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  1. #1
    Non-Member garyedwardjohnst's Avatar
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    Is it just me or do these design contests favour the contest holder.

    I'm new here so bare that in mind as I rant.

    It seems as though the contest holders are getting an AMAZING DEAL.

    They are getting hundreds of hours of graphic design time for next to nothing.

    They not only get to select from dozens of designs, but they can individually work with each them to tailor the designs.

    It seems as these contests are one sided. I have a number of suggestions on how to improve this, but am actually looking for your input.

    I can't help but feel like the designers are being exploited here. I also can't help but think that larger graphic design companies that charge thousands of dollars, simply hold a contest, pick the best ones to show their client, and pay the actual designer a hundred bucks or so.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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    The contest holders are the ones paying the listing fee and paying the prize money to the designers...of course they're going to select the best entry. If the designer doesn't think participating in the contest is worth it, they don't have to.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy ldcdc's Avatar
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    It seems as though the contest holders are getting an AMAZING DEAL.
    Yes, and it's what makes contests so popular. It's pretty much like presenting architectural projects, where there's only one contest/contract winner.
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  4. #4
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    But it is good for participants as well. Without contests I would simply have a graphic designer that I would regularly use for designs. That means only one person gets an opportunity to make money. Now I can offer a couple dozen designers a chance to make money and I get a better design for my client. Also, because the pricing is affordable I can choose to have a designer do work for me every time I get a customer as opposed to trying to do it myself for the lower paying jobs. Once again, more money out there for the designers.

  5. #5
    Non-Member garyedwardjohnst's Avatar
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    Angry

    Okay, I can see holding a contest for a hundred bucks. Noone is forcing entrants to enter contests, but...

    Contest holders are not held to their responsibility. Many, over half, abandon their contests or don't choose a winner. Does that sound fair. What are they doing with the ideas that were generated for them? Hmmmmmmmmmm?

    Noone will be able to tell me that these contests don't favour the contest holder.

    For instance, a larger design firm charges loads of cash to their client, the designer holds a contest and gets dozens of ideas which they are not obliged to pay. even if they paid the designers minimum wage, it would probably amount to thousands of dollars of design time they are getting for $100 or so.

    The hitch is that SITEPOINT gets their cash. It seems as though this is all sitepoint cares about. They feel no responsibility nor obligation to the designers.

    What about the getting ripped off part. Many of the designs are getting ripped off.

    The reality is that sitepoint could do a lot to fix these issues but chooses not to. I believe that it is becasue they are getting their cash and that is where their caring ends.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyedwardjohnst View Post
    Many, over half, abandon their contests or don't choose a winner. Does that sound fair. What are they doing with the ideas that were generated for them? Hmmmmmmmmmm?
    Where are your statistics coming from? I have access to the stats, and I can tell you that you're way offbase.

    What about the getting ripped off part. Many of the designs are getting ripped off.
    We've instituted many of the suggestions made on here to protect designers, such as requiring feedback on all entries, suspending contests without feedback after 7 days, and banning members from making further marketplace listings unless they complete a contest by giving proper feedback in their contest.

    Even more great features are on the way in the coming months.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz View Post
    and banning members from making further marketplace listings unless they complete a contest by giving proper feedback in their contest.
    Maybe they should be banned from all Sitepoint activity until they complete?

  8. #8
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    This guy trashed my contest thread, and I havent gotten any entries for the past 6 days.

    Ive ran like 6+ contests over the past 2 years and always pick a winner and pay.

    I dont see how designers are on the losing end of this, since they post their logos watermarked, and only thumnails of their layouts.

    SitePoint has even raised the $$ requirements. I remember not to long ago we could pay $50 for a logo, and now its $100.
    *Averaging $1 a day and lovin it *

  9. #9
    SitePoint Member fusionds's Avatar
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    I think to start a contest they should have to deposit the money the winner gets and every account has paypal connected to it and if chosen sitepoints servers send over the money to the winner.
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  10. #10
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duskwalker View Post
    This guy trashed my contest thread, and I havent gotten any entries for the past 6 days.
    That matter has been dealt with.
    Sara

  11. #11
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duskwalker View Post
    This guy trashed my contest thread, and I havent gotten any entries for the past 6 days.
    FYI, as the contestholder you can delete any entries that you want to. So, if someone comes trying to trash your contest, simply delete their posts. If they are out of control, let us know. We'll take care of them.

