Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

artist/illustrator/designer/webmaster/copywriter/videographer/optimizer/promoter/ad-man

Why Rip-off an Artist?

I am so tired of the current state of society.  Humans no longer matter and we take a corporate attitude of greed and protect-your-own-ass because no one else will.

Actually, there are real people who will stand-up and fight together and stick-up for each other.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that it should have never gotten this bad.

I see this all the time.  I designed a website that not only exceeded the needs and specs of the client, but it does so well beyond any parameters, including my own.  As I am just a freelance artist, it’ll never win any awards (I can’t afford to enter the webbies, etc… I am not surviving on what I get paid now) and only the client’s customers will ever really see it.

Ever hear the phrase “Charge a Corporation Twice or more what you would anyone else for the same work.”?  It is so very true.  Although lulled into thinking I could work with these people, they broke the original contract.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a contract in writing.  So *I* kept every promise and delivered an extremely search engine optimized, user friendly, interactive website  based on the MODx content management system/framework.  This is the most extreme I had ever gone with CSS, Sprites, Fly-out menus, minimal graphics, reduced graphic sizes, etc…

But in the long run I screwed myself because I didn’t have a written contract.  And it would have protected me, because these people were absolute abusers.

Now, let me tell you that I did bid low to get this job because I thought I would enjoy it, but I had no idea that anyone could be so rude, condescending, back-stabbing or ruthless.  Instead of treating me like a business partner with a humongous stake in  their online success, I was belittled and chastised as if a lowly underling employee.  I had never been treated with such disdain by a client, before.  The terms of the original contract agreement was breached on several occasions and the deceit I experienced was unconscionable.  It’s a surprise that I was able to complete the project at all.  And I had no recourse because the agreement was verbal and I trusted them.

But the project was finished, despite themselves.  Not only was it finished, it was done right (despite themselves): the way I wanted it done (which was well beyond what they had asked for).

But now I know why to charge 2 or 3 or more times the price for a corporate gig.  Either you are working for a committee, or you are working as a mere employee with absolutely no rights or benefits (like a slave).

The extra money covers the extra hassle of writing the contract, and in dealing with a committee or being treated like a peon.  And the contract protects you from getting the shaft, spiteful delays for meetings, etc…  Now I know.

I told them I would not work for a committee, that I would work with just 1 person in delivering them a site beyond what they expected. I did.  But not without giving in to allowing a second person in to the mix who berated me and crucified me to “corporate”, her bosses.

These employees have “corporate” on the brain because they are so scared of losing their jobs.  The girl they added to the communication chain was apparently the company bulldog.  And she thought she was right, no matter what the facts are.  In the end she twisted everything into lies, was dismissive and disruptive just to “show me” a thing or two, and delayed the whole design & development process, incredibly.

Today I was on the phone with her to reach the other party, the guy I actually get along with, in order to make the site live.  He’s gone for the day.  As I am talking to her, she grunts her displeasure with me and dismisses me by hanging up the phone without so much as a “Goodbye.”

Previously, I had always worked with the business owner and entrepreneurs such as myself where we were smart enough to understand and communicate with each other.  If only the masses could communicate, they could educate themselves.

Then, I run into this article on “Smart Planet” how artist’s should watch their own asses because it really is OK to steal someone else’s artwork!:  How a thief defends theft: http://www.smartplanet.com/technology/blog/thinking-tech/how-to-protect-your-copyrighted-images-on-the-web/3684/

I am so angry this guy works there, at “Smart Planet”.  He’s telling us to watermark our artwork if we dare to put it online?  And all we are doing is trying to give our best work.  He says we could disable the right-mouse on a web page?  That makes our visitors angry because that right mouse button does a whole helluva lot more than save images, it is a vital tool for any web user.  He says to make a robots.txt file to steer the search engine bots away from our images… I did that once.  Not only did my images no longer show-up in Google Images, but my graphic design rank plummeted, and some search engines (such as the wayback machine) showed my web pages with all the images blocked out with a gray window over them.  Heck, I said stay away from crawling there, not to not show them on my pages!

There were plenty of lame excuses he gave, but they were all just excuses.  But it was interesting to see the criminal mind at work, how he could so effortlessly come up with any excuse and act as if it was actually a convincing argument.  Hey, fella, the reason Murdock gets away with it is because he owns Fox, not because it’s right, true or factual.

Listen, you self-centered “dogs” out there who don’t give a crap about anyone but yourself, it isn’t me or another artist that is “going to get you and bring you down”, it’s your own criminal activity and stupidity!

We artists are trying to give you are very damn best as a matter of pride in ourselves and our work.  And you treat us like we aren’t worth the same as you, that we are under you, your class, your level of achievement?  You rip us off for no good reason and excuse it as if we could do anything about it?

Where has morality gone?  What has happened to our ethics, and why do we dismiss them in order to make a point on TV or in a blog?  We used to be civil to each other.  Corporate America is NOT a good thing.  It seems to embrace ignorance.  But no one is fooled by Sarah Palin.  Being dumb is just plain dumb, no matter the excuse.

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April 9, 2010 - Posted by | Brands, Government/Politics, Graphic Design, Internet, Media, Social Communities, The Human Condition, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Yep, you found out the hard way. Absolutely, you MUST have a contract. It protects both parties, and in fact shouldn’t be one-sided or lopsided. And don’t just have a contract for a corporate entity. Have a contract for every project you do. Anyone not willing to sign a contract is not an honorable person; therefore, you don’t want to do business with them.

    And have a lawyer look over your contract. Don’t wait until you are in the throes of litigation to discover your contract has no teeth. I am fortunate enough to have fine legal minds at my disposal; but good legal advice isn’t beyond the realm of a business professional; it’s just another business expense, like updating Photoshop or buying a new monitor. 🙂

    I have found, also the hard way, that the less you charge a client, the more he/she will abuse you. Why? Perception. If you don’t value yourself as a professional, you cannot expect others to. The only way we have to show the world that we are good at what we do is to charge accordingly. This keeps away cheapskates and tirekickers. In this business, time is money and I cannot afford to have mine wasted. Since we raised our prices last year, we’ve gotten a much better class of clients. 🙂

    Nice blog, Doug. (Birdwalked in here from Twitter.) 🙂

    Comment by Joni Mueller | April 22, 2010 | Reply


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