Record Opportunity at 99designs.com

February 4, 2010

99designs.com is the #1 Marketplace for Crowdsourced Graphic Design
Don’t look now – but 99designs.com is breaking records left, right and center!

In January 99designs set new records for:

  • The most design projects held in a single month – 2,195
  • The highest total of money available to designers in a single month – Over $678,000!

At the time I am writing this there are:

  • A record number of open design projects – 617
  • With a new record of over $213,000 up for grabs at a single time!

What does this mean for you?

There is more opportunity for designers at 99designs.com than ever before!

Our designers tell us that 50% of the projects they win lead to direct follow on work – that makes 99designs an incredibly powerful tool for building lasting client relationships.

So what are you waiting for – find your opportunity!

Cheers,
The 99designs Team

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30 Responses to “Record Opportunity at 99designs.com”

  1. hoshimo Says:

    it’s so true that at least 50% of the wins lead to additional work afterwards. every now n then you get nice perks too.

    i just got a bottle of wine in the mail for designing a winning wine label design :)

  2. Alabaster Says:

    Yes, it’s obvious that 99designs is getting more crowded with projects (and designers, too).

    In web design category, the number of projects are growing up to six pages while not so long ago it barely reached five pages…

    Definitely a good start for 99designs in 2010! :)

  3. Chris Says:

    I’d be interested in seeing some comparisons with other freelance job boards. You know, the really vicious ones where all the designers get screwed and there are a zillion crappy projects to choose from.

    The big advantage I see with 99designs is that I don’t have to try to underbid people outside the U.S. that are willing to design and build a custom WordPress site for $40.

    In the same vein, you should be paid what your work is worth regardless of where you live. You folks at 99designs are doing a great job at creating a healthy environment and higher quality work.

    • Jason Aiken Says:

      Chris,

      Thanks for jumping in and sharing your thoughts.

      I will be sure to show your comment to the team here – it will make their day!

      Glad to hear you are enjoying the experience.

      Cheers,
      Jason

    • Jude Fernando Says:

      Chris, exactly the way I feel, I cant even bear to go to those freelance boards anymore..very depressing! 99designs promotes healthy competition. I know I have improved my skills a lot since I joined here.

    • Justin Says:

      Chris, where you went wrong, is when you injected the “where you live” part. You should be paid for your work regardless…period. “Crowdsourcing” is a nice way to say “screwing designers”. Reputable designers don’t work for free in hopes to be paid. Websites like this devalue the artistic talent of reputable designers by taking projects that should be a one on one relationship between a client and designer, and turning it into a pathetic act of desperate designers to make money. There is not consultation between the client and designer. There is no long term relationship and mutual respect built. There is no way to envision the clients wants and needs for the development of their brand by reading a paragraph long brief. The contest holders and website owners are doing nothing more than exploiting designers. The very concept goes against the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, which is the standard code of ethics for graphic designers. Aside front that, click on any given “contest”, look at any given designer’s profile, and check out the win %. I have yet to find one that is over 10% winning. Most are far below 5%. Based on an average win of $200 (which is probably high), and an average of 3 hours design time per project (which is probably low), you would be making $6.67/hr with a 10% win ratio. That is below minimum wage. AND most people have a win % less than 5%, so they are working hundreds of hours for a handful of pennies. What is even more of a slap in the face to designers, contests do not have to be guaranteed. I hope that this makes it to the administration, as they need to reevaluate what they are really doing with this website. This is essentially sweatshop labor for white collar designers.

      • Jason Aiken Says:

        Justin,

        You make sweeping assumptions that show your unfamiliarity with the what actually happens at 99designs.

        “There is not consultation between the client and designer. There is no long term relationship and mutual respect built.”

        How do you know this – you don’t – you just assume it – but that does not make it true.

        The most successful designers at 99designs realize how to sell their value and do consult with the client with the aim of building lasting relationships.

