Good article Kiristen, but here are some major points why crowdsourced design A) works B) is here to stay... First, it's a marketplace. We dont force anyone to participate as a designer, and we don't force any project holders to launch contests--- but our conversions have tripled from our previous model. Why? Because it works, plain and simple. Is it perfect? No, but i have yet to see a perfect business, and it will get better. But, it's hard to convince a small business owner that their is a better solution for $300, where they can get 80+ concepts... in a week.
Second, I believe many people underestimate the global design community and the amount they can earn in this model. India and China have a combined 2 billion+ people. I'm not sure how many are designers, but i bet there's a lot. That's just 2 countries. Individuals in those markets need to earn around $300 to make GOOD salary. Our top designers earn more than $2k per month, regularly. we get emails all the time how we are changing their life. Even better for a designer, all they have to do is design... they dont have to find clients, pitch them, bill them, argue over revisions, just pick a project and design. This is extremely powerful.
Third, you also have to understand the mentality of the start up business. MOST small businesses don't get seed money, or VC. They leverage their credit card, or try to get started with a few thousands dollars. Therefore, getting a professional logo, AND some decent collateral for around $1000 is a great solution. Having someone conduct "market research" for an additional $4000 is unneccessary at their stage of the game, and unaffordable. But here's the kicker, major enterprises are entering the space also. Why? Because it's efficient and yields excellent results.
Fourth, if the previous design process was perfect, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The reality of the previous design process, is that it's slow, and inefficient. And probably about 30% of the projects lead to either the project holder being unhappy with what they received, and having to pay top dollar for it and live with it, or the designer having to give more comps and not get paid for it. Either way, it's not perfect. And on top fo that, it takes weeks and weeks to get something completed.
Finally, i can't speak for our competitors, but, i believe this is the first phase of the crowdsourcing model. We are fully aware of the frustration of the design community, and we WANT to expand the net to get more top designers involved. It's a new model, it will adapt and improve. In the end, as i stated in my article, value will be placed on creative minds, and strategic thinkers.
Thanks for the healthy debate... we hope you try out #MycroBurst and see for yourself how this is so effective.
@JoeWitte Thank you so much for joining in on the debate! I am appreciative of your perspective.
I 100% understand how it works and why. As I explained in my post, it makes sense from the business standpoint which is why it survives. If no one participated, it wouldn't work. I don't disagree at all.
But your first key point of "it's hard to convince a small business owner that their is a better solution for $300, where they can get 80+ concepts... in a week." is exactly the issue. There IS a better solution! The biggest problem that happens is these small businesses start to grow, but rather than have their marketing grow with them, they think "well, a $300 logo worked, why not do the same for a website?" But then there is no cohesion between the logo, the brand that is developing and the website because the person developing doesn't understand the budding brand. Then, they grow some more...now they need something else. And that piece is again created by another designer, without any thought to prior pieces or a strategic brand! It turns into one big pile of marketing that has no backbone behind it. And finally, the marketing starts to fail, and the business that has been growing, stops, because they have no way to compete with the other businesses in their arena who have actually dedicated funding to marketing.
For the second remark, I understand the global community perfectly fine. The problem is, we're in the States. And so is your business. If you want to focus on the global design community, then create a site for them, because the U.S. designers just can't compete at the same price point. It's like letting a cheetah race against a kitten. It's just not a fair fight.
On your third point, I understand a startup business as much as anyone. I AM a startup. I was laid off from my corporate job 2 years ago and started my own business with nothing. While I could do my own design, there is a lot I couldn't do... But rather than try and get by with "cheaper" help, I invested in myself, got good legal representation for my contracts, have a great accountant and use my money wisely in investments that will bring a return for me. Skimping on your marketing is never the solution if you really want to grow.
Finally, no industry is perfect, yet the design community is one of the few that believes crowdsourcing is acceptable. Why is that?
Simply put, the problem is always going to be the designer vs the business model. And in the crowdsourcing world, the designer loses.