  12. #12
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    garyedwardjohnst this is directed at you since you took it upon yourself to try and disrupt my competition on Wed Jan 10, 19:05.

    I find it outrageous you would try to hinder my entrepreneurial dream by posting negative remarks in my contest.

    It seems to me you lack integrity on the one hand you are saying you are here to support new business (statement found in your profile) on the other hand you are going round smashing windows of new businesses and entrepreneurs.

    Whilst I dont want to get caught up in your antics please do some homework before potentially negatively impacting on someone else’s dream.

    I value site point and every single person who supports me and my businesses.

    I cant afford the outrageous prices charged by design agencies so should I compromise the quality of my dream?
    Should I expect second best?

    All I ask is you think twice before using your words to create negativity!

    Site point is doing an amazing job and in my opinion is a glimpse of the future.

    Kind regards

  13. #13
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    I enter design contests regularly, and I find there is at least 20 or so regular designers that enter. I also agree with the thread starter, because he contest holder is getting a handful of designs to showcase to their client. We, the designers aren't told about how much the client is paying this person for the design. This is the same even when you do freelance work. They outsource it to you, for an obvious lower price.

    Same thing happens here. But not all of the contest holders are doing this for a client. You'll notice the legit, and nice contest holders have prizes of over $500, if the prize is $150, and you feel it is too low, and your being ripped off, than don't enter.

    It really is at the risk of ourselves when we enter. SitePoint merely sets up the situation. Although you guys say you're trying to make improvements, but like I said, I submit regularly. And In every contest there is atleast 1 person who gets no feedback whatsoever, and the holder doesn't feel obligated to even give feedback on the non winner entries.

    If we're taking around 4 hours to make the design, couldn't they spend 2 minutes saying how we could improve? Instead of saying, that is not what we're aiming for.

    Also declaring a contest abandon after no feedback for 7 days still doesn't fix the problem, it just pisses the designers off, because they worked for nothing. I know its not sitepoint, it's the contest holders, but you still say you get people to provide feedback on all entries. This is simply not true. I'm a regular, and I know what I am talking about.

    Almost all the contest I go in, don't have winners selected until 4 days after, if a winner is even selected. If you go and browse the contest right now, you will notice most have 10 entires submitted with absolutely no feedback. But some above have feedback. - This goes back to the original point, who really wins?

    Of course SitePoint, the contest holder, and the winner (if there is one). But then again it is at my risk to even enter, I know this.

    SitePoint, I love ya for doing this whole thing, but like GAF it's time for some quality changes!

    What I propose:

    - Contest Holders, should be fined for not providing feedback after after 7 days of a percentage of their prize. Little extreme? No. I spent on average 3-4 hours on a design. Most of the designers do, and if they don't its quite obvious. But if paying $10-$30 for listing fee then having 20 designers spent 3-4 hours on a design, and they don't provide feedback then its only fair.

    - For the feedback section on the contest holder side, provide a schema for CONSTRUCTIVE feedback. Make some of the fields required, so the provide simply cannot provide lame, simple feedback. All feedback should mean something to the designer, so if all they got was feedback it atleast helped them.

    - Allow for only 4 revisions. Most holders, ask for a lot - making the designers do more work. This is why I enter with 2 days left, always. Why? Because what I design should be only done revisions once, they aren't paying me to do this. It is a contest afterall, in most contests you do what you think will win, and that is that. This should be the same for all, because making them make 5 revisions, for 3 promising designers, then pick one and have 2 designers with 6 hours of wasted time.

    Further more, you should provide compensation for the designers. I know this is way too much to ask, but I have a feeling some other website may make this a reality

    Again, I submit regularly. I don't have a problem with sitepoint, the contest holders as it is now, because I know the risk, and I take it.