        Here is an email we received yesterday – I have removed some identifying information because I have not yet gotten permission to share it – but don’t worry I will be sharing the story officially once I do:

        “About a year ago I won a design contest on 99designs for a logo and iphone
        application icon:

        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

        Since then I’ve continued working with the client, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, as
        their graphic designer, designing the look of the whole application and the
        website. During the evolution of the application it has changed name and
        brand, from ‘XXXXXX’ to ‘XXXXXX’:

        XXXXXXXXXXXX

        XXXXX is a location browser, it’s free to download and is currently a
        staff pick on the Apple store US. Try it out and let us know what you
        think!

        I believe this is one of the true benefits of using 99designs. It enables clients and designers to meet, who otherwise wouldn’t know of each other.

        In a number of projects I, and other designers in the community have gone on to do further work with the clients after the initial contest is complete. Your site supports this, right across the world, which is brilliant.

        So, here’s a big thank you from me and XXXXXXXXX! If you hadn’t hosted the contest, then the partnership in creating the app could never have happened!”

        Cheers,
        Jason

      • Justin Says:

        Jason,
        Asking people to provide speculative work is complete disrespect. Name any other occupation where a service is rendered, and payment is optional. You have sited one designer out of tens of thousands that have received follow up work. Mr. 99designs Marketing Manager, I DARE you to list the statistics on the designers on the front page like you do with the other statistics. Total entries, contest entered, contest won, total payouts, etc. You won’t have any designers left. It will show that the average designer is working for pennies an hour, and that the winningest designers are making far, far, below rates of an average designer.

      • Jason Aiken Says:

        Justin,

        It is common practice for businesses across many industries to provide service, work or product in hopes of getting something out of it…in hopes of creating an opportunity – winning a contract, building a customer relationship or securing some form of payment or advantage down the line- lawyers, public relations, advertising, restaurants, writers, contractors, architects – you name it. In fact – pretty much all businesses are built this way – no guarantees.

        What about web applications, blogs, or any other content created to hopefully attract advertisers or users who will at some point pay.

        What about internships or other volunteer work performed for the sole purpose of gaining experience.

        What about the employee who stays late and works weekends and makes all sorts of other sacrifices – going way beyond the call of duty just trying to get ahead.

        On and on and on…

        All the examples above are not necessarily a direct parallel with designers participating at 99designs but they all share at least two things:

        – the goal of trying to create an opportunity.
        – freedom of choice

        Here’s the bottom line – the designers choose whether they want to participate or not. And they base that choice on whether they derive value from participating or not – are they learning, gaining experience, building relationships, making money, having fun etc… if they are then they continue – if they are not then they don’t.

        As far as citing designers who succeed at 99designs – there are many. A small few are currently profiled on the blog – eventually I’ll chronicle thousands of stories… there are only so many hours in the day and it’s not the only job that needs doing.

        I can’t promise that every designer is going to have success at 99designs – but I can promise that the entire team here is dedicated to creating as much opportunity as possible.

        Cheers,
        Jason

      • SR Promotions Says:

        Jason,

        Listen.. i mean.. we understand why you post stuff like this on the blog.. record opportunities, business is booming, 99Designs is doing great… we get it…

        But id be careful in how you relate to the designers that make this work for you. Its a fine line, I know… ive discussed the very same issues with your staff personally, not on here, but they’ve contacted me on their own.. which i appreciated.

        Id just maybe try a little more nuance in your responses.. especially since you arent a designer.. and from most of your posts here and elsewhere you arent really familiar with the economics that designers face. When i say “designers” I mean, true professional designers, experienced, knowledgeable, talented… not the normal people you interact with here. okay?

        The numbers that Justin has calculated are true Jason, in fact theyre really a little high in terms of the hourly rate and return. Really, the vast majority of your designers, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM, are working literally for under pennies per hour. You know this. This isnt some conspiracy… it isnt some conjecture or anything.. this is real… and its factual. Just because you have a few designers who are actually thankful for such a palsey return for their time shouldnt give you false confidence that what youre doing is somehow a favor for anyone. Okay?

