Ever tried eLance? It's a joke

It’s my opinion that Elance for industrial designers is a complete waste. I do like how they force you to take a test first before listing your services BUT the jobs posted aren’t qualified in the least. Most of the jobs posted in the “product development” area are listed as only paying less than $500. Come on now…are we seriously going to battle it out for a measley $500, or less?! That’s a days worth of work and nearly all of the projects listed in that price-range would require a considerable amount of work.

So my question is this: does the normal office worker posting these jobs have any clue what it takes to design a product? The education required? The time?

It seems like a big slap in the face for the design community as it appears that there is no value associated with our efforts. Really sad.

It seems to me that 99% of the jobs listed are by people who have low expectations, and that all of those that are fulfilled are done so by people in India, Romania, etc. where the exchange rate is pretty high between US dollars, and their currency. That being said, it is a complete joke and waste of time.

Websites like this have been de-valuing design for a while, and product design is the latest to suffer following on from graphic design freelancing websites such as DesignCrowd and 99Designs. Bad times.

The best way to make these sites go away is to not participate. They would go no where if there weren’t designers delivering for those ridiculous prices. One day we may be forced to use them, but I for one will resist for as long as possible.

I respect the right of any designer in any country to have the opportunity of working for pay. I don’t see it working well for industrial design without a lot of modification of the system, but on graphic design sites such as 99designs, the clients generally end up with good, if generic, design. I myself participated in these sites heavily a few years ago, not winning a single prize but improving my graphic design skills greatly. I entered in a contest recently, and won, and may be getting some ‘real’ freelance work out of it.

It is a gamble of your time, but if you play your cards right and only enter contests which you are sure of winning for one reason or another, it can work.

Once you start denouncing a medium which facilitates the exchange of goods and services between consenting individuals, you are admitting that you are charging more than you feel is fair for your services. If you really can’t do better than a teenager in his bedroom, or a person in the third world with no knowledge of our society or markets, then you don’t deserve to be paid better than them.

If all you can do is lay out a well proportioned web site, or a slick logo, or a streamlined box for some electronics, you are a commodity. There are a great number of people who can do these things. You need to show the client that you can add a deeper strategic value to their identity, or their web site, or their product. The money that they spend on you needs to be an investment that will return to them tenfold.

If all you can do is pretty, you don’t deserve to be in business. Anyone can do pretty.

I agreed with everything you said except for that last part. I see a big difference between professional “pretty” and amateur “pretty”.

And thanks for the heads up on elance guys, I was just about to sign up for that mess until I remembered seeing a post on these forums about it.