CrowdSpring Blows Donkey Balls
Today i’m going to rant about the horrible idea that is, (wait for it) yes, CROWDSPRING. This so called “amazing, and innovative” site basically puts what all the rest Freelancer.com, Guru, etc, do but in a prettier Web 2.0′ish shell. There have been many others that have voiced their dissent much better than me (i’d just stomp around angry, punching holes in plaster walls with my Kung Fu skills, and cussing at the top of my lungs) like Brian Yikes, and Andrew Hyde. And AIGA seems to have a solid stance against “spec” work.
The response from Mike Samson, Co-Founder of CrowdSpring, and one of his few pre-canned responses (most definitely part of a bullet point list he and his partners created prior to launch to counter the guaranteed backlash from the creative community) is that they’re encouraging and pushing creativity by giving access to creatives who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity. This is complete bullshit because there are a lot of great active creative communities out there where creatives share ideas, work, and inspiration every day without any money changing hands. At those places it really is about creativity, not MONEY which is ultimately the bottom line for CS. They wanted to find a way to get a cut off of desperate creatives and penny pinching, greedy corporations. It’s about devaluing creativity and creating a precedent for clients that it is OK to pay $200 for a logo or $500 for a website. He makes the comparison to iStock and Threadless which have absolutely no bearing on CS. First of all the production of a website has two major production cycles: creative and development. It takes 1 second to snap a photo, there is relatively little production cycle (color correction, photo correction) either way does not take 3-6 months to do unlike a website. This is not to mention that the overall quality of photos on iStock is low compared to something like Getty. If i could pump out a full functional web site in 10 seconds like it would a photo posted to iStock than the comparison would have merit. Since that’s not the case, Mike here is full of shit, which makes sense since he’s a business entrepreneur looking to make easy money rather than a creative with years of experience.
Sadly Forbes.com puts out a CS cock stroking article about the wonders of the company, leading with:
CrowdSpring aims to slash the cost of graphic design work–and democratize a snooty business.
Unfortunately Forbes has no fucking clue what they’re talking about. The “snooty business” they’re referring to are the large gi-normous holding company ad agencies on Madison Avenue. Of which CS poses absolutely no danger to. It’s the small, medium, and freelancer crowd that will get hurt the most by them. Another point i should make is all these places are not necessarily always looking for flawless execution, they are rather trying to farm and buy creative IDEAS for the cheapest they can. If they can take a great creative idea someone else has made for $200, spin it, add some changes and resell it to their client they can make a huge profit off of that. Additionally i like to use the comparison about going to the doctor for a needed surgery. Would you really want to trust this to someone who promises quality for $200? It’s a bit extreme of an example but for a lot of people their freelance businesses are their life.
See i work at one of those “larger” ad agencies and i really have no danger to my work or my agency’s. However, i’ve worked as a freelancer for many years so i understand the fury of the community and i actively support speaking out against Spec Work. Additionally it’s easy to paint a wide swath on greedy corporations but in most cases it’s not so. The large brands understand the value of paying the money to a professional to “do it right”. After all the mantra of “you get what you pay for” still has merit in this industry and i’d like to think that big brands understand this. Certainly there is something to be said for competition and having a thriving competitive community, but that needs to be fed by creatives and agencies themselves, not by a site posting $500 for a website.
I looked at the projects on CrowdSpring and honestly if you got $2500 per web site design (the most listed currently is $2300) for the small-mid no-name companies and start ups that post these jobs on there, it wouldn’t be half bad actually. However, if you read the CrowdSpring contract it talks about “Work-For-Hire”, meaning you have to hand over all the source files, PSD, AI, etc, to the company. So to give up all rights and source for your work for $2500 is anal rape. I mean in almost every other industry Rights Managed involves significantly more compensation – it just seems when it comes to graphic/web design that get’s all lumped together and people get all indignant when you tell them that if they want your source code or layered PSD files, they need to pony up more cash.
To me as stated before, CrowdSpring feeds the line of bullshit about furthering creativity and all that but ultimately the bottom line is that they realized a potential money maker in creating a web site that caters to desperate creatives, and equally desperate clients. For me the issue is not the above two groups, but rather the danger of creating a standard precedent of this type of pricing model that may eventually trickle up to larger brands. This industry has already had to fight off marginalization in the past, supporting spec work and lowballers would inevitably deal a big blow to this industry.