TechCrunch co-editor Erick Schonfeld throws down the gauntlet:
Let me just say before I begin that I think everyone should come up with their own names. I could never understand why companies pay naming consultants to come up with empty product or company monikers that nobody can remember anyway. (Unless you are Altria, and you just want people to forget that you are really Phillip Morris). Well, now companies can ask strangers on the Internet to name their product. I’m not sure this is a much better idea, but it is more fun.
A company pays $99 to put up a challenge describing the product or entity to be named, the community suggests names and votes for the best ones by investing their allotted ‘Watts.” The people who come up with, influence, or invest the most in the top three names split $80 among themselves, and Kluster keeps the rest as its fee.
Now, even Schonfeld admits in his next sentence that "there are obvious problems with this and with crowdsourcing in general." One of the problems is idea theft. But there are even bigger problems with Schonfeld's argument that "everyone should come up with their own names." For one thing, a glance at the TechCrunch company index should make it painfully evident that most do-it-yourself naming efforts are failures on the most basic level. (See, for example, DimDim, GumGum, and SeyHeyHey. Talk about "empty"!)
But maybe, you protest, those bad DIY names are exceptions. Why should a company hire a namer? Why can't everyone "come up with their own names"? Why should anyone pay more than $99 for a name, anyway? Or as NameThis asks, "Why spend time and money gambling on the ideas of a few, when you can have the market bounce ideas off you?"