Say, remember that time when Mark Cuban crowdsourced the Mavericks uniform design? Apparently neither does he or Crowdspring.

Remember last summer – no, the summer of 2013 – when Mark Cuban announced that he wanted people to design the new uniform for his Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team? No? You can read the long version here (I can wait) or we’ll recap: Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban announced a Mavericks uniform design contest on his blog in a particularly dick way. Designers carped on Twitter and blogs as they are wont to do. Crowdsourcing platform Crowdspring jumped in, offering to host the contest – on top of stuff that was already being posted on Cuban’s blog – and pay out a G-note in prizes (split into $600 and $400) through a “Buyer Assured” contest.

The guaranteed contest.

We all know what “assured” means, but in this context? Simply put, it means that whoever is holding the contest, the “buyer,” is guaranteeing, in Crowdspring parlance “assuring,” to pay out prize money to a winning designer or designers (yeah, promising to pay a winner is actually optional on design contest sites, bless their hearts.) If a winner isn’t selected, or the prize money isn’t paid out, the platform is supposed to step in and either distribute it to multiple ‘eligible’ designers (ala 99designs) or pick a winner (ala Crowdspring.)

Promises, promises.

For the record, that contest was launched on May 14, 2013 and ended June 1, 2013 with participants “assured” that the “buyer” (as Cuban never promised to give anybody anything, I guess that’s Crowdspring themselves) would pick something and actually pay somebody. Cuban got oodles of free design stuff and one supposes, an awesome new uniform design. This enterprise was novel and as Cuban’s always newsworthy, Crowdspring got tons of free promo in the mainstream press while two supposedly happy designers would get some dough for their efforts. A trifecta of win. It was only snooty, whiny, cry-baby elitist luddites like yours truly that moaned about this happy nice-time event, refusing as always, to get down with this design crowdsourcing thing.

The numbers.

Anyhoo, here’s how the contest played out:

772 entries (respectable) from 202 designers (not bad.) Award amount $1000 (“award” is Crowdspring parlance for “prize ” but also respectable, apparently two times their usual.) Number of comments 0 (though as this contest was all over the map, with stuff being hurled at Cuban’s blog as well, I suppose that’s understandable.) Now, what about those “assured” awards?
Oh dear. Over a year later – fifteen-and-a-half months later to be exact – those awards are still “pending” with a promise from Crowdspring that they’re “on it.” How “on it” are they?

Let’s listen in on the last admin comment from February of this year:

Project Comment 12-Feb-14 8:55 p.m. GMT
Hi everyone and thanks again for your ever-lasting patience. It appears that there has (finally) been some movement down in Texas and we have heard that the Mavericks have selected a winning design in this project! We are standing by and they have notified us that they should make the choice public in the not-too-distant future! Hang in there and we will update you as soon as we hear anything.
~ the cS Crew

Remind me again what “assured” means?

And how design crowdsourcing is the best thing evah.


(Sept 24, 2014) Mark Cuban finally announced the winner of this contest. Eight days after this blog was published. Read about it here.