        When you say things like “It is common practice for businesses across many industries to provide service, work or product in hopes of getting something out of it…in hopes of creating an opportunity – winning a contract, building a customer relationship or securing some form of payment or advantage down the line- lawyers, public relations, advertising, restaurants, writers, contractors, architects – you name it. In fact – pretty much all businesses are built this way – no guarantees.”… come on. its not common practice for any of these industries to work diligently on any type of product for a 5% hope of getting paid. When you reduce the concerns, legitimate concerns to trivial comparisons that have no relevance.. its offensive to the intellectual audience that visits here. Does a restaurant prepare a meal for you, let you eat it and then hope they get compensated? ya know? come on.. even stuff like this shouldnt make it on here from 99Designs staff. You think a magazine publisher runs ad’s for free in the hopes that the advertiser pays later? Seriously, youre under the impression that most business’s do work, expend labor as all speculative? Come on Jason. This is a bit embarrassing man.

        In truth does 99Designs do anything positive for the design industry, for designers or really even for your customer base? The real answer is not much. We know this.. you know this. Everyone knows this. It doesnt mean youre evil, it doesnt mean this is a “bad” place.. but come on.. lets not act like the success of 99designs as a business somehow translates into success for your designers.. clearly it doesnt translate into anything for a vast majority of your participants. This is just a fact, its not a conspiracy, its just the way it is.

        Im not asking you to agree.. that would be bad for you in your position, so none of us expect you to say:

        “hey, we know, but we dont care, our job is to make $40.00 a customer, we promote our site, we spend the money to bring people here, and we get that $40.00… what happens to you guys doesnt really matter to us.. we arent designers, we’re facilitators and we do well in that capacity. whether you guys eat or starve is not our concern.”

        We understand you cant lay your cards on the table like this.. thats cool. But you dont have to insult anyone in the process by trying to argue that most everyone works for free. lol. Good to go?

        SR


      • I agree. I tried 99 designs and stopped because it isnt worth it. Where is the benefit? Only the buyer really has that benefit, designers are treated as pan handlers. The main value goes to those young designers who want to practice and learn while at the same time have a chance at winning some cash.

        Repeat business is great but you are right it is about building a real relationship. I think the whole idea of standing in a group of other designs and trying to show how good you are compared to them is waisted time. The only way you can make a living at this is if your entire monthly bills come out to about a hundred dollars. So if you live in cambodia or india you can do great, or if your a 16 year old kid living in his parents basement. However I would rather work for local clients and through networking with clients and develop their logos for their business’s one on one, when they need it, because they like my work.

        As a contest site it is great but its not a main source of income. Its more for fun and for practice. The opportunity they speak of isnt to make money. Not really. Money is just a selling point for them. I think anyone who supports this site beyond the contest aspect of it is really deluded. Its not a better way of working its a much worse way. Tell me why I should participate at all for someone who wants to pay 400 dollars to the winner of the logo design when I can make a logo for a client worth 400 dollars… The energy is much different. Its a positive creativite one where at 99 designs its a survivalist nature. Thats the nature of contest. Winners and losers.

        Fun for learning but not for living.

  4. Jude Fernando Says:

    hoshimo cool! If they sent a bottle of wine in the mail to my country it would have been consumed at the post office..lol

  5. VB20 Says:

    Yea there are a lot of projects up, in large part to the start of the new year.

    You should have put a pic of Usain Bolt up instead, but I think people get it oO.

  6. Arslan Says:

    wow, amazing, keep it up

  7. VB20 Says:

    Actually, I tend to disagree with Justin. You are making it seem like designers work here 9-5. That is not the case, I am a designer here and spend roughly 2 hours a day (if that) on projects and the same goes for most other designers here. Take this past January for instance, I won 5 contests with prizes totaling $1,200. One of these contests holders, who I have since built a relationship with, gave me 3 other projects right after for an additional $500. That is a total of $1,700 + long term relationship. I’ve lost nothing but have only gained because of 99 designs.

