Spec Work Is Evil / Why I Hate CrowdSpring

*Update* I get now almost daily emails describing serious ethical issues from past clients and designers from CrowdSpring, ranging from stolen work to child labor.  Stay far, far, far away!  It is not just me, you can see CrowdSpring by the numbers or Why Crowdspring Should be Ashamed of Their Business.   *Update*

Speculative work (asking someone to complete a job as an application is a loose promise to pay them if you want to) is evil. No way around it.  Check out No!Spec if you are unfamiliar with the subject.  Here is my take:

My Thoughts on Spec

If you are a company that needs a phenomenal designer / writer / developer / marketer, there are plenty out there. Take a look at their portfolio, if you like what they produce hire them.  Speculative work especially asked of designers, and some early stage designers fall for it, resulting in low quality work and experience for everyone involved.

If you need a great designer for a project, I know 20 designers that kick ass, email me.

Enter CrowdSpring

CrowdSpring is a site that attracts people with small budgets for projects ($250 for a company logo) and designers to come up with the designs, including revisions, for clients, with the chance of getting paid.  It is speculative work, almost at its worst.

Why is this such a big deal?

Design, unlike other industries is unique in that the intellectual property is put into your deliverable, and when the client asks for you everything you have to put into the project to think about purchasing.  I am a designer and this is by far the easiest way to end a friendship with me (asking me or someone else).

It is a major ethical flaw of both parties.

Let me say that again, a major ethical flaw. Some designers I have talked to have escalated this lack of ethics to be on par with some very serious crimes, while other see it as dumping oil down a rain drain.  A lot of people don’t take this lightly at all.

The AIGA puts it this way:

AIGA believes that doing speculative work seriously compromises the quality of work that clients are entitled to and also violates a tacit, long-standing ethical standard in the communication design profession worldwide. AIGA strongly discourages the practice of requesting that design work be produced and submitted on a speculative basis in order to be considered for acceptance on a project.

Rafe Needleman calls this process weasel economics.

Don’t Support It

If you see spec work happening, put an end to it, it is not the ethical thing to do. It is that simple.  Don’t be a weasel.  If someone views your ethics being this bad, they will start to actively not promote your company.  “Did you hear that CrowdSpring sucks?” etc.  Saving $2000 on your logo could cost your company a whole lot more.

But, Hey, They Can’t Be That Bad, Right?

I am fully in support of smart teams bringing disruptive practices to new markets.

Here is a response I got on twitter from the team at CrowdSpring:

CrowdSpring

Not understanding the difference between custom speculative work and selling art backs up my first thought that there is a major ethical vacuum and lack of understanding around design at CrowdSpring.

Going head to head and undermining/ underbidding an entire profession is not something to be done unless you can carry the torch for the industry in the name of good (INGdirect comes to mind).

Is There a Grey Area?

Yes, but very few. Volunteering. I do a lot of volunteer jobs that can be viewed as spec work. As a general rule I only volunteer for non profits that don’t have the energy/ time to look for a designer for a project.  I also see some grey when it comes to community contests where a professional designer is hired to take the winner and develop it to the final.

Early on in the discussion on twitter, this question was posed.

CrowdSpring

Bandwagon fallacies don’t work for a lot of things, including this.   If you are talking about ThreadLess, they have done a very good job a) paying their designers fair market value b) involving a community in the beauty of design that traditionally would have been left out and c) making clear that the designs are done for the love of design, not for a 3rd party to profit off of.

What Is the End Game

This is a question I often ask, in 10 years, if this becomes the industry standard, what will you have.  The answer is not more happy designers, or clients.  Design as a whole will be lesser if this model is used, and that will be a real shame.

Closure

In the end this is a classic example of a problem out there with someone solving it in the wrong way.  If the problem is clients having a hard time connecting with designers (who may be just beginning and need to build portfolios), then make a site where designers can build their portfolios working on volunteer projects and showcasing their work to quality companies looking for great design.

From my short interaction with the team, I would put in a vote of no confidence that they will do the right thing.