  14. #14
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by design-a-lie View Post
    - For the feedback section on the contest holder side, provide a schema for CONSTRUCTIVE feedback. Make some of the fields required, so the provide simply cannot provide lame, simple feedback. All feedback should mean something to the designer, so if all they got was feedback it atleast helped them.
    Let me answer this from a contest holder's prospective. Sometimes it is hard for us to give feedback and alot of times you wouldn't want the constructive feedback we can give. If I see a solid design that looks good, but it doesn't grab me, that's all i can really say to the designer. I am not an artist or a critic. I can't suggest they make that swirl bigger or anything. I try when I can, but sometimes that is the best i can do.

    Allow for only 4 revisions. Most holders, ask for a lot - making the designers do more work. This is why I enter with 2 days left, always. Why? Because what I design should be only done revisions once, they aren't paying me to do this. It is a contest afterall, in most contests you do what you think will win, and that is that. This should be the same for all, because making them make 5 revisions, for 3 promising designers, then pick one and have 2 designers with 6 hours of wasted time.
    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't think there should be any number mandated but I also feel that contest holders should try to not ask for revisions at all. If the contest holder leaves constructive feedback and the designer wants to change it, then so be it. Personally, i very rarely ask for revisions. Why? Because I can usually see the merits of a design without getting the designer to make them ahead of time. I can work that out after the contest. I would only ask for a change if it was really hard for me to imagine what that change would look like and to see if I would really like it. I have been trying to encourage CHs to do the same.
    Sara

  15. #15
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    I really can't see any moral reason why a limit should not be put on revisions. This is spec work and it belittles the designer to expect unlimited revisions should be submitted with no payment or guarantees. Sarah I suspect even subliminally you recognize this and thats why you don't do it.

    You have more respect for designers.

    Design-a-lie I concur (at least on some points) and especially with the lack of feedback which the system does not require in the last seven days. Those twenty designers or so are changing rapidly though as some of the better ones are either submitting less or are gone. I think Sitepoint IS trying. However to be honest it has never been easier to stiff designers. The recent changes have unwittingly never given them more power to do so. If you do not believe me then go to late november - early december contests and just look at the number of contest labeled "expired waiting for results" . abandonments have never sounded more innocent.


    In addition to that consider the following

    A) Contest Holders have now been given the power to become mods within their contests. They can delete ANY question, comment or concern while making any comment or criticism they wish.

    B) Contest Holders can now close a contest at any time without explanation. Under the forum based system they were usually expected to give a reason and the community could decide if it was just a grand rationalization for abandonment.

    C) There is now no easy way to look up a contest holders history like you could through profiles. That would be easily solved by making the contest holder column on the contest pages sortable. Contest Holder is the only column that is not sortable.

    D) There is still no report function on the contest pages (or is it somewhere I haven't found). Isn't this just a link?

    E) the new system seems less searchable and I would expect be harder to monitor as a result of that I see an increase in "Contest Creep" where Chs are asking for things like several pages for the price of one, logos where no logo money is in sight and second and third prizes which end up with the CH getting several designs at Highway robbery prices.

    - I might be wrong on this one but the aforementioned category of "expired waiting for results" doesn't seem to count in the system as an abandonment. They are never categorized as abandonments on the threads.

    I told Mark in another thread that I appreciated the changes, thought sitepoint was trying and that I liked the changes. I still agree with the first two but after the last three months I can't agree that the changes have been for the better except that I do like the submission/feedback layout page.

    With the realization that some of the worst designs often win (a conclusion derived by looking at entries I did not make and comparing them to winners and then against the kind of designs you see at award and top sites) I am seriously rethinking my strategy.

    I've seen some hideous designs win (I wish I could link to them however I know that would be frowned upon but one of my favorite examples is one with a website with a modified stickman as the major illlustration graphic and no the rest of the design did not make up for it ). Getting better is the one justification for entering contests filled with peril but if I have to downgrade my designs to win whats the point? if abandonments closures and no feedback is the likely outcome to so many contests?

  16. #16
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maginno View Post
    C) There is now no easy way to look up a contest holders history like you could through profiles. That would be easily solved by making the contest holder column on the contest pages sortable. Contest Holder is the only column that is not sortable.
    An early version of the contest holder history is coming very soon. We're starting off with something basic, and then we'll be building on it for the next few weeks.

