Monday, 5 May 2014

All Work and No Pay!

by Yobeth Puckett
How did the industry standard in the scrapbook world become getting people to do your work and not paying them?  It's not isolated either, I've seen it in many different areas.

My first experience working in the digital scrapping world was on CTs (creative teams).  This is basically a barter system.  When you work on a CT your purpose, at the very least, is to promote said designer's new release.  You get the kit before it's released, create a predetermined number of layouts within a few days then use them to promote the kit when it's released.  Then you're usually asked to post your layouts in 2-3 galleries. That's not a bad deal for the designer or the CT member.  But some designers require a lot more. Depending on the designer, you may also be asked to participate in forums, praise teams, on Facebook pages, on your own blog, host challenges, and even make products for the designer to give away free in stores, trains and hops.  Wow, now it's looking a little more like slave labor!

I've also "partnered" with some designers to make products they can sell in their stores. I've had good and bad experiences doing this.  The theory is when something you design with the kit sells you're paid a commission. This is a win/win unless you aren't paid the promised commission. This can amount to a sizable amount and is nothing short of theft!

Then you have affiliate programs where you partner with the software companies.  Typically you may provide product reviews, tutorials, giveaways and other promotions for the company on your blog and a link to their product's page.  If a customer follows this link and purchases the software, you receive a commission for advertising, promoting and selling their product. But not all companies are paying commissions as agreed.  They don't have good tracking and reporting systems in place which makes it easy for them. But when two or three people you know say they bought the software using your code but you're never paid, it's not good and reveals their actions.  Actually, it's theft!  And it's happened more than once.

It's ridiculous!  It's not good to base compensation on the honor system when there is no honor among thieves.

A Jewish friend once told me that when someone says "Trust me!" it's yiddish for screw you.  Sad but, in a lot of cases, true.  Like, you promote my software & get us sales & we'll compensate you, trust me! Or, use my product to design stuff I can sell & I'll compensate you, trust me!

I can't think of any other industry that could get away with not paying someone for their labor!  As a matter of fact, it's illegal and is the reason we have minimum wage and other laws in place to protect workers.

I'm currently working with a lady that produces training videos that is actually paying me to write the accompanying handbooks.  Plus, I get the training video which I would have to purchase otherwise.  AND, she pays me the same day I send her the handbook!

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