Related Posts:

  • DC designer

    Good question. I am a designer with a 4 year degree and 10 years of experience. I needed a little extra money and love designing logos. I liked the idea of knowing that I would be paid once selected so I wouldn't get stiffed. And I wouldn't have to deal with the back and forth of establishing a price which lets me focus on what I love designing. So I thought what the heck, I'll design some logos and see what happens, if nothing else I'll have some great logos for my portfolio. I thought I'd at least make money on every third logo or so making it worth my while. What I didn't count on was the sheer number of contestants I was competing against. Clueless Clients who get no direction and make bad decisions. And the copycat mechanics. There are some good designers, some who clearly have no idea what they are doing because ultimately there work would was not printable. To my surprise clients look at all the work as equal and professional because they simply aren't educated in the craft or printing standards, and such. I believe they get overwhelmed so they often turn to the crowd (committee) and choose a winner by committee. With two many cooks in the kitchen the logo gets watered down. They end up with crap frankly, or unprintable logos that should not have been considered in the first place. As a designer, there is a rule of thumb, never show the client a design you don't like because 9 out of 10 times they will choose it. On Crowdspring, a designer also doesn't get much of a chance to educate the client because they are looking though 200 or so designs and comments. It is in the code of ethics that you a designer or creative can't badmouth your competition. Furthermore there are no checks and balances preventing competitors from stealing logo artwork from existing logos and trying to pass it on as there own. The copycat mechanism drives the strategy – a designer puts the work up and 3 or four more competitors throw up logos often based or your design modifying it slightly sometimes. As a designer you can then put a violation on that person and someone from Crowdspring will then assess the two designs and determine whether you have a case. Out of 65 designs I have received 1 reward. Hardly worth my time and effort.

  • R

    I see how some people may say that design contests are unethical, but I will have to say that I have won a few contests, and while I don't win all of them, I have gained an invaluable client that way who has established an exclusive business relationship and given me a lot of work. I'll continue to participate in a few contests in my spare time if it means I can perhaps gain some more clients like that.

    BTW, unions are horrible and extremely inefficient. Sorry.

  • http://www.tacticalconsent.org/ Andy Harris

    Thank you for this post. I'm not sure definitive evil like eating babies or bombing a subway is in the same league as spec work, but your literary license to exaggerate is welcomed. There is something wrong about exploiting someone's ambitions to be a real designer saying that if they donate their work product, then they have a random chance at winning a prize. This sounds more like a lottery to me. Sure gambling is the exchange of “money” for a random chance at winning a prize, but what is money if not the proxy for one's work product or labor? As such, it should be regulated as a lottery and odds of winning should be posted for each job. And it should be taxed accordingly as well. 90% of all profits of these “contests” should be paid into the state budgets of each state they operate in.

  • Steve

    If a person does something for a living that other people do simply for the enjoyment of it, then their job is going to be constantly at risk. Many people who submit to CrowdSpring are amateur hobbyists who simply enjoy doing design work as a creative outlet. Winning money is simply a bonus. These hobbyists do not mind doing spec work because they do the work for the enjoyment, not the pay.

    Will the amateur work have the same quality as a professionals' work? Probably not, but as others have pointed out, many customer only need a low-priced, “good enough” design. So hobbyists will likely fulfill the low-priced, good-enough market, and professionals will need to move upmarket to stay in business. Undoubtedly, some professionals will find that their work is not good enough to move up market, and these professionals will no longer be able to make a living doing design. And these professionals will be upset about their loss of income.

    Any time that 100 people are submitting designs for a 1% chance at $300, this is a sure sign that many are simply doing it for the enjoyment of it. Are these hobbyists immoral or evil for pursuing their hobby? No. Are customers immoral for paying hobbyists to pursue their hobby? No.

  • FellaDudeMan

    To me, the issue is not so much that sites like CrowdSpring exist, but rather, that the people involved will believe this is how the business “should” be conducted.

    It's a scapegoat tactic, because a lot of people want to view art as if they are buying toothpaste or a sandwich, so they'll insist that CrowdSpring is the model that all designers should follow. Clients need to remember that despite all the connotations our capitalist society throws at us concerning a business, what they are always asking for when they hire a designer is a UNIQUE piece of ART. Yes your needs should be met, and for a reasonable fee you should expect competent work, but you can't look at great ideas as if they come out of a factory. If you bought a logo that you felt was mediocre, blame the designer you worked with, or blame your own direction on the project, but don't demand that the entire industry bend over backwards to meet your potentially narrow viewpoint. It's like demanding all sandwich shops be built on a farm so freshness is 100% guaranteed. It's a ludicrous expectation and your options will only suffer as a result. CrowdSpring is fine for what it is (unethical to some perhaps), but it is in no way a perfect solution to the “problem” of finding good design.

