The Wisdom (or Lack Thereof) of Crowds

DailyFinance is skeptical about the value of "crowdsourcing" (letting the public make decisions on business matters), and the website is proud to let its readers know it in a post about the Australian winemaker Yellow Tail. The vintner is letting the public name its new Chardonnay. DailyFinance uses a recent Vegemite branding fiasco as its case in point:

"Vegemite maker Kraft Foods's (KF) Australian division invited consumers to name a new variation that swirled cream cheese within Australia's beloved black yeast paste. After Kraft picked 'iSnack 2.0' out of 48,000 entries, the normally easy going Aussie population responded with near universal condemnation."

iSnack 2.0 is, indeed, a terrible name, but that actually says more about the bad taste of Kraft executives than the practice of crowdsourcing per se. A better example cited is that of General Motors and the Chevy Tahoe. Many crowdsourced commercials mocked the vehicle's lousy gas mileage, and the contest turned into a PR black eye. And if you think that's funny, you'll definitely love this: