Hard working Americans during a recession who are trying to better their lives and take control of their own financial situation should be protected. Scams like crowdSPRING use that desire and excitement of owning their own business by manipulating these entrepreneurs into providing more of their hard-earned cash into upgrades/optionals that give a false hope it will attract a better turnout, and then raping them of most of their investment if they chose to do a refund that is heavily suggested if theyre not happy with the product. Americans went through something very similar in the 1980s-1990s with the operation of scam timeshare companies. The same exact bait-and-switch principals are being used by crowdSPRING in an internet setting. This is false advertising at its ugliest, morally/ethically corrupt, and crowdSPRING and their affiliates should be ashamed of taking advantage of entrepreneurs who already face considerable risk in a time of economic struggle.
I read an article in INC. magazine that describes crowdSpring's services as a cost effective way of hiring graphic designers to create a logo and stationary for a person wanting to start a new business or have a fresh look to an existing business. I'm starting a new business, while working full-time as an employee for another company, so I thought this would be a great idea for someone like me who has limited capital/income.
When a person visits the webpage www.crowdspring.com, what they see is a lot of fun, bold, and exciting colors, visual exaggerations and excessive pride with how many of their worldwide "creatives" (aka graphic designer, illustrators, etc.) work on their customer's projects for as low as $200.00. Along with the opening webpage of their exaggerated resume, crowdSPRING is covered with major mainstream company logos such as Starbucks, amazon.com, LG, FORBES, The Wall Street Journal and other trusted all-American companies to giving a sense of trust, integrity, and ease. Along with their cleaver visuals and emphasized performance numbers, "All projects have a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee" is a regularly fixed passage on just about every webpage throughout the site.
After a consumer completes the registration process, they are guided through a questionnaire that will let all the dozens-to-thousands of anxiously waiting creatives that will be working on the new project know what this roused and ambitious business owner is looking to achieve from this project (logo design, stationary, new business name, website, etc.).
Once crowdSPRING has this information, they highly suggest that an upgrade to keeping the project restricted to exclusiveness to only the consumers eye (a simple privacy setting) and another upgrade to send your project to crowdSPRINGs professional-level creatives to work on your invite.
When pricing the award of your project, crowdSPRING has a rating meter/scale of award money offered to the creative, to let the consumer know if it will attract creative. In a nutshell, the more money the more creatives will work on the project. crowdSPRING advertises their logo design awards start at $200, but then they are quick to let you know that your less likely to get responses for that amount of money offered.
Now the project is posted, and the consumer sits and waits to see all dozens-to-thousands of creatives submit their pieces of work to you for review. This is where it gets interesting. Imagine that after all the work and thought process you went into filling out the detailed questionnaire to inform the creatives exactly what you want to see in project, instead you receive entries that disregard requirements set by you.
Keep in mind, that every creative entry received counts towards the need at least 100 entries or you can request a refund. So, responding back to the creatives to make changes to their designs, crowdSPRING counts each and every entry as though it was a new entry. A project entry that requires lots of work end up counting from 1-6 entries just from one creative. For example: I had 74 entries, but out of those 74 entries I had less than a dozen creatives work on my project.
After getting a lot of mediocre designs from creatives, nothing that I love it as crowdSPRING likes to rate it as, I decided to do the refund. I emailed/corresponded with "Bianca" from customer service four times reiterating that I wanted the full refund of $832 and was assured that I would get the full refund, but I needed to chose a "creative" that I thought had the best design, so that crowdSPRING can award this winner "out of their own pocket costing me nothing". I inform "Bianca" who I thought had the best design and she responded that the refund will be processed right away.
After all of this, I received and email by Kevin stating that I will only get the amount of my award ($500) and the 15% commission, minus the non-refundable listing fee ($129) and any optional features (total of $148, which are the Gallery Privacy and Advanced Promotion (that was highly recommended I chose).
What this is showing is out of the $832.00 paid, I will only get $555. That is over 33% of my money submitted to crowdSPRING for close to zero work done on their part. This is a scam.
crowdSPRING doesnt take any effort to show the buyer the amount of effort they put forth with their optional features, if creatives are following project instructions set by the buyer, and in the long run hope that buyers will refund (refund = no work, easy $).
I wouldn't be surprised if all these "cash awards" that are collected are sitting in limbo accruing interest in a bank account somewhere like timeshares did.