    Think of it this way, you want a delicious homemade apple pie for $10. The word goes out, so 50 grandmas bake you their delicious homemade pies and you pick one that looks really tasty. More power to you, you just paid a decent price for a delicious custom made pie. Were those other grandmas just not cut out for the job? Did you even taste all the pies before you picked one? Maybe they were all actually good pies, but you just like ones made with green apples instead of red? So many questions!

    You know what, who cares? It was their choice to bake the darn things anyway. Turn them around and send them on their way. You got your pie, it tastes good, and a grandma earned $10.

    Nothing wrong happens in this scenario, nothing wrong at all, but you have to wonder, is this the model of a good pie baking industry? By the time 10 other folk follow your model and ask all these grandmas for $10 pies, I wonder which grandmas are still gonna be around baking the pies. Makes you wonder, how many of them are actually still making the pies, and how many of them just started buying the Kroger brand instead. Hmmm….

    Fact is, the best way so far to find good design in this world is the same as finding anything else you want. If you see a person who makes something you like, has confidence in what they do, and does it consistently, your odds are very good that this person won't let you down. Discuss a fair rate, and be merry!

  • Roscoe

    “graphics design”

    LOL WUT

  • http://www.tacticalconsent.org/ Andy Harris

    I caught that jab too. You can tell he doesn't get it. Being referred to “graphics” design is a good euphemism for “meaningless pretty pictures” design, which there is an established market for. I still sustain that Crowdspring is a lottery by just another name and the participants are engaged in gambling their work product in exchange for a truly random chance at winning a prize that has nothing to do with how much labor was put into the work product. Therefore, it might be able to be regulated as a form of gambling. I talked to my Congressman about it, and was told it was an interesting concept to tax them as a lottery. His office also said that it would be unlikely but possible. I hope it gains momentum as a new form of revenue for our deeply in debt government. I'm not saying Crowdspring should go away, I'm just saying we should exploit it in the same way it exploits the people who willingly participate. i.e. cigarettes, lotteries, casinos, and alcohol.

  • Harry King

    My wife and I recently purchased a logo for $300 via crowdSPRING for our arts and crafts business. We received about 40 designs and chose our favorite. We used it as the basis for a banner at our booth at local craft fairs. We had a number of positive comments from passers-by and customers, including a few who noticed the banner (logo) from across the fair and came to visit and purchase items from us. All in all, it seems like the logo has been a success for us. Not sure what other way you should measure design other than increased sales, which as a for-profit business is my primary measure of success.

  • designhowyouthink

    I agree with you Andrew 200% !!!!
    Another company who is doing the same dis-service to us with educations is GeniusRocket. I recently wrote an article about them in the May/Jiune issue of the Graphic Artist Guild newsletter. This sort of thing makes me sick.

    I recently asked them this
    ” Do you think it would be a 'good' idea to sell houses the same way you are selling
    other peoples talent?
    Home owner comes to you, asks for a home, you tell em its 250,000. then you have 10 companies build 10 homes. 9 of which are WASTED, and you get 50,000 for wasting 9 peoples time? any of those contractors could have easily produced those same 9 mock
    up homes simply by working with the client.”

    LEECHES.

    thanks for publicizing this issue, we need more people to do so!

  • designhowyouthink

    #1 would you run your arts and crafts business like crowdSPRING? I doubt it… If I come to your shop and ask you make me 5 hand made quilts with my family tree on them, 20 floral arrangements with 1 pink flower and a green vase, and 15 hand painted female santa clauses in a green dress with blue reindeer. and then tell you that you are in competition with 20 other arts and crafts business AND ONLY ONE IS GOING TO GET PAID would you do it?
    or…
    Do you feel that your work has value? Especially a custom value, in this case, which produces work that can not be sold to anyone else?

    now…
    how would you feel when the arts and crafts business's around the world started doing business this way and began to give the entire industry a bad name? would you support it?

  • designhowyouthink

    here is the REAL thing…
    lets say the police force worked that way. would you want a bunch of crazy people running around in superman outfits with guns pretending to be cops, because they “love to fight crime”
    no way…
    there is a good reason people get an education, to get paid to do what they love. they sacrifice time, money, and effort to be good at what they love to do…

    –would you let a guy with parkensons and no PhD operate on your heart as a surgeon because he loved to?
    –would you let a child molester babysit your kid because he says he loves kids?

