collateral for around $1000 is a great solution. Having someone conduct "market research" for an additional $4000 is unneccessary at their stage of the game, and unaffordable. But here's the kicker, major enterprises are entering the space also. Why? Because it's efficient and yields excellent results.
Fourth, if the previous design process was perfect, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The reality of the previous design process, is that it's slow, and inefficient. And probably about 30% of the projects lead to either the project holder being unhappy with what they received, and having to pay top dollar for it and live with it, or the designer having to give more comps and not get paid for it. Either way, it's not perfect. And on top fo that, it takes weeks and weeks to get something completed.
Finally, i can't speak for our competitors, but, i believe this is the first phase of the crowdsourcing model. We are fully aware of the frustration of the design community, and we WANT to expand the net to get more top designers involved. It's a new model, it will adapt and improve. In the end, as i stated in my article, value will be placed on creative minds, and strategic thinkers.
Thanks for the healthy debate... we hope you try out #MycroBurst and see for yourself how this is so effective.