With 'Community' Content, Sometimes You Get What You Pay For

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A common school of thought among many Web 2.0 types is that community content is better than corporate content. Thus, tapping the community is touted as an easy, inexpensive way to inject much-needed innovation into practically any business task, from product development to problem solving.


Ketchup maker Heinz apparently bought into this spiel and decided to forgo Madison Avenue for the information highway, offering $57,000 as the top prize in a YouTube contest to create a catchy advertising campaign for its product.


What it got, instead, was a bunch of lame entries. Not only that, but instead of earning Heinz some indie cred, the contest led some folks to blast the company for being cheap.


Heinz actually isn't saving any money, as it's had to hire an outside promotions firm to vet all the videos. So far, more than 370 submissions have been thrown out, due to objectionable content or failure to meet contest criteria such as a 30-second length, according to a New York Times story reprinted by The Financial Express.


Yes, amateurs can outdo professionals. But hey, those who do so consistently tend to go ahead and become pros themselves. And as Heinz is discovering, the finder's fee for locating a diamond in the rough can get pretty steep.