    • Jason Aiken Says:

      Nice – thanks for sharing your story.

      Glad to hear you are having success.

      Cheers,
      Jason

      • Justin Says:

        You poor guy (VB20). You have won 26 out of 629 contests entered (4%). Even if you only submitted one entry to each contest, that is an outstanding amount of work for $1200. Based on an average freelance designer rate of 65/hr you just did $40,885 worth of work for $1200 (based on ONLY 1 hour of work per contest). Freelance designers don’t complete 629 projects in a year, so this only tells me that you have made $1200 over a span of years worth of work, or you have been submitting subpar designs that you can crank out in a matter of minutes, with absolutely no thought put into them. (629 contests over 16 months- I checked your profile). If that is what you call success, you have extremely low standards.

      • VB20 Says:

        You can look at my contest stats here and do all the calculating you want, but your not getting the real story. Like Jason said, people have the option to participate here, if they don’t like it here then they can choose to not to be a part of it.

  8. Jude Fernando Says:

    Justin you make many assumptions that are not true across the board, some are true but most are just a negative way of perceiving what this site is about.

    “Reputable designers don’t work for free in hopes to be paid.”
    – Being ‘reputable’ doesn’t come easy. It takes years of experience and it also takes the right clients being involved with the right design agency, etc. Not everyone is so lucky, but there are many with the same skills the ‘reputable’ designers possess, this site is for them.

    “Websites like this devalue the artistic talent of reputable designers by taking projects that should be a one on one relationship between a client and designer”
    – Why is the 99designs process not one on one? The designer who wins is creating something that the client actually likes and feels is right for them. Dont confuse ‘one on one’ with ‘face to face’.

    “There is no long term relationship and mutual respect built.”
    – so untrue..Clients more often than not maintain a long term relationship and respect your skills. Why would they not? After all they are the ones who selected your design.

    “There is no way to envision the clients wants and needs for the development of their brand by reading a paragraph long brief.”
    – This is like saying that there is no way to envision what the client wants in your first meeting with them (in a real world agency scenario). All you need is an idea to get started,the idea develops through multiple meetings. You dont need to get it all the first time.

    “The contest holders and website owners are doing nothing more than exploiting designers.”
    – There is a lot more exploitation in brick and mortar agencies such as working for minimal pay, forced to work for long hours, having sex with your boss in hopes of a raise and what not. How is anyone eploited here when they aree to come and go at their own free will. If designers feel its worth their time they stay, if not they leave.

    “check out the win %. I have yet to find one that is over 10% winning.”
    – you havent looked enough then. I cam give you links to more than a few profiles including mine if you like;)

    “you would be making $6.67/hr with a 10% win ratio. That is below minimum wage.”
    – You make too many assumptions to arrive at that figure. Moreover the minimum wage varies. Where I’m at its $6.67 per day not per hour! Again the point is not whether you are making minimum wage or not, but whether its worth it to you or not.

    There I have disqualified all your statements,

    Regards

    Fernando

    • Justin Says:

      You have disqualified nothing. This site is a goldmine for people in third world countries. You can submit tons of crummy designs, and eventually one or two will win. You can afford to spend all week or all month entering as many contests as possible just to win $150. If your average wage is $6.67/day where you live, you only have to win $1734.20 worth of contest to make a year’s pay.

      • Jude Fernando Says:

        ‘this site is a goldmine for people in third world countries’ – You just proved the value of this site.

        BTW just because you have a lower standard of living doesnt mean you make ‘crummy designs’ . Are you equating economic prosperity with creative genius?

        If you hate it so much here, just leave…or come live in a third world country, you might finally find happiness in your life.

