Saturday, March 27, 2010

Top Crowdscourcing Design Firms Review - 99designs

Crowdsourcing was one of those grey areas of advertising to keep your eye on in 2009. As employment worsens and more designers have discovered their freelancing legs, are we entering a golden era for crowdsourcing?

We have an extensive review of five top crowdsourcing companies from the perspectives of clients and designers. Let's get to it...

ADMAVEN Rates 99designs 3/5 for buyers

We liked the simplicity of the site - the second you enter the project creation area of 99designs you are presented with an intuitive interface that sets expectations (don't look for over 100 submissions if you are working on a tight budget). We were also reassured by the large, prominently placed 60 day money back guarantee touted during the project creation process. Security is a good thing.

We didn't like being charged extra for listing your project privately (intellectual property is a huge obstacle for many buyers - why ding us for wanting to protect our ideas?) or for a project that needs to be done in three days or less. We were also put off by the overall quality of submissions. But hey - it's an open crowdsourcing site - so we can't complain too much.

ADMAVEN Rates 99designs 4/5 for designers

We liked the low barrier to entry for designers - and the fact that each project (called a "contest" in 99 speak) tells us exactly what to expect - even if the buyer has already pl
aced money in escrow. We also enjoyed the social network features. These aren't particularly useful to designers trying to win a contest, but they do provide a simple way to share what you are working on with your friends.

We didn't like the hordes of amateur designers cluttering projects with concepts. We liked having a low barrier to entry, but this also means setting a low bar for design quality in many cases. Working for free is hard enough as it is - does every 15 year old with a pirated copy of Adobe Creative Suite have to be included too? We also took a slight issue with the very limited profile customization features. We want to have some portfolio work available directly on our profile - asking the customer to click outside the site to see our portfolio may be too much...

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