The economy is bad for everybody. I’m no exception. My salary is stagnant, 401k matching (it was already a small percentage) stopped completely, and my freelance work dropped off to almost nothing. And now I’m going to have to figure out how to pay off $60,000 in student loans starting in 2011.
Meanwhile I received an electric bill this month for $382. Maybe a 1,300+ sq. foot condo in the hottest place in LA wasn’t such a great idea….
So, I decided to start looking through the “gigs” section of craigslist once again. When I did this years ago I never actually found any work. Not once. All my freelance work over the years was from networking through people I already knew. The few people on craigslist that did write back turned out to be flakes (“oh, sorry, my cousin just got photoshop and he’s gonna do it for me for free…”).
However, getting a little extra money means more now than ever, so I went back to it.
One of the “gigs” I responded to yesterday went something like this: (paraphrasing because it has since been flagged and removed – you’ll see why in a minute)
I need someone to help me create a vector image out of a few photos.
I responded something like: “this is easy, and I’m near you, let me know if you’re still looking for help with this”
This morning I received this email back from her (I’m bolding the important parts so you don’t necessarily have to read the entire thing):
Thank you so much for responding so quickly to my craigslist ad posted on 9/22/09. There was an overwhelming response to my post which I am grateful for. However, it is near impossible for me to view everyone’s portfolio and be fair on my selection. Therefore, if you are receiving this email, please consider the following revised proposal and apply if you are still interested. This is now similar to a talent/skills contest, only one winner will get paid. Please be a professional. This project may not be for everyone. Thanks again for all your help.
Project Goal – Edit and convert the following files for all marketing and watermark applications such as print, email, or websites geared toward corporate America. Must be vectorized to preserve quality regardless of future manipulations such as cropping, enlarging, or addition text layers.
Total Project Budget – $50.00 US. No additional moneyfor getting the large file format. Each artist may have different type of iStock Photo account so I am not dealing with the issues. This is an all inclusive freelance project with total $50 to offer. Sorry, hourly rates are not acceptable as professionals with skills can complete the project in less an hour and not interested in paying for someone to learn the art at my expense.
Short Version… Need a vectorized high resolution file for marketing and a simple clean watermark version file for print or background. Must get the pictures first to work on the project, will only accept proof with these pictures only. Only one artist will receive payment. Will post the winning artist’s work and paid-in-full statement upon request. The specific picture files for this project is provided under the Project Picture Files heading.
Project Submission Deadline – 5 days, 9/30/2009. Payday is approx. Tuesday October 6, 2009 via Paypal for completed delivered work only. Payday can be Sooner or later depending on the project progress.
Ok, I need the following to be completed in order to receive payment for services rendered. Please submit your proof with the word proof across the finished picture to protect your work. Once I contact the winning artist, I will release payment when I receive the files without tags. No exceptions. No hidden digital tags allow either. I am a photographer who does not do editing but I can spot all the industry tricks.
1. The picture file must be vectorized so that if I decide to have a billboard ad done I do not need to do this again. In other words, the picture quality must be 100% regardless of how I manipulate the picture files.
2. Two (2) files total for each picture, total 4 files. I need JPEG files at the highest possible resolution vectorized and a simple smaller JPEG file for document watermarks. In other words the clean silhouettes of these pictures are important for watermarks but doesn’t need too much detail to conflict with information layouts.
3. I need the following picture files to be cleaned up, brightened, to “pop” because these pictures need to speak for themselves. A reference website is (removed by request). They use it quite nicely and I am very interested in the yellow bright light lines that runs through the bulb. I want my pictures to outshine this site and really make an impact with these 2 pictures. However, these pictures will also be used as watermarks for documents and marketing ads so it must be versatile. I will have multiple Go green blog so think green, hopeful, and sunny with endless possibilities.
Project Picture Files – MUST BE THE LARGE FORMAT ONLY. Quality is the point. Open to suggestions and options. I don’t want supply every interest party with these pictures because I want an exclusive version of these pictures. Therefore, I will require the winning artist to get these pictures first in order to complete the project. Yes, you do run a risk of not being the winning artist and loose the money for these picture files. Sorry but everyone’s situation is different, my budget is firm and only help if you are willing and can complete the project. Thank you!
Why didn’t I think of this strategy when I was dating? “Sorry, ladies, I’ve received too many winks on Match.com. As such I’m going to turn this into a contest. You all need to take me out (and pay completely for) to a nice expensive dinner and then after I’ve gone on all the dates I’ll pick one winner!”
