My Experience With Crowdsourcing

My Experience With Crowdsourcing

3 Reasons Why Sites Like 99designs Did Not Work For Me

For the last month I’ve been submitting various designs for contests posted on sites like 99designs and Mycroburst. I thought it was a simple way to make money fast but it turned out to be a very frustrating experience for me even though I tried and tried.

I pointed out three main reasons why crowdsourcing may prove to be pretty unfair for the one doing the work.

I’ve also posted some of the designs below I made so you can judge for yourself if I’m unskilled or unlucky

Not that I’m the best designer ever, but still…

Is it skill or mostly luck?

I want to begin this by mentioning that I have no education as a designer whatsoever, I have not attended an art school or any kind of art academy or drawing classes. However I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid, and people often praised my works so I figured I could try and make some money with my talent.

A cousin of mine told me once about this site, where you could earn money drawing logos for various companies. A client would start a contest communicating his requirements and his budget and designer would submit their drafts . The contest holder will have to choose one of those drafts as a winner and award the designer. At first it seemed like a pretty fair deal and I must say I was pretty enthusiast about the whole concept.

Seeing some of the winning drafts I realized I could do a lot better and I might have a good chance of making some money fast. I estimated it would take about one hour or so to come up with a logo concept and draw it so being paid 200-500 $ for an hour’s work seemed pretty nice.

Of course I was aware that I couldn’t win all the contest I was going to participate in, it just wasn’t realistic, but I gave it a thought and making a rough approximation I thought that if I work for about 2 hours every day that would mean 2 drafts per day , 60 per month. Out of 60 drafts per month, it would have been enough for one to be the winner and I would get paid.

Naturally I signed up and started submitting my designs. Now, a lot of designers have probably thought the same, and I know a lot of them ended up making some bucks out of it, but the more I worked the more I felt like I could have more chances to win money playing online poker than winning design contests. This is not just about, it applies to all similar sites, 99designes or crowdspring and even though, like I said, I don’t have a lot of experience as a designer I found working with this kind of sites extremely frustrating and here is why:

1. There are thousands and thousands of designers signed up and competing on these websites. Even when I would find contest with only 2 or 3 competing drafts and submitted my work believing that I might have bigger chances, by the end of the day, there would be over 100 designers fighting for the prize. But you could still get the prize provided you manage to come up with the best design, right?

2. Wrong. It’s not the best design that is going to win, it’s the design that pleases the client more. A problem that I often encountered was when the client would leave a very vague and sometimes confusing briefing. Even when demanding more information from the project holder, and abiding to them, you might still find it to be a more of guessing game. The client might ask for a green triangle for example, and you might submit just that only to find that in the end it was a pink circle that won, because the client changed his mind in the last second.

It’s not pretty fair since you might end up working really hard only to see your project being eliminated just because you did not guess what was in the client’s mind. When you think about it you realize you need more luck than skill. Obviously I am subjective about my own work, and I might see it better than it actually is, but not once I’ve seen great and smart designs that fit perfectly in the client’s description, being discarded for mere fonts and colors anyone could use that seemed to have nothing in common with the product it was supposed to promote.

3.You end up working for nothing. When I started I thought about working 2 hours a day and at the end of the month check the balance. After a month I realized I worked more than 5 hours every day, religiously and the maximum I got was 4 out of 5 stars for 3 of my drafts. Sometimes I submitted up to 15 drafts for a contest.

At the end of the month I realized I just worked in a part-time schedule for the last month without getting anything in return. The website gets paid , the client gets his job done, but from thousands of designers, only a handful of them end up getting paid at all for their work. Imagine if you would work for a company that has thousands of employees but only pays some of them.

Suddenly it didn’t seem such a great idea anymore

Tell me about your experience

Did you ever tried to earn money with 99designs or Mycroburst or similar sites. Did you made something? did you worked for nothing?

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