Open Letter to CL (Craigslist) Administration

This letter was forwarded to NO!SPEC.
(Please note: Discussions are open, but inflammatory comments will be deleted)

Open Letter to CL Administration
Reply to:
Date: 2007-09-03, 8:34AM

To all creative professionals; please read this, and if you agree, please forward it in an email to Craigslist administration by sending them a note at this address;

Dear Craigslist,

I would like to take this time to bring a problem to your attention that you may not be aware of. It is a problem that is seriously affecting myself, my peers, and our clients… and it needs immediate attention!!!

The problem, in a nutshell, is freeloading.

You see, here on the creative gig boards (and, I’m sure, on many other gig boards, as well.) you will find a plethora of talented, hard-working, highly skilled professionals from many different fields. Designers, Illustrators, Photographers and more. These are not people who are hard-up, or starving. Some of us just seek the occasional extra bit of income to supplement our salaries. Some of us use CL as a primary source of that income. Either way, using CL does not, by any measure, define us as some sort of discount day-labor or bargain-basement boobs who will do anything for a dollar.

We are PROFESSIONALS, first and foremost, and expect to be treated as such.

This is generally not a problem, when dealing with serious, professional clients; True businesspeople who understand the value of hiring someone with specialized skills. They understand that their time is valuable, and so, then, should ours be.

Unfortunately, these clients are being driven out of Craigslist by an avalanche of “freeloaders”.

Every day, the CL gig boards across the nation are being inundated with posts seeking skilled, professional services for “free” or “cheap”. Some offer the “opportunity” to “build your portfolio”. Others offer payment “Once my project is sold” to a publisher, etc. Some are even bold enough to equate compensation with the chance for your work “to be seen” on their website/business card/letterhead/etc.

In short, they are looking for free work.

Now, I am not begrudging anyone’s right to ask for free work. But I am making you aware that, because of the hordes of these posts appearing on CL daily, it is becoming increasingly difficult and frustrating for myself and my peers to find serious gigs.

It is also forcing us to scrutinize what serious gigs we do find, to the point where, I am sure, many serious professionals are no longer willing to post on the CL gig board, for fear of being lumped in with these freeloaders. In short, it is hurting everyone but the freeloaders.

Now, I am not here just to bitch and moan. This is a problem we CAN solve, and I think I have an idea of how to do so… an idea, I pray, you will see merit in.

I ask you to create a separate, “FREE” gig board for these people. This way, they can post to their heart’s content, and be sure to reach their target audience, as only those looking to work for nothing will read this board.

Additionally, to further discourage them posting on the real gig boards, change the “pay” entry field to accept only numeric entries. (And restrict the entries from starting with a zero.) You could possibly also enter a “negotiable” choice, as well for those who do not want to offer a solid dollar amount.) Then, change the gig rules to plainly state that this board is for PAYING gigs ONLY.

This way, when we flag the non-paying ones, there will be no question whether or not we are in the right in doing so.

This is a fairly straightforward and simple solution to a plaguing problem. I urge you to take this action immediately. Myself, and my peers, would be eternally grateful!

* Location: All creative professionals, PLEASE READ!
* it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: FREE the FREE GIGS!!!

Original URL:

Dear Craigslist

Another interesting anon posting from craigslist

There are serious people looking for serious work here. For the most part, you can get very talented, highly skilled developers that can do just about anything, provided you are willing to pay for it or your compensation is reasonable. Furthermore, you will have a much higher success rate if you specify what the job entails as opposed to simply having no idea or worse, waiting until someone responds and then to lay the wammy on them.

These are gigs. A gig is a one time deal or something of short duration. It is not a job. People looking for “gigs” aren’t looking for a job, usually they have one and want to supplement their income or they like the freelance lifestyle afforded by completing “gigs”. Hopefully this will help you find the best person out there and someone who can also complete the gig within your timeframe.

Be specific as to what you need and then what you want. Many times the two are not the same. Experience with XYZ doesn’t tell anyone much. What do you want done with XYZ skills? Specifically.

Be reasonable about the compensation and your expectations for less than reasonable rates. Reasonable is usually a premium over what someone with a “job” gets. Since this is most often a short term or one time deal, expect to pay for someone to deal with that situation. If you want free help, say so right from the beginning and maybe you’ll find that person right away. If you are trying to barter or otherwise exchange service or goods for the work you need done, trying to trade your stuff at retail and get our stuff at wholesale isn’t going to work. We are IT, technology developers and experts, not stupid. For example, if you are hiring a database developer for something and it will take 20 hours, figure on $2500 worth of your goods or services, not inflated to take some advantage.

If you are a non-profit, please, everyone knows that a non-profit doesn’t mean no money. You are getting paid and so is most everyone else working there. You just can’t show profits carried over from year to year or pay dividends and so on. Don’t forget, the people you are asking to do the work need profit to eat and pay bills. We are not part of your non-profit business model, like you, we expect to get paid for our work.

In those situations where time is critical as in you need something done ASAP, qualify ASAP. It’s the “as possible” part of ASAP. That could be anything. It is tomorrow, next week, this month, next 6 weeks? That shouldn’t be difficult to state in the ad.

Help us help you. We want to solve your problems, complete your project and help your success. The more information you give us up front in the ad, the easier it is for the best candidate to contact you. You do want the best person and the best perfomance right? No one likes screening responses and talking to endless lines of people. By writing a great ad, you’ll cut down on the number of people you need to screen.

Here is the biggie: If you have all kinds of experience requirements, extensive workloads and short timeframes, you should expect to pay for it. Just because this is CL doesn’t mean bargain basement for out of work, hard up IT professionals.

Time is money and usually the people you can get on CL can do it right, fast and with class. We know what working on tight deadlines means and can usually accomodate you. Just please remember what you want when someone tells you to drop everything and do something right now. If you just take into consideration some of these things, you’ll get higher quality responses, better work/services performed and a better outcome that makes you shine.

Most of us are not looking to join your business or get a percentage of future revenue. It’s your idea and your baby. We can bring it along but we’re generally not into being your partner, free tech support or investor. There are people like that but that is in a different category.

Original URL:

As before, we have made an attempt at contacting the author of this post. We were successful the last time, and are hoping for the same. If you are the author, please, please let us know.