Google May As Well Have Run An Ad On Craigslist

Illustration by Gary Taxali — A response to Google’s request for free work.

I despise “contests” put on by companies looking for free work. I also hate when said contests are voted on by the general public i.e. the very same people who submitted to the contest. It’s basically spec work under the pretense of opportunity — and there are few things worse than spec work.

Free work with the promise of “exposure”, however, is even more loathsome than spec work. Granted, exposure is always good but when a company has a set business model and your work, though not entirely tied to the business model, may in some way benefit that company’s bottom line, it is only fair that they offer more than “exposure” for something they obviously see as valuable.

A round of applause to the NY Times for publishing this article about illustrators who declined Google’s request to feature their work on its new web browser without any compensation. Like the article says, when you’re a company as large and profitable as Google, there’s no reason to invite artists without offering to pay them. It’s not as if they’re a floundering non-profit, with limited resources, and a philanthropic agenda. Cheers to Melinda Beck and Gary Taxali for speaking out against it on record.

There will always be takers, Google. Some of us are not in a position to decline the exposure. Still, that doesn’t make it okay. For a company as “progressive” as Google, you’d expect a little more r-e-s-p-e-c-t for the artist.

Use Their Work Free? Artists Say No To Google

also, here’s a link to Drawn’s repost of Gary Taxali’s Drawger post referenced in the article
Don’t Call Me

4 Responses to Google May As Well Have Run An Ad On Craigslist

  1. optimiseit says:

    That is one thing I never enter, these so called contests that many companies offer. Anyway does anyone ever win these things or are they just made up to attract more people?

  2. tishon says:

    Back in college, I won one such contest but the outcome left a stale taste in my mouth so I try to stay clear of those things now. For me, it comes down to what the company is about. If it’s a contest for social change or something like that, then I see nothing wrong with that, but when it’s nothing more than something that will generate revenue, I try to stay away.

  3. Nina says:

    sometimes you realise the smaller companies with less resources have a genuine appreciation for artists’ work. I’ve done freelance for small non-profits who were only too happy to pay the regular rate and insisted I add even phone calls and time spent explaining things over email etc. Whereas some big corporation would conveniently forget to get back to me regarding invoices unless I hound them.

    I’m really disappointed in google.

  4. peytonmcgee says:


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