Listening. Listening some more. Acting on what we hear. Mike | January 8th, 2009

Last May, I wrote here that crowdSPRING values creativity. crowdSPRING values creative people.

We spend a great deal of time thinking about information and how it relates to our users and our larger community. Like other businesses, we look at data – activity in the projects, our revenues, feedback, etc. – but we also engage our community in discussions in our forums, on our blog, on Twitter and on other social networks. We listen to our users so that we can better understand how we’re doing and learn how we can be better.

We are committed to provide great value to buyers who come to crowdSPRING to get access to an incredible group of creatives from around the world. Back in May we set what we thought were reasonable minimum prices for projects in all categories. Our hope was that “market pressure” and our community would together drive the actual awards that buyers offered on their projects. In late May, we made slight adjustments to those minimums.

Over the past eight months, we have been following closely the projects that are posted, the user interaction in those projects, and the creative participation in those projects. We look at how many entries are posted per project, how many creatives participate, and how many projects end successfully. We have also been listening to all of you: in our forums and through our Contact Us form many of you have suggested that we consider increasing our minimum pricing, pointing out that low-price projects weaken our model and undervalue the work of our creatives. We hear you. Loud and clear.

As of today we have raised the minimum awards for all projects. logo design, stationery design, banner ads, clothing, icons & buttons, illustrations, photo, powerpoint, and widget projects will now have a minimum of $200 (the prior minimum was $150). Logo AND Stationery, and Print Design projects now have a minimum of $300 (the prior minimum was $250). Web design will have a minimum of $600 (the prior minimum was $400). Minimums in crowdSPRING Pro projects remain at $1,000. Take a look at today’s announcement in the forums for a bit more detail.

Thank you so much for your great feedback and thanks for making crowdSPRING such a great community.

Need something designed? Name your price. Pick from 110+ entries. Love it or your money back.

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  • gosquared

    Great to here – thanks guys. Plus I hope Stu is having a great first day!

  • themarketingspot

    Congratulations on the price increase, crowdSPRING. Well worth the value received.

  • jmarfurt

    as a creative on the site, just want to say THANK YOU!! :) The new minimums seem much more fair. :)

  • irvirv

    So if you need a few similar buttons it’s $200? I’m building a site and as I go along I need a few things. I completed a “buy” not long ago for $150. Most entries I received on that one I could easily match or beat on my own (which I did) in very little time. There were two entries, however, that actually required some skill and work and I chose one. I’m very happy with it. Now I need what amounts to some buttons that will be very similar to each other. $150 was a stretch but I figured worth it vs. me trudging along with it. $200? Hmmm….

    The point is by the time the site is completed I’ll likely spend about $800 on various stuff that requires more artistry than I can do myself. I thought about engaging someone and just having them bid out things as they got time but I ran into Crowdspring in the process. At $200 minimum I need to rethink this. You’d think if the pay was too cheap people simply wouldn’t post. The “market at work” as they say. Apparently not. We’ll see how it goes. Granted I could lump everything into one bid (or in groups) but I only need things as they come up in development. I think now having that one “go to” person is going to be easier.

  • Mike

    Hi irvirv,

    Thanks so much for reading the post and leaving your comments. We gave a great deal of thought to making these adjustments to our minimums and carefully considered the impact it would have on our buyers. We walk a fine line every day, trying hard to satisfy both of our audiences and sometimes it is tricky.

    Having said that, we felt that the data from our first 8 months in business would be a good guide. We looked at average awards across all categories along with average participation in terms of the numbers of creatives per project and the number of entries per project. We also looked hard at the alternatives which are available to buyers when sourcing creative services. All of this led us to the conclusion that our pricing was not fair to our many creatives around the world, but also helped us to understand that (even with the increased minimums) buyers on crowdSPRING receive great value and, perhaps more importantly, great choice in design concepts.