    I doubt it. The reality here is not just morality, but a standard. A passion for creativity is fulfilled by learning how to do it right, and whats more, how to respect it.

  • designhowyouthink

    then you are going to the wrong designers. I produce, on average, 10 to 30 logo sample sketches and variations during design phase ONE only AFTER a focused research phase.
    re-design is usually done 1 to 3 times, sometimes producing over 100 samples, and even outsourcing to fellow designers for fresh ideas.

    here is a simple fact: you get what you pay for unless someone is getting ripped off. IE the designers.

    these companies should be SUED by GAG in a class action and the participants should receive due compensation for their slave labor.

  • Steve

    You ask, “Would you run your arts and crafts business like CrowdSpring?” This brings us back to the point that Harry King can choose whether or not to participate in a CrowdSpring-like business model. It is his choice. And every day many people choose to submit to CrowdSpring. And that is their choice.

    The only argument I've seen against the “free choice” argument on this page is the “pouring oil down the drain” argument. But the “pouring oil down the drain” argument is a flawed analogy. When a person pours oil down a drain, they damage what economists call a “public good” — something shared jointly by everyone — specifically, the environment. What public good is being damaged when a designer chooses to submit a design to CrowdSpring? The thing that is damaged is the wages of professional designers because increased competition lowers wages. And the market wage of designers is not a public good. So the “oil down the drain” argument is fundamentally flawed.

    You say that CrowdSpring is giving “the entire industry a bad name” but Mr King has just given personal testimony that CrowdSpring is giving the industry a good name! He liked his logo, and many of his customers liked his logo too.

  • designhowyouthink

    not its not. that model is ILLEGAL due to INTELLECTUAL property rights and CONTEST LAW. you can not run a business that way and expect there to be no consequences.

    What public good is being damaged when a designer chooses to submit a design to CrowdSpring you ask?!?

    THE VALUE OF PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND WORK ETHIC.

    how about SLAVE LABOR AUCTION, that ring a bell?

  • designhowyouthink

    let me ask you this…
    where do YOU work? do you have an education you PAID for?
    would you follow this “scam model” at your job?

    What would happen if the Justice system followed this model?
    How about retail, or Food service?
    Can I go into a restaurant and decide to pay them IF i like the food?

    think about it. its simply wrong. and I hope to be part of a class action suit where the designers you are ripping of get paid and these weasels get to trade in their armanni for ORANGE JUMP SUITS/

  • designhowyouthink

    All Mr. King has done is shown us that your advertising reached him first. Perhaps if CrowdSpring was even the least bit in MORAL and ETHICAL business operation they would have CONNECTED him with a professional who he could afford, not ripped off the designers who worked on his project.

    would you work at your job if you only got paid when your boss liked your work? there is a reason we have a MINIMUM hourly wage in the USA. there is also a reason people get an EDUCATION so they are not forced to have this wage imposed on them.

    Do you think this model would work for Lawn care? how about construction?

    utterly EVIL that companies are cashing in on our talent.

  • designhowyouthink

    So again, I ash this simple question to Mr. King and the obscure “Steve”

    If I come to your shop and ask you make me a CUSTOM art or craft which will represent 500 to 1000$ of your time and effort and then tell you that you are in competition with 20 other arts and crafts business AND ONLY ONE IS GOING TO GET PAID would you do it?
    or…
    Do you feel that your work has value based on the fact you have a PROVEN TRACK RECORD, EDUCATION and PORTFOLIO?

  • Steve

    If CrowdSpring (and the dozens of other similar “contest” sites) are as illegal as you say, why have they not all been shut down by the government? They fact that they are all still operating without credible legal challenges indicates your legal opinion is at best questionable.

    Maybe the fact that people are happy with their results from CrowdSpring “amateurs” is an indication that your professional education is not as valuable as you think it is. Again, I'll point out that your professional education (regardless of value) are not public goods — they are your private goods. And I'm not sure I understood your point on work ethic. You'll need to explain that further before I can respond.

    I've seen some very well-thought-out posting on this blog supporting sites like CrowdSpring. And they have mostly been responded to with emotional rant (such as above). Thank you Andrew Hyde for providing a forum for people to debunk your opinion. I started reading this blog with an open mind, but your opponents have won me over!

