sad state of affairs.

I have been trolling the various online design job boards lately, and wow, what an unfortunate mess they are. and in particular just seem to be dragging down the entire design community. Granted, there are hundreds of jobs listed on both sites. The problem is the quality of the design jobs and the quality of the “designers” on them. It appears that 90% of these jobs are extremely low budget projects (well under $500) spawned by folks who have no experience in sourcing creative work (or its worth). There was one project in particular I happened to catch…

Need creative person to work on my new website design.

We have all ideas and concept. Budget is around $30 – $50.

a simple to medium html website (small page) with simple administration interface for edit content (CMS).

must be easy enough for me to manage (add / edit / delete contents)

Details will be given via PM. Thx,

Are you serious? $30? With a content management system? The project poster didn’t even capitalize or punctuate his sentences (this was a straight copy/paste). The best part… 36 “designers” actually bid on this job! Thankfully, the average bid at least bumped up to $69.


Clearly, these sites are not populated by experienced designers. I also realize that not every design job will be glamourous and high budget, but these sites are doing a disservice to the entire creative industry by promoting and enabling cut throat bidding and insultingly low pay. I continue to be frustrated by the confusion and shock that potential clients express when we start talking about typical hourly rates, project fees, rights usage, etc. It seems that while most people have no problem paying a doctor $150 to see you for less than ten minutes, paying a creative a respectable wage for what amounts to a sound investment in their business’s future is crazy talk.

Here’s a nice little feedback snippet I found on one designer’s profile from a client and his response:

Client Feedback: He delivered a “product” to me according to the specifications, but if you are looking for someone to design a mobile phone website, this is not the guy for you. I needed a template for a mobile website and he “found” one for me, but I think he basically just resold me something he found on the internet. When I asked him to code in a link to the phone # to make it dial when a user clicked it, he did not know how to even do that basic function. So it was not a great experience. But perhaps I was not as clear as I should have been as to what I wanted… so I guess I got what I paid for. But he is NOT a seasoned site designer so proceed with caution. I’m sure he’ll post negative about me too – but as you can see from all the other projects I have done, I have gotten 10 star ratings, so you can decide on that.

Designer’s Reply: please check your Description You only told “But perhaps I was not as clear as I should have been as to what I wanted…so I guess I got what I paid for”…then why you comment so bad about me ..i am not getting this point..Sir you didn’t told in your Project Description that you want people Can DIAL (cellphone dial the phone number)..that why i said you NO when you ask me about this point..because in 25$(30$) 5$ was charged as project Fees..which i was not aware.. no one will do this part… I gave you all HTML/CSS file as you told in your Project Description .. if you want i can share that File with ADMIN Of this Freelancing site..and all part will be clear..You have Posted my feedback so negative because you where afraid ( as you told ” I’m sure he’ll post negative about me too” ) that i could provide your Negative Feedback .. but Sir you can check my feedback…I was not hoping all this.. Thanks & Regds

This is a toxic environment I shall steer far and clear around, amusing as it is.

3 Responses to “sad state of affairs.”

  1. design is design. | jmvdigital, inc.

    […] wanted to get your feedback. Piggybacking on my previous post about freelance job posting sites (sad state of affairs), I got onto a tangent about how clients often request portfolio samples of designs within their […]

  2. Betsy

    How many of the Fortune 500 actually bid out work this way, I wonder? Too me it’s like an employer advertising on Craigslist. I’m skeptical of anything I see on there, and likewise would be of these boards too. If you don’t care enough to hire someone in a proper fashion, I think likely it speaks volumes for how the project will go down.


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