    Icons and Buttons projects on the site have average awards of $277 since we launched and our new minimum is still well below that. The new pricing in all of the other categories is also well below the average awards on projects posted to date. In addition, the average project on the site is currently receiving over 75 entries!

    We do understand that many buyers prefer having one “go-to” designer and we appreciate why this might be a better choice for some. We have always encouraged creatives on cS to develop relationships with the buyers they meet here and recognize that many of them take these new relationships off of our site. That’s OK. In fact it is part of the value that we offer our creatives.

    I hope that this wasn’t too long an answer to your comment, but wanted you to know how seriously we considered this decision and how much we appreciate all of our users.

    Best regards and Happy New Year,

    Mike

  • graficallyminded

    I would like to suggest custom photography assignments. For example, when a client can’t quite find what they are looking for on the normal stock photo websites, they could come here. This way photographers or even illustrators can compete to win. I would be highly interested in participating in contests like this, since even if I don’t win – I’ll still be creating content that I can market elsewhere and still get something for my time invested. You can’t always do that with normal logo assignments. Web design assignments, you might.

  • graficallyminded

    Nevermind – I just realized that the option is already enabled so clients can post custom photography assignments like this :D

  • irvirv

    Mike, thanks for the response. I’ll leave it alone but I feel like I should remind you that crowdSPRING is simply the clearing house for these jobs. To me it’s kind of like ebay saying they’re only going to post items worth $200 or more. Some will say this is different but I don’t think so. I think you should have went the other way and wiped out minimums altogether. A minimum fee for your services makes sense but not a minimum price per project.

    You’ve got a great site and I’m sure I’ll still post some projects, just likely a bit fewer.

    Thanks!

    Irv

  • OpenSkyDesigns

    Irvirv, if you want a cheaper icon solution, use a stock website. If you want CUSTOM materials, hire a designer. That is essentially what you are doing here (albeit in a way that causes all of the designers but one to get nothing for their time). If the work you chose took the creative 5 hours to complete, you would be paying them $40/hour. This is completely reasonable (if not low) for professional custom work. If you want a custom product, please respect the designer and pay them what they are worth.

    If a designer gives you a logo for $50, it doesn’t mean that their work is only worth that much. It means they’re desperate.

  • irvirv

    OpenSky, yes you’re probably right. Actually I’m fascinated by crowdSpring. In my “previous life” I spent a lot of time in development economics, specifically as the field pertains to Sub-Saharan Africa. CrowdSpring, to me anyway, is a macro experiment playing out in real time. On paper I wouldn’t think the model the site is built on would work yet they seem not only to be “making it” but thriving!

    Maybe someday crowdSpring will be analyzed at the university level. It’s the part that you parenthesised that’s so interesting. Oh well, back to my “new” life….

    Irv

  • Mike

    @OpenSkyDesigns and @irvirv,

    Thanks much for the great comments (and the kind words). One of the things we try hard to do is to show respect for the creatives who work on our site, provide their skills, and share their inspiration. We truly believe that on many other sites creativity is undervalued and designers underpaid. We are also committed to delivering value and choice to buyers, and as OpenSky points out $200 for custom design work is a bargain no matter which way you cut it. We will continue listening to our community, serving our buyers, and building a great place to work and learn.

    Cheers,

    Mike

    PS: keep your eyes out over the next few months – we have had lots of interest from the academic community…

  • Mike

    @OpenSkyDesigns and @irvirv,

    Thanks much for the great comments (and the kind words). One of the things we try hard to do is to show respect for the creatives who work on our site, provide their skills, and share their inspiration. We truly believe that on many other sites creativity is undervalued and designers underpaid. We are also committed to delivering value and choice to buyers, and as OpenSky points out $200 for custom design work is a bargain no matter which way you cut it. We will continue listening to our community, serving our buyers, and building a great place to work and learn.

    Cheers,

    Mike

    PS: keep your eyes out over the next few months – we have had lots of interest from the academic community…

  • debbrancheau

    You guys are great. Thanks for not only looking out for us but also the customers.

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