  • designhowyouthink

    Ok, I get it. Its about “like”
    how about this, lets say your Wife likes the Barber down the street, in fact she likes how he does it better than you. Would you stay married to her? you should, in fact you should let the whole neighborhood have a go! WOW! that fits your model pretty well!

    It is a simple concept, lets look at this model:
    Do ALL the work up front, and if we like it you get paid.
    Does that sound like work ethic or due compensation?

    think about it. any way, its not an opinion, its a matter of LAW.

  • designhowyouthink

    Work ethic?
    Simple, you work, you get paid. period.
    Lincoln made a good point on this, and slavery still continued for some time. Believe me, its illegal, and the hammer will come down in time.

  • Steve

    The people in food service and retail could CHOOSE to provide services under this business model. They CHOOSE not to because it is not profitable for them. But for whatever reason, many people in the design industry do CHOOSE to provide their services under this business model. CrowdSpring simply provides a forum for these designers to work in.

    I work in computer programming and I paid for my education. And yes there are sites that operate like CrowdSpring for computer jobs. And my industry faces intense low-priced competition from India too. But instead of getting all upset about it, I simply find ways to differentiate myself, find what my customers want, and provide a valuable service that out-flanks the competition.

  • designhowyouthink

    CrowdSpring simply provides a forum for these designers to work in? and it takes advantage of their RIGHTS and gets rich off of doing NOTHING but sitting back.

    But instead of getting all upset about it?
    Well… we NEED people like you TO DO SOMETHING. not get upset, but get PUBLIC. Follow the link up top, sign the petition, join the Graphic Artist Guild and support a class action lawsuit instead of losing contest in your spare time.

    My belief is simple on this, in time these models will fail anyway. The value of good work stands for itself. I can tell you that several times over I have lost PHP work to India, know what? that same company comes back 1 year later and says “we can not up grade this or find any one to work on it, will you fix it”. I say no, here is my original bit to do it right the first time and offer you an extended development agreement.

    What I will not do is allow this kind of thing to go with out being addressed. And the unfortunate problem is that these weasels will have already 'done their damage'.

  • designhowyouthink

    Please understand this as 'passionate' not angry…
    I love my job, and I understand I MUST be competitive. there have been times that I have slashed prices, and others where I remain FIRM.

    But I will NEVER do all the work for FREE first, or allow my fellows to be taken advantage of because they are 'green'.

  • Steve

    I feel that we are failing to communicate. So let me try one more time. If I understand you correctly, your main arguements are:
    1. If the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and myself CHOOSE to not provide their services under this model, then designers should not be able to CHOOSE to either. Why not? Designers can CHOOSE to provide their services under any terms they want regardless of what other industries do.
    2. It's illegal. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, and if CrowdSpring and all the similar sites are shut down as illegal, then I'll concede you were right. I doubt this will happen, but we'll have to wait and see.

    Have I correctly captured your arguements?

  • designhowyouthink

    these models/companies would be AMAZING if they worked this way:
    1- Prove your worth as a designer to the company 3 ways:
    a resume, proof of education (resume, and you had better check it), and portfolio samples
    2- Let clients set their price then have the designers look and choose to submit their portfolio.
    3- Let the DESIGNER negotiate the property rights and OFFER to council/mediate with them
    4- THEN let the provider get their 3 to 10% network fee from the CLIENT.

    that would be MORAL, and RIGHT. A sturdy Clydesdale Economic phenominon rather than a weasly thievery.

  • designhowyouthink

    Anyone what to assist on building using this model? I would love to start a REAL company like this. designhowyouthink@gmail.com bet it would make a great startup…

  • designhowyouthink

    are you serious?
    1- What butcher would let you take his meat home and 'try' it, then come back and pay IF you like it?
    1b- What baker would let you take his cake home and eat it, then come back and pay IF you like it?
    1c- What candlestick maker would let you take his candle home and BURN it, then come back and pay IF you like it?

    Therefore: what Designer would let you convince him to design a custom logo and let you come back and pay if you use it, but you get to keep it?

