Is crowd sourcing and sites like 99Designs a good thing?

My answer is simple, No.

  I heard about websites like 99Designs where a company or individual with a start-up can make hungry young designers come to a project like chum in the water and watch as the desperate sea turns red with blood... or maybe I should say blood, sweet, and a lot of tears.

  Basically the way this site works and others like it, is that someone posts a project, and designers fight with each other to come up with, what they "think", the person posting the project might want. Out of all of the submissions, by desperate, but talented artists, comes down to one lucky winner. Essentially a contest for who can read minds the best, or more fitting, who can come up with something the client didn't even know they wanted.

  I can see the appeal for clients with budgets who want to see what people come up with and pick the best one. It is seemingly a great idea and tons of people go bananas for crowd sourced design. I think it is really tacky and cheap. Not only does it take out an actually collaboration with said client and designer, but makes it a totally faceless and nameless process. It also does something far more dangerous for artists and designers. It cheapens what we do as a industry and as a field that takes talent and a lot of hard work and time that deserves to get paid accordingly.

  The client gets to set the prices. Let me repeat that. The CLIENT, not the designer sets the price of what they are willing to pay. Essentially, saying I do not know what it takes to do what you do, but this is how much I think your time and efforts are worth to me, so this is what I think I should pay to you.

  This is insane to me and I am baffled as to why so many designers are complacent about these practices rather than in an uproar. Websites like these should be shunned and repremanded for the blatant explotation of young talent.

  Could you imagine a website like this for a car mechanic, or any other industry for that matter? Just imagine it. Imagine someone who knows nothing about cars, or parts, or labor, can go to a site called ... lets say, "CARBOOM99". The client posts on that site something like... "I do not know what is wrong with my car. I need a mechanic who can fix my car. I think the job is worth $500. I think my clutch needs to be replaced but I am not sure. Fix my car and you get the cash prize! How many mechanics do you think would compete with each-other to do a job they are not even guaranteed to reap the rewards from doing? Not only that but be told how much their time and efforts are worth? None. That is the answer. None. No self respecting mechanic would work on a car through a site like this fictional "CARBOOM99" because service stations have relative guidelines and industry standards. They also command respect and trust. If you do not like the garage you take your car to, then you simply go to another one next time.

  If you are a fan of crowd sourcing than you are a part of the problem not the solution to good trustworthy design and a long lasting business relationship. Designers who promote these kind of sites and business owners who use them must be the same who enjoy an all you can eat buffet. Sure you get your fill and the price is cheap, but so is the food and so is the service. There is a difference between an all you can eat buffet, and fine dinning. I am sorry to say 99Designs, but all you are, is a cheap, and tacky, all you can eat buffet!

  PLEASE DESIGNERS HAVE SOME SELF RESPECT. WE NEED MORE INDUSTRY STANDARDS. WE NEED MORE UNITY IN HOW WE CONDUCT HONEST AND GOOD BUSINESS. If you take your car to a mechanic one guy might say this will cost $500 dollars for parts and labor and another might be able to save you a few bucks here and there and give you a quote for say $450 but the difference is not HUGE. Something is wrong with the industry if one designer is willing to do a logo for $100 bucks and another is doing a logo for $500 and some designers charge thousands of dollars. Something is wrong. We need to fix this and unify. Comments or thoughts are welcomed. You do not need to agree with me but please be nice. There is enough negativity on the internet. Save that for youtube comments. Anything mean spirited or inappropriate will be removed.