This article is a true story and mild-mannered rant about something that happened to me recently.
Basically, I was contacted by an American organisation to redesign their site. Now, the project was a little more complicated than average jobs, so the potential client (let’s call him Barry for this article) and I held a mini-video conference via Skype. After attaining all the details of the job, I set about compiling a quotation for Barry — and it took a while to do due to the complexity of the job.
Very Good. What Happened Next?
The day after I emailed the quote, I received an email from Barry thanking me for the quotation, but he was turning it down.
This is fine. This is okay!
That’s totally up to him. However, this wasn’t what riled me. He politely told me that he had decided to use a well-know crowdsourcing/competition site instead. Let’s call said site “66Designz” to avoid finger-pointing.
Well That’s up to him…So what?
Well, I was informed that my quote price wasn’t the problem. In fact, the organisation was willing to pay more for loads of ideas…this is what they were after.
If this wasn’t bad enough, I was then invited to then join the competition! I couldn’t believe it. I had several thoughts going through my mind: Do I present myself online as some kind of non-professional designer? Do clients think they’ll get endless design concepts from me for the prices I quote?
What I’ve learned…
This experience has taught me much about the mindset of potential clients — and how they may view my own working style. I often update my online Quote Forms, so I’m looking at ways to make it clear that only a certain amount of design concepts are provided in a quotation. If a client wants a gazillion concepts, I need to be clear that I’m not the designer for them!
I emailed the client, but then never heard back again. This is part of it:
Thanks for getting back to me. I’m a little disappointed with your decision, but not because you’re not hiring me, — it’s your choice. However, I’m disappointed that you’re going to use [“66Designz”] instead. This service is a “crowd-sourcing/competition website” which is quite unethical as many people (including myself) see it. This kind of business is putting hard-working designers out of business. 99% of the designers on [“66Designz”] effectively work for free (Spec Work).
Using this service is not that dissimilar to hiring 100 plumbers to come to your house to fix a major water leak. All the plumbers work on the pipes for hours on end, and then only one gets paid!
So no, I won’t be competing in the competition.
Don’t worry, the email ended with pleasantries, but I don’t think our business ethics match. There was a time a few years back when I signed-up to a crowdsourcing/competition site to see what the new ‘fuss’ was all about. I had no work on at the time. but it didn’t take me long to recognise my mistake. I did make some money through a contact I made on the site, but needless to say I experienced first hand how unethical the site was. I left shortly after joining never to return!
With this experience in-mind, I can see how uneducated clients can make the same mistakes. In the case of ‘Barry’, I don’t blame him for wasting my time and I hope his project is completed by a professional. However, I will be looking into minimising time wasted on quotes for ‘Window Shoppers”in the future.
What do you think about crowdsourcing/competition sites. Like myself, have you ever lost-out on a project due to them? Please leave your comments below…
No-Spec.com → Spec Work and Crowdsourcing, when will they ever learn?
Taprootcreative.com → Why Crownsourcing Your Brand is Bad
1106design.com → Why Crowdsourcing Book Cover Design is a Bad Idea
Futurelab.net → Will Agencies Suffer Death by 1,000 Cuts through Crowdsourcing?
LogoDesignLove.com → SpecWatch on design contests