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Heading into the marketplace, you’ll find a lot of terrific products that get lost in the fold due largely to poor branding. On the flip side, you’ll also find a lot of mediocre products that have skyrocketed to monumental success, largely thanks to great branding and marketing.

In this way, spending time to create and develop a strong brand is well worth the investment. The conventional route would be either to come up with a brand name on your own or to hire an advertising firm to come up with one for you. One of the newest alternatives could be even more effective: crowdsourcing.

Why Leave Your Branding to the Crowds?

The fundamental strength of crowdsourcing comes from the fact that two heads are better than one. If that is the case, then it follows reason to say that three heads are better than two, and a hundred heads are better than three. This is how crowdsourcing works.

Rather than relying on the creative energies of a single individual or even a small team of professionals, crowdsourcing your branding draws on the ideas of a much larger, diffuse group.

By doing so, you gain two huge advantages. First, you gain access to a much more diverse set of ideas. Second, you can draw on the feedback from this crowd to see which proposed ideas are perceived as being the “best” by the majority of users.

So, how do you go about getting the brand power you need with crowdsourcing? Let’s have a look at two online services.

NameThis — Three Guaranteed Names



Whether you need a brand name for a new product or for a new company, NameThis guarantees that you will receive “three world-validated names for your thingamajig in 48 hours.”

After registering for an account with the site, you’ll have the ability to post a new request for a brand name. Based on the brief description and list of guidelines that you provide, NameThis members “go to work” to suggest possible names. The community can also “invest points” in their favorites, pointing toward the names that are more popular.

After the 48-hour brainstorming session has completed, the NameThis algorithm “does some fancy math” and selects the three “best” names. Reward payment is then distributed to the members with the top three names, as well as the members who voted for them. The total allocation is no less than 80% of the naming fee with NameThis taking the balance as a commission.

Based on the getting started page, users are charged a $99 naming fee for each project. Additionally, there are two optional add-on services: $99 for analytical data and $49 for a marketing service. — Get a Free Name

Whereas NameThis appears to take on a more casual or “fun” approach to the brand creation process, takes on a more conservative and “professional” look to its very similar service. is also designed to tap into the creative prowess of the crowd to create the best possible brand name for your company or product. Whereas NameThis guarantees that you will receive three marketable names within 48 hours, leaves the project open until the client is satisfied with one of the suggestions.

Interestingly, it’s possible to submit a naming assignment on for free. There are absolutely no fees involved, so it is very possible to get a new brand name for the “default award amount” of $0.

However, the list of active naming assignments is organized based on the award amount in descending order. The most lucrative assignments are listed on top, so these assignments get the most exposure on the site and are naturally more attractive to the community of members.

The Better Option for Crowdsourced Branding?

Both NameThis and have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

NameThis uses a proprietary algorithm to help you select what it believes to be the “best” suggestions, taking some of the guesswork out of the branding process. The 48-hour timeline also means that you will be provided with results in a very short period of time. However, the shorter timeline also means that the results may be short of ideal and the $99 naming fee may be a deterrent for some businesses on a tighter budget. allows its naming assignments to remain open-ended, rendering a near endless supply of suggestions for the client to consider. The $0 entry point is also an attractive feature, though $0 assignments will not get the same kind of attention from the community.

One of the unique features offered by is the prevention of cyber-squatting. When you submit a new naming assignment for a website name, will automatically attempt to secure the top-voted domain names. Should you choose one of these, will sell the domain to you for $200. In this way, may not necessarily be as “free” as it claims to be.

Both NameThis and seem to be good options for individuals or businesses looking to crowdsource their branding. Both communities appear to be quite robust, but until Smartlife experiments with these services some more (we’ll post a comment when we do), you’ll have to weigh their differences carefully.

Which site do you prefer — NameThis or

Image credit: Michael Kwan / flickr