(oh wait… I guess that’s what women do, isn’t it?)
Anyway, I don’t think I have to explain how big of an insult and a scam this is. Now, I’ve received this kinda thing before – but this was the first one to actually make it incredibly easy to find all her information (and her actual face, seen above)…
UPDATE: personally identifiable information above and below has been removed by request (see, I’m not 100% totally evil…)
Another posting has sprung up on craigslist about her here. (posts only last for a short time, so here is the text from the posting)
I know Craigslist in general and the Creative Gigs in particular have become a place for bottom feeders but this one takes the cake. I responded to a seemingly simple ad needing an illustrator. I recieved an email back saying it was now a “competition” and the winner would receive 50 bucks
… Oh but there’s so much more she wants you to buy an image from a stock site then illegally plagerize it in illustrator and basically resell it back to her for 50 buck, but only if you “win” of course
Now, this isn’t to say all online freelance sites are bad. In fact, only craigslist seems to be filled with scammers. I actually paid a guy from Elance.com to move my blog from the old Pmachine code to WordPress earlier this year and the process went smooth as silk. The guy’s name was Gene Coetzee. Obviously some of my best friends are freelance workers and deserve consideration for jobs. This Mina gives us all a bad name, that is why I’m making her info public as we need to expose and distance ourselves from the bad apples. I wonder if her photography clients pay her… what do you think?
She just sent out a group email to everyone that had tried to originally “get the job” after she received (rightfully so) a lot of negative feedback:
My sincere apologies for offending or mislead any of you. It was never my intention to insult, belittle, or rob any of your talents for $50. Thank you all who have considered to help me.
For the rest of you who decided to insult, belittle, and share your malpractice, I don’t appreciate it no matter how grossly I misunderstood about the exchange of service for payment or how to post a winning post on craigslist.
I am not seeking more nasty response from this email. If anyone who decides to send more hate mail, I have no problem filing police reports on anyone who does. You don’t have to read this, just hit delete! Thanks.
In a nutshell, I have seen what I am asking for help done in less than 15min. per picture. So $50 for someone who can do it for 30 minutes or an hour is not bad in my book. Plus, this was a wanted ad. When you write a nasty email to potential employer does that make you a better person? Value is determined by parties who participate. If you want to do the job, great! If not, no problem. Why spend extra time to write hate mails though? What does that say about you?
When I got all the responses and started to review portfolios, I realized that you all are great artist and professionals. Many of you have years of impressive experience and your work speaks for yourself. However, your responses also spoke for you. I was wrong for not contact each person individually and clearly state that if the work is not accepted, there will be no pay. This is a tough world we live in right now. Competition is harder than ever. I am not looking to pay the #1 artist in the world. Just someone who can complete the project goal that fit my needs and I am willing to pay for that. Many of you share your work freely on different forums, why would you criticize me for offering a paying gig???
I asked for PROOF to be across the sample work before I accept and agree for payment so there was never any loss to anyone who is unwilling to take a chance at getting paid. I tried to be fair, no one can use PROOF work for advertising but if the work is what I need, I am willing to pay the person who accomplished the goal.
This is a project, one-time exchange of work and money. At the end of the day, if the work is not accepted, there is no payment either because this project is specific. Once again, I am sorry that my format was wrong. I am sorry that I had to learn so many talented people have no manners. Thank you all for responding nicely or badly. I am sorry I will not be writing individual response emails but sincere thanks to all the ones who tried to help me see that my way was not perfect or acceptable to some people. Best wishes to all your endeavors and please don’t make employers feel bad for offering cash payment for work. No all position will suite everyone.
When I get married, how about I have you come and do the photography, but I’ll let you know up front that there is only a 1/1000 chance I’ll actually pay you? Gee, if you’re not interested I’m sure I can find lots of photographers willing to jump on this “one-time exchange of work and money.”
This morning I received an email from the photographer in question. She asked very politely if I would take her personal information off of my post. I think the damage has been done and the point has been made, so I took it off. However, all the info I found in just a few minutes using google, it is important to note that this is all information she made public at some point on various websites. In just a few minutes I was able to find:
another email address
a phone number
her college information
the city she lives in
pictures of her including a head shot close-up
Now, yes, most of this you can find on me right here on this website. The difference is – I’m aware I’m letting this information up into the cloud. I think a lot of young people don’t realize just how easy it is to track them down on the web…
You’ve been watching Dateline.
I’m Chris Hanson.