The creative world has been seeing a seismic shift over the last few years as the economy has gone global and an increasing number of jobs are being outsourced. Some websites promise you a logo for $9.99 or a written article for $5.00. Many of these jobs are performed by people in faraway lands or creative folks who are just getting started. While these prices are certainly tempting, what kind of quality can you expect? Well, I wanted to find out.
I headed over to one of the largest sites out there, Fiverr, to see just what one could get for the promised five bucks. After looking around a bit, I opted to pay a little more to get a more experienced individual, and hired a writer for a 1,200 word article at a cost of $60.00 — peanuts compared to what you would typically pay a seasoned writer.
I selected a generic topic so no technical expertise or deep research would be required — a softball topic: Spider-Man. The writer was asked to write a brief overview of the Spider-Man character and his impact on pop culture. The selected writer had over a thousand positive reviews — meaning he has delivered at least that many products through Fiverr. After reading all his reviews, it seemed that I had hired the next John Steinbeck, and started questioning why it had taken me so long to give in to this fantastic new way of doing business. Had I truly found a great resource for high-quality, inexpensive creative services?
After just twelve hours, a 1,200 word article about Spiderman arrived in my inbox, and it was… bad. Really bad. The article was very possibly written by an automated computer translating program. Words had obviously been swapped with complex, non-intuitive alternatives — someone clearly dove deep into their thesaurus. The grammar was atrocious, and I would estimate that a quarter of the sentences weren’t even complete sentences.
The writer offered one free round of rewrites as part of the initial cost, but I consider my experiment was done.
The promise of cheap labor is always tempting, and I can see why people think that a ten dollar logo is better than one that would cost them thousands of dollars, but at what cost? You value your company, and you should value the people who help you build and market your business. Writing and design is not a “one and done” kind of deal. The most effective marketing efforts are those built over time with people who truly understand your business and where you want to take it.
Clearly, my little sampling was just a single experience, but it was enough for me to realize that the low hanging fruit is hanging low for a reason..