    2- time will tell.

    these models/companies would be AMAZING if they worked this way:
    1- Prove your worth as a designer to the company 3 ways:
    a resume, proof of education (resume, and you had better check it), and portfolio samples
    2- Let clients set their price then have the designers look and choose to submit their portfolio.
    3- Let the DESIGNER negotiate the property rights and OFFER to council/mediate with them
    4- THEN let the provider get their 3 to 10% network fee from the CLIENT.

    that would be MORAL, and RIGHT. A sturdy Clydesdale Economic phenominon rather than a weasly thievery.

  • designhowyouthink

    Further more, you have not correctly captured the POINT.
    A logo, just like a LAWN cutting can not be UNDONE. therefore there is no room for a refund, making your butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker argument pointless.
    how are designers going to 'refund' or re-sell their product?
    cant be done, its intangeable.

    furthermore, they are dealing with product, not services. therefore they can not follow this model as their products are TANGEABLE.

  • designhowyouthink

    My Argument:
    SERVICES are not subject to the PRODUCT model. therefore they have LAWS associated with them known as LABOR and INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.

    get it?

  • Steve

    I agree with your last point above. If you believe green workers are selling themselves short, then by all means educate them to not hurt themselves (and lower everyone's wages in the process). That's certainly fair. But once you have warned them, I believe that they still have a right to submit if they want to.

    The best arguement I read on this page against a CrowdSpring model was that essentially customers “don't know what they don't know” — customers don't know a low-quality design when they see one. I agree that that is probably true. If so, then I would say that the best move for designers to make is to have some kind of campaign to educate customers — politely tell them that what they don't know can hurt them. I think that would be a good strategy.

    But I disagree with the tone of this overall blog that there is something deeply evil going on. This is just business — people providing services and receiving services on a pre-argreed-upon set of terms.

    I need to go to bed. I've enjoyed the discussion.

  • designhowyouthink

    Good night sir. And good rest.
    I have enjoyed this as well. please remember this as you awake for your programming job tomorow:

    SERVICES are not subject to the PRODUCT model. therefore they have LAWS associated with them known as LABOR and INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.

  • Steve

    Let me clarify the butcher/baker example. I agree they would not work under this model. But just because they don't is not a valid reason why designers cannot.

    But let's use your lawnmowing example. I agree, I would not mow lawns on a CrowdSpring basis. But just because I would not does not make it immoral for designers to do so if they choose. And if designers are willing to work under this model, then it is not immoral for customers to buy their work. (See my comment above about educating green workers. If you think green designers are selling themselves short, then you certainly have the right to educate them.) If you want to argue that designers who do spec work are unwise, that's a valid arguement (don't know if I agree, but it is a valid point). But I don't get the “evil, immoral” arguement.

    Sorry, really got to go to bed this time.

  • Steve

    By all means, try it out. Good luck!

  • designhowyouthink

    here is why its EVIL.
    Imagine a company pimping out lawn mowers who ALWAYS gets paid even if the employees dont, and calls it “spec work” and there fore justifies paying only one employee and themselves of course.

    thats called SLAVE LABOR.

    just like only the plantation owner was the only one who got paid… same deal here. you are forcing the designers to give up DUE wages to line your pockets.

  • designhowyouthink

    Furthermore, a “CONTEST” has rules and regulations that are not being followed in 'spec work'.

    I don't care how you put it, its the same as saying the slave was 'willing' to do the work…

    You lie, my friend, you can not tell the difference between honest work for honest pay and making a buck off of ripping off the willing. You have no right. and good night.

  • designhowyouthink

    “Luck” is for people who gamble and rip off their fellow man. I do not need luck, to make an honest buck.

  • designhowyouthink

    it is most certainly immoral for customers to buy work generated this way. ever heard of blood diamonds? same idea. furthermore, under your “guise” one would assume that a dairy farmer could sell cow urine as a drink and claim that “milk is an excretion, so is urine” and again I would say to you, “Sir, You LIE, you can not tell what nature has meant for good food and what is meant as waste”

    same deal here, you LIE, you can not tell that satisfaction is derived from hard work, luck is for the wiked, and weariness comes from immoral acts.

  • Steve

    Slave labor requires some sort of force, coercion, or physical bondage. As far as I can tell, people are submitting designs on CrowdSpring of their own free will. So your slavery statement is really, really, really stretching things.

