Contest model for contract work may benefit SMBs, but disadvantage freelancers

Australian job sourcing web site is adding a new feature to its web site – contests – that utilizes crowdsourcing to help small and medium-sized businesses complete small projects. The site claims it will revolutionize contracting, but only if professionals feel they’re getting a good deal.’s contest feature was formerly limited to just design work. It has now been expanded to other categories, such as web sites, software, architecture and engineering. As an example of how the feature has been used, Sydney businessmen Justin Lang posted a contest seeking logo designs, and received over 900 entries from graphic designers.

“Not only was the contest useful for getting a great logo but I was able to make contact and sort through hundreds of freelancers for projects that I will do in the future,” said Lang, in a statement. This is invaluable for an employer because I have had these freelancers already show me their skills in the contest.”

Cotnest prizes can start at $30 and most are under $500, and can be higher for larger-scale projects. CEO Matt Barrie said it’s the next evolution of crowdsourcing, bringing it to employment.

“While people have previously crowdsourced funding through sites like Kickstarter, and designs through sites like, nobody has tackled crowdsourcing across every online industry through one platform before,” said Barrie, in a statement. “Our world-first evolution of crowdsourcing is game-changing in scope and unprecedented in scale cementing as both the largest and most diverse crowdsourcing platform in the world.”

Of course, only the contest winner gets paid under the contest model. The designer (or other professional) is investing their time and expertise completing a project, with no guarantee of a return on that investment, and the SMB gets a free look at a host of different options, only having to pay for one.

It’s a good deal for the business, but a difficult way for a freelance professional to grow a business. If they’re new to the game and looking to build their portfolio, it may be worth doing a few times. It doesn’t seem like an attractive model for established professionals though, and could serve to drive down prices for other professionals.

YOUR TURN: What’s your take on this contest model to crowdsource professional work? Would you use it if you were an SMB? Or, if you’re a freelance professional, would you enter one of these contests? Let us know in the comments.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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