The power of the Internet is evident with a Bethesda, Maryland company that leverages “crowdsourcing” for creative talent. GeniusRocket, whom the Marketing Consigliere has mentioned in passing before, offers graphic design, video, and copywriting services to clients at extremely affordable prices.
In less than two years, GeniusRocket has built a pool over 10,000 freelancers from around the world to compete for projects. They help you define the requirements around your creative need, promote it within the pool, and then you get to choose the work that you think best meets those requirements.
The fact that GeniusRocket has grown this pool is quite impressive; of course, it is completely voluntary – freelancers can join or walk away. Nevertheless, there is always dissent when you’re talking about a crowd this big.
An artist identified as “Steresa2001” passionately argued, “Hey everyone. Don’t you think you are selling your self out? You are all offering your skills for free in the hopes of being selected the winning designer. If you are lucky enough to be selected, then you get paid. But what about all those hours of putting into the design and what if you don’t even get selected as the winner? Do you work for free? I think this web site is destroying the freelance business.”
He mistakenly posted his opinion in a client communication board, and Peter LaMotte who is GeniusRocket’s Director of Marketing and Client Services and an acquaintance of the Marketing Consigliere, properly removed the post and reposted it in the GeniusRocket blog with a respectful response. Kudos to Peter for this transparent and principled action that took into consideration both the client and the freelancer.
Of course, the Marketing Consigliere wants to put in his two lire. Steve Gore, who a quick Google search reveals as the probable identity behind Steresa2001, is a young and talented graphic artist. But he needn’t worry that GeniusRocket is “destroying the freelance business.” If anything, GeniusRocket is helping freelancers.
In most professions involving creation of intellectual property, “freelance” and its derivative terms are often reserved for workers who create works on their own initiative, then look for someone to publish them. In this case, there are customers asking for help, not freelancers first producing creative and then searching for a buyer. Freelancers typically keep the copyright to their works and sell the rights to publishers in time-limited contracts.
In contrast, people who are hired to create a work defined by a customers’ specifications are referred to as “independent contractors” and similar terms. They have no copyright to the works, which are written as works made for hire, a category of intellectual property defined in US copyright law — Section 101, Copyright Act of 1976 (USC 17 §101). With GeniusRocket, the creative person fills out a rights transfer agreement that will give the customer the exclusive right to a creative piece.
Yes, rights are waived by freelancers. But freelancers remain free to freelance, and GeniusRocket, through its initiative, is actually creating a higher probability of work engagement (and hence revenue) for the freelancer (if they’re good – this is not to be confused with user generated content) than that freelancer can create on his or her own.
It is agencies that need to worry more, because the creative coming from GeniusRocket can get in the hands of clients “better, cheaper, faster.” Advertising creative costs are a fraction of what an agency charges. The Marketing Consigliere believes that this crowdsourcing model is here to stay and will continue to grow.
Think of GeniusRocket as the very front end of your digital asset management process and take a ride on them, – leaving your costs down to Earth.