    In the course of our discussion, you have also compared people who submit designs to CrowdSpring to:
    1. Farmers selling cow urine and calling it milk.
    2. Child molesters trying to get babysitting jobs.
    3. Sellers of blood diamonds.
    4. People with Parkinson's disease performing heart surgery.
    5. “Crazy people running around in superman outfits with guns pretending to be cops.”
    6. Something about my wife and the barber down the street (that was the weirdest one of all).
    I don't have time to refute your steady stream of outrageous analogies. I think your own comments have proven that you are outside the mainstream.

    P.S. I have no connection to CrowdSpring or any other crowdsourcing company.

  • designhowyouthink

    yeah, and people buy illegal drugs from dealers too of their own free will just because they have the opportunity.

    thats my point
    #1 you can not tell the difference between honest work for honest pay and making a buck off of ripping off the willing.

    #2 people thought the would was flat, that was mainstream, but it was still wrong.

  • designhowyouthink

    ultimately, just cause someone is 'willing' to provide an illegal service and there are others willing to succumb to it doe not make it right. Just like drugs hurt the community so does spec work hurt the design community, the same collateral damage is in effect.

    think about it.

  • Steve

    Are they willing, or are they slaves? Please make up your mind.

  • http://www.brianyerkes.com/ Brian Yerkes

    Love it, you and I are in the top 5 results if you google search “crowdspring”. Nice work my friend!

  • http://justcreativedesign.com/ Jacob Cass

    Hello Andrew,

    I've just posted my view on Spec Work, with reference to your article, would like to hear your thoughts:

    The “Pros” and Cons of Spec Work

    Thanks!

  • fedupwithspec

    the type of person that thinks good design comes out of crowdspring are the same types of people who see a jackson pollock and say 'my kid could do that'.

    unfortunately, people like that are the majority in this country. which is why most businesses / products that come out of the united states have awful design.

  • Cheers

    Crazy that a big company like Intuit would use such a service. Especially for their mycorporation.com product. Speculative work is a crime.

    http://www.crowdspring.com/projects/website_des

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  • Marcus Design

    Tactical monkeys such as everyone fighting against this evolution always make me laugh. Stating that the work is unethical is basically showing your hand. A pair of dueces.

    It doesn't take much to see that you are in a dying position based on historical usage of your services.

    Yes there is still a need for higher quality and printable work. But there is an equal need, and probably even larger need, for “just good enough” type work.

    Almost every industry that you can think of has evolved through similar changes. You really think that the car you drive wasn't built by cheap labor? Ridiculously cheap labor? Or that the airplane you fly in by a regional airline isn't being flown by someone who makes as much as a McD manager? It wasn't always like that, but it is now.

    It is always those who feel entitled and cheated that cry the loudest during the transition. Unfortunately, you have to accept that there is a reality check in your future regardless of how long you try to fight it.

    Stop crying and stop whining on some website. This change has been in progress for years. Croudspring is just revolutionizing that progress and giving massive acceleration to the changes.

    You need to think about how to secure your high quality position position in the marketplace more than you need to take jabs at a website that is clearly not going away, regardless of this silly attempt to boycott.

    What makes your services different? What makes them better? How can you convey these to prospects? Start realizing that your prospects aren't even looking at croudspring.com and maybe you can get on with your day.

    Good luck to you all. I hope that you will see the opportunities that arise as these changes progress.

  • Renee

    The ***obvious*** flaw in the Kurtz comment is the part left unsaid about…(Ahem)… ***work-for-hire*** (note: the only art that qualifies as WFH is a a collective work, a translation, an atlas, a test, a contribution part of a motion picture or audio/visual, instructional art, or pictorial supplemental illustration/map/chart/ to another author…as if that is the typical commission); so they add giving away ***all-rights *** in those user terms at crowdspring (as most commissions are probably other than work for hire). Recap: it's one thing to sell a cheap logo with limited rights (fair-enough to the low-budget buyer), but it' for crowdspring to grant a client all rights and paying the talent only peanut
    is just a SHAM ***and*** a SHAME…they can do better limiting rights and limiting bids per project; I suggest leveling the competition and a 4 bid maximum.

  • Renee

    Rick, I Thank you.

  • andrewhyde

    Yes, we should look at the positives of pollution. Someone has to make a buck on the cleanup? That is horrid logic, ethics and a way to live life.

    Croudspring's traffic has been flat, which proves both that the model is not sustainable and that it isn't evolution at all.

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