After reading about the latest trends in web design commerce, I got a sickening feeling. I am referring to two fellow designers, engaged by a client to do some design/development work in return for a Nintendo Wii. First, let me preface all of this by letting it be known this is not a personal indictment of Jesse or Drew at all. On the contrary, I don't know either of them personally; I'm a huge fan of Jesse's work and what he's done for the community. When I first read the Happy Daddy blog entry on Jesse's blog, I thought nothing of it and was, in fact, amused by such an agreement. Perhaps it is no big deal if both parties agree and mutually benefit in a payment-for-services agreement like this, but after reading about the same thing on Drew's site, I don't know if this is a trend I'd like to see continue. Bartering has been a common trade practice for centuries, but is it in the best interest for designers/developers in general?
I'll play the alarmist devil's advocate here and question how many designers would welcome a bartering arrangement from their clients? I mean, a Nintendo Wii is a pretty cool form of compensation, but where do you draw the line? Services rendered in exchange for the latest software? Or perhaps an iTunes gift card? I guess the reason this bothers me is that it could further undermine an external perception that the field of web design/development is little more than a hobby for most. I would hate for clients to think they could hold up a shiny object in front of an aspiring designer and get him/her to jump. Our industry already has enough perception hurdles to overcome in the effort to express our craft as a legit business model. I wonder how many other businesses would be open to this idea. Maybe the next time we need family pictures, I'll offer The Picture People a new logo. I doubt that would fly.
Cash pays the bills. Cash grows in a savings account. Cash is the lifeblood of a business. I'd hate to see freelancers jeopardize that.
Feel free to call me out if I'm being overly sensitive, but I just found this a bit disturbing.
What are your thoughts?