    D) There is still no report function on the contest pages (or is it somewhere I haven't found). Isn't this just a link?
    This is one of our top priorities for Q1 2007.

    It's more than just a link - it's what happens after its clicked, who its assigned to, and what is done, that's important. An updated set of Contests guidelines is part of this - we want to ensure that all reports are dealt with in a consistent manner.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    I think there should be some sort of escrow system set up for contests where the prize money is held.

    When a winner is chosen, they get the money. If the CH abandons or cancels a contest for no good reason (apart from them being extremely unprofessional as in this one) or fails to choose a winner, then they forfeit the prize money. SP could either then keep the money (a nice little earner) or distribute it to contest entrants.

    I think that sort of financial sting is the only way to keep some of these people honest, or keep them away from starting contests in the first place.

    You might argue that a system like that will reduce the number of contests posted and therefore reduce your revenue, but I'm prepared to bet it's only dishonest or unprofessional contest holders who would be dissuaded.

  18. #18
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    Escrow is brought up in every conversation about Sitepoint contests but I can feel for sitepoint a bit here. Once you take that step you have to hire people to run that system and you have added expense with no way of gauging how negatively its going to impact the present income. In fact you already know the income will drop because there are so many people who run contests with no commitment to even announcing a winner much less paying the winner.

    Not to mention that if you tell people they have to take designs they don't want you are going to incur a higher chargeback rate on your merchant account. Not good. Bare in mind that some of the biggest freelance markets that secure deposits are NOT contests but a model where work is done after choosing a designer. The heart of the whole problem is the spec work.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maginno View Post
    Not to mention that if you tell people they have to take designs they don't want you are going to incur a higher chargeback rate on your merchant account. Not good.
    It doesn't have to work that way. If the contest holder can provide a legitimate reason why they've cancelled/abandoned/not bothered picking a winner, then they can have their money refunded. This at least requires some interaction with a contest section moderator. At the moment, a lot just take off and that's the end of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by maginno View Post
    In fact you already know the income will drop because there are so many people who run contests with no commitment to even announcing a winner much less paying the winner.
    Then surely that's a reason why something else should be done. There's got to be some way of a penalty being imposed for not following through because there "so many" people not doing the right thing.

  20. #20
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    This is the kind of nonsense anything goes kind of thing that is routinely happening in the contests. This is for a design of a web page where the CH decides to include logo work as part of the contest. Its in the brief and the CH even discusses how he will split the prize money. Problem? The minimum would require $250 not his $200 minimum. Guidelines totally ignored.

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/656?

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/656?

  21. #21
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maginno View Post
    This is the kind of nonsense anything goes kind of thing that is routinely happening in the contests. This is for a design of a web page where the CH decides to include logo work as part of the contest. Its in the brief and the CH even discusses how he will split the prize money. Problem? The minimum would require $250 not his $200 minimum. Guidelines totally ignored.

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/656?

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/656?
    It looks like this has already been addressed. We try our best to enforce the prize minimums.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz View Post
    It looks like this has already been addressed. We try our best to enforce the prize minimums.
    I can't see how its been addressed. In his brief he indicates you can create a logo for him and in the threads he discusses how he should split the prize. Template and logo don't come to $200. The maths just doesn't add up.

  23. #23
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    okay. Its been corrected now. Good Job. Thanks. Really looking forward to that report button on the contest pages. Really needed for both sides

  24. #24
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    With regards to the argument that designers get paid a few hundred dollars for producing a page layout which may be sold by the contest holder for a lot more, I would argue that the contest holder has obtained the client in the first place. This means he has invested in advertising, telephone and email systems, and staff, to obtain the work. Our advertising budget is nearly $10k per year, and our staff costs are a lot more than that, so all of this has to be paid for.

    When these overheads are taken into account, I don't think selling a design for $400 which was bought for $250 is that unreasonable. The designer has earned $250 without investing in anything but time - no advertising, no staff, etc..

    Marc
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