A lot of bad press is made regarding crowdsourcing and I have been on the recieving end of some harsh criticism in the past for even thinking about entering into the world of online design contests. Whilst I agree that a lot of effort it made to put into the design without any real guarantee of earning anything after, I also feel a hell of a lot of experience is also gained.
There wasn't much of a design brief either,
"Logo should be a artistic variation on an element from the periodic table of elements. Square containing abbreviations, numbers, and words. Number should indicate 12 Simple Chemicals."
Nowadays a good design brief is something I really look for in a contest. It sets a contest apart from the rest when the 'Contest Holder' really goes to great length to explain what they need for the design.
You can almost gaurantee also that you'll get some good feedback for your designs should they not be on the right track.
Whilst now I may not produce an award winning logo I'm glad I've learnt a valuable lesson in presentation and execution, something to me which is invaluable.
My Dad always tells me that experience is crucial and that mistakes will always be made, I'm glad that I've learnt so much from the Crowdsourcing world and hopefully over the next 12 months I will have learnt even more.