I think there's a huge difference between businesses that set out to 'do' crowdsourcing and those that genuinely have community at the heart of what they do. With the former, it's all too easy for the corporate motivation and execution to be somewhat suspect. With the latter, if the community didn't exist, neither would the business. Big difference.
It's a point that is echoed again and again when you read this charming new book about the first decade of Threadless by founder Jake Nickell. I loved it. It's full of great nuggets on the origins and story of an accidental business and more than a few awesome T-Shirt designs. But it is the thought that Threadless is a business driven by a community first, and a T-Shirt company second that is most powerful. As Scott Belsky writes in the book:
"The word 'community' is thrown around all too often these days. Every business, school, and interest group proclaims to 'own' or 'run' a community. The fact is that most of them are missing the point. Threadless doesn't own a community. Threadless participates in a community that is much bigger than Threadless."
It's a real lesson in the future.