Some recent sightings of the spec work specter.
Spotted on Monster.com: A post for a salary-plus-commission corporate Web Marketing Director. Pay tied to results.
And, for good measure, the application process involves drafting and submitting an online marketing strategy for the company. I kid you not, read for yourself:
"Web marketing specialist. We are looking for an experienced individual to drive business to our retail website. This a salary position, but terms of employment are performance based. Duties include: Search engine optimization, website editing, monitoring competition, creating measurable promotions. Ideal applicants will have experience with .html, .php., .asp, etc.
Qualified applicants will be asked to submit a brief analysis of our site, our competition, and outline some basic ideas on how to increase traffic and business on the web."
And recently some idiot was trying to fire up the Mechanical Turk to do logo design for him on craigslist. Good luck with that.
And yes, I agree with Andrew Hyde that spec work is evil. And unsustainable. As in, nice try, Crowdspring guys, to aggregate and then sell access to suckers, but.... no.
Why do companies think this will work? Why would anyone labor 40/hrs per week at your headquarters doing marketing work for subsistence plus tips? Why is anyone going to sit down and do design work as part of a contest in which, if they win... woo-hoo!... they get paid?
Especially when they can do digital marketing and design work on behalf of their own online enterprise. That way, they get 100% commission on the resulting sales. The barriers to entry to enterprise are now negligible to nonexistent. Working for themselves for a deferred payout makes a lot more sense than working for you.
Companies, get real. Paying people little to nothing and/or dangling small carrots is not going to motivate them to labor on your behalf.