  9. Jude Fernando Says:

    Justin you make many assumptions that are not true across the board, some are true but most are just a negative way of perceiving what this site is about.

    “Reputable designers don’t work for free in hopes to be paid.”
    – Being ‘reputable’ doesn’t come easy. It takes years of experience and it also takes the right clients being involved with the right design agency, etc. Not everyone is so lucky, but there are many with the same skills the ‘reputable’ designers possess, this site is for them.

    “Websites like this devalue the artistic talent of reputable designers by taking projects that should be a one on one relationship between a client and designer”
    – Why is the 99designs process not one on one? The designer who wins is creating something that the client actually likes and feels is right for them. Dont confuse ‘one on one’ with ‘face to face’.

    “There is no long term relationship and mutual respect built.”
    – so untrue..Clients more often than not maintain a long term relationship and respect your skills. Why would they not? After all they are the ones who selected your design.

    “There is no way to envision the clients wants and needs for the development of their brand by reading a paragraph long brief.”
    – This is like saying that there is no way to envision what the client wants in your first meeting with them (in a real world agency scenario). All you need is an idea to get started,the idea develops through multiple meetings. You dont need to get it all the first time.

    “The contest holders and website owners are doing nothing more than exploiting designers.”
    – There is a lot more exploitation in brick and mortar agencies such as working for minimal pay, forced to work for long hours, having sex with your boss in hopes of a raise and what not. How is anyone eploited here when they aree to come and go at their own free will. If designers feel its worth their time they stay, if not they leave.

    “check out the win %. I have yet to find one that is over 10% winning.”
    – you havent looked enough then. I cam give you links to more than a few profiles including mine if you like;)

    “you would be making $6.67/hr with a 10% win ratio. That is below minimum wage.”
    – You make too many assumptions to arrive at that figure. Moreover the minimum wage varies. Where I’m at its $6.67 per day not per hour! Again the point is not whether you are making minimum wage or not, but whether its worth it to you or not.

    There I have disqualified all your statements,

    Regards

    Fernando

  10. Justin Says:

    Here are your featured designers stats below. They are getting paid for their hard work a whopping average of 17.25% of the time. I get paid 100% of the time for my work, and I’m sure the vast majority of the people in the world do as well. Jason, if 99designs asked you to take a 82.76% paycut, would you continue to work for them as their Business Development/Marketing Manager. I don’t think so.

    IfThenElse- 23/85- 27%- all website designs

    Neptune- 53/330- 16%

    Terry Bogard- 57/646- 8.8%

    kelly_hero- 14/63- 22%- all website designs

    hoshimo- 90/718- 12.5%


  11. I have been working for quite some time on 99designs and find it greatly lucrative.

    Dont have to write proposals or prepare mockups. No convincing clients.
    Just think of a cool concept and put it to photoshop… BINGO… you are good to win…

  12. Ruben Says:

    Jason,

    I am new to this site and this is the third article I read. You are validating this Justin individual, when clearly his comments reflect that he is bitter, angry, jealous, insecure, or all of the above. He is not here to stand up for or represent other designers! He is belittling the talented individuals that compete here to make himself feel better. Why else would he talk down to 99designs members. I have learned to stay away from such negative people.

    • Jason Aiken Says:

      Hi Ruben,

      Welcome – believe me I understand where you are coming from.

      Moderation is never easy and I really do want to keep the conversation as open as possible – it is an open community and it is important that voices are heard.

      We firmly believe that 99designs generates tremendous value for both designers and small businesses – we are by no means perfect and as 99designs is an evolving business and a new model that’s built around community – we encourage and depend on an open and constructive dialog.

      I agree with you completely – comments that are completely disrespectful of others should not be tolerated – I do my best to eliminate the ones that cross the line.

      Cheers,
      Jason


  13. Terrific, thanks for sharing this information. Looks great on my iPhone, but on the Blackberry Pearl’s browser your site comes out a little erratic.


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