Thanks to the feedback of commenters, we found our crowdSPRING sourced logo was stolen from elsewhere and then sold to us. Yikes. We don’t condone IP theft in any way, and, we assume, neither does crowdSPRING. We’ll post again when they respond. Does that make us rethink crowdsourcing generally? Not entirely. We wish crowdSPRING had done a better job of policing the entries, but at least there’s someone we can now hold accountable for that problem. Managing our own policing effort sort of defeats the purpose of using a place like crowdSPRING for something quick. Using a freelancer doesn’t eliminate the IP theft risk, leaves the risk on us if there is a problem, and forces us to find and manage someone – although that’s a bit easier now because of the visibility created by this issue. Using a big firm probably avoids these problems – but costs $300K. Still happy with the naming, disappointed with having to redo the logo. Win some and lose some.
Our updated post is here - crowdSPRING sold us stolen property! On crowdsourcing and entrepreneurship.
Original post below:
As we move closer to the official launch date of Shopsanity, we’ve been working hard to set up our website and tell the world what we do. Of course, even before that, we needed to know what we were going to call ourselves and what our logo would be. I initially approached three different branding firms for help with naming the company, positioning us, and coming up with various branding elements. All of the quotes were $200-$300K. Yikes. We could build a lot of stuff for our users on $300K! Our name and logo are important, but I think our consumer experience is more so. A great name won’t bring you back if the product is no good, and if you like what we do, you’ll probably come back even if the colors in our logo are a bit off.
The branding firm quotes made our company look seriously into crowd sourcing our brand. I investigated brandstack, 99designs, and crowdSPRING. I liked brandstack because I could pick a URL and logo at the same time, pay a fixed price, and be done. Unfortunately, there weren’t any available that excited me, so I had to move on to custom crowd sourcing. 99Designs and crowdSPRING seemed pretty similar, but I ended up choosing crowdSPRING because the signup and listing process felt a little easier. Actually, I chose crowdSPRING to launch a naming process and intended to try 99Designs for the logo, but the experience at crowdSPRING was nice enough on the name that I just did the logo there too. For the name, I spent an hour writing out a description of what we do and filling in a few other things, offered $1000 for the winning name, and paid crowdSPRING about $500 in various fees. Once I pushed go, names started coming in (with URLs available – that was a key requirement for us) almost immediately. Shopsanity was the second name submitted, about 5 minutes after we launched the project, but there were another 700 names that came in over the next week. I spent a lot of time offering feedback on each name along the way. In the end, we chose shopsanity, and our total cost was about $1500 plus several hours of my time. (I would have had to spend at least that much time with a big branding firm.) I think we had entries come in from all over the world.
The logo went the same way. Once we had a name, we launched a new project at crowdSPRING. We had about 400 logo entries in 2 weeks. Any of the top 20 would have been fine, but we chose the Zen-feeling tree you see above. About another $1500. So all in, about $3000 for a name and logo. I think they work well. Let me know in the comments if you disagree.
Once we had name and logo, we bought a theme for $40, set up an EC2 instance using aBitnami image with WordPress included, added some plugins, and built the website with a non-technical person in a weekend. All in, $3,040 plus some effort for name, logo, and website layout. Is it as good as spending $300,000? Probably not, but it’s certainly not 1,000 times worse! Now we can spend a heck of a lot more money making products that delight our users. That’s a trade we’ll take every time.
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