Spec Watch

Crowdspring - Raw numbers. Updated.

The company has now published a blog, Crowdspring by the numbers, which offers further insight into the statistics of their service and that we can use the figures to fine-tune our original Crowdspring calculations.

The amount of prize money awarded:

"Since May 2008, we’ve paid nearly $2 million dollars."

The number of "completed" contests on Crowdspring.

crowdSPRING launched in May 2008. Since that time, over 4,700 projects have been completed on crowdSPRING.

As this figure has been now defined as 'completed', we can assume that this tally does not include refunded projects. That means that the average payout at a Crowdspring contest is $425.00

"370,002 entries to date"

A total of 370,002 (as of the time this post is being written) entries have been submitted to projects on crowdSPRING.

That would include logos, website design page concepts, brochure layouts, stationery packages, etc. if every contest has been awarded, and the final design is considered as the one that wins that actually wins, there were approximately 365,302 designs submitted to Crowdspring for which no financial compensation was ever received.

If, on average, each submission took 1 hour (not unreasonable once we average complete time required from reading the contest brief, developing a concept, development and sourcing, creation and uploading to the Crowdspring server) that represents a total of approximately 365,302 hours.

That is the equivalent of over 41 years of unpaid designer time.

if we account for the various differences in artwork type (ie: a website page submission may take several hours or more) that number is substantially higher. If we average out the average hourly wage down to $10 per hour (an unrealistically low figure but simple for calculation) that represents approximately $3,653,020 of unpaid man hours.

That figure is somewhere in the region of 3 and 3/4 quarter million dollars.

If we were adjust to realistic hourly rates, that figure would increase significantly. Even if we assume that every winning designer had submitted an average of 4 preliminary designs before selection, that still that represents 351,202 unpaid concepts and designs submitted to the Crowdspring server and 351,202 design entries for which no financial compensation was ever received. That equates to 351,202 unpaid man hours. At average 1 hour per design at $10 per hour, that still represents over three and a half million dollars worth of unpaid designer time.

When performing our original calculations, the average number of submissions per contest worked out to approximately 77 per 'project', roughly ten less than 99designs' 87 per contest. According to Crowdspring, that number is actually 79.

At the moment, we average 79 entries across all project categories. Some categories (such as packaging and product design average more), while others (such as illustrations) average a bit less.

"32,000 creatives"

"Nearly 32,000 creatives work on crowdSPRING. We know this because when a someone registers on our site, we ask them whether they anticipate being a buyer or creative."

We have no information on how many 'active' designers are actually entering Crowdspring "projects". However, it's highly unlikely there are 32,000 active designers and that figure seems to represent the number of user accounts that have been opened since Crowdspring's launch last year.

At that time, company management predicted a 90% annual turnover rate.

"The company expects a 90% annual turnover rate among contractors."

However, if we take their figures as fact, and If unique designers had won "completed" contests, that would mean that 27,300 designers have submitted work to Crowdspring without financial compensation of any kind. We know that some designers win multiple contests, while others never win any, so it is difficult to extract any real data.

We can, however, play with what we have.

Let's say, for sake of argument, that all winning designers have won an average of three 'projects' each. That works out to a total of 1,566 winning designers.

That would mean that 30,434 designers have spent a collective 38 years worth of design time, submitting 351,202 designs and contributing labor that is very conservatively estimated as being worth over three and a half million dollars.

Without ever receiving a penny for those efforts.

Crowdspring compares these statistics to the global crowdsourcing of the Linux operating system.

"The community on crowdSPRING isn’t unlike many other communities where large groups of people, for one reason or another, elect to participate - sometimes without receiving a dime in pay.

For example, it is estimated that it would cost $10.8 billion dollars to develop the Linux distribution Fedora 9 using traditional means. Over 1,000 developers from over 100 different companies contribute to every release of the Linux operating system. Fedora 9 is estimated to have required about 60,000 person-years of development time. That’s an incredible amount of free time contributed by thousands of people."

Fedora is a free operating system that is available for anyone to use, modify and distribute.

"Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built by people across the globe who work together as a community: the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is open and anyone is welcome to join. The Fedora Project is out front for you, leading the advancement of free, open software and content."

Fedora was never built for one company as a "work for hire" commercial project, nor did any crowdsourcing company charge Linux a percentage to host a Fedora contest on their website. Crowdspring charges "buyers" a 15% fee based on the "award" posted for their "project".

Crowdspring suggests that designers working on their platform, the vast majority doing so without any payment, is a "free will" issue and something that is "at the heart of a free market economy".

"16. Do you think creatives have the right to decide how they work?

Answer: Yes. We fundamentally support the notion that a person should have the right to decide for themselves how they want to work and what risk they’re prepared to take. This simple concept is at the heart of a free market economy.

Their opinion on anyone that opposes their view of "a free market economy"?

"Efforts that seek to undermine this universal freedom of choice are doomed to fail."

Evolve or Die

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