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Bartering - Does It Lead To Failure


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#1 FromScratch

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:05 AM

I'd like to share my story about my bartering experience.

Talk about a bad experience!

We bartered with a marketing company that said they would provide us with "marketing" services in exchange for their website to be redone.

What a mistake!

During the process of building the website, we would try to consult with them and offer suggestions and they would take it as if we just didn't want to do what they wanted. We received several emails stating "comments not well received".

Is it just me but as a consultant isn't it our job to offer suggestions that will help the success of a website? It seems that being a "web designer" these days is just, do as I say web monkey! :nah:

Anyway, we finished the job and they loved everything. They went over the barter deal so they owed us about $1,500 (primarily because we redesigned the site 3 times). They took about three months to pay that off!

When it was our turn, the only marketing services they provided we're print outs. "Leave behinds" to be exact. Granted the ideas were pretty good but we stated to them that we don't go on enough meetings where having 500 leave behinds would be worth it to us, so we passed.

Eventually we needed some print done so we used that as our deal. They charged us $300 for 500 envelopes with printed address, $350 for the 500 thank you cards to be printed, and $125 for stickers. A total of $775, granted it was a barter so we let that slide. They still owed us about $1,750.

The next round we wanted business cards. My partner provided them with a .psd file of the business card, very simple, logo and text. They already had a vector of our logo. They said they need it in .ai format. Fine. They would take care of it.

Next thing I know $190 to "design" the business cards and $300 to print them!

We told them, "That seems a bit much, we gave you the design, to transfer you just had to retype the text". All of a sudden it's "how dare you..." and "we worked together in good faith and you are not providing the same..."


In the end I responded to them "Let's forget the barter deal and please pay the balance". I even reduced the balance to a flat $1k.

Anyone have an opinion on this? Think it was handled correctly, anything else you think could've been done? Any related experiences?

#2 jonbey

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:27 AM

Sounds like the problem is a lack of contracts rather than the principal itself. But I agree, sounds like the other party did not really provide a fair swap. I would have thought marketing would involve some work in reaching out to new clients, not just printing some leaflets.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:33 AM

It sounds to me like they are rude, lazy and cheap.

I would cross them off of my list.

#4 DCrx

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:53 AM

If they are typical marketoids, it's not a surprise. They value what they do highly, and what you bring to the table not-at-all.

What I really think is this is an ideal idea for a web platform which irons out just these problems through a thoughtful UI and fairly savvy application of social and cognitive science.

In other words, in a world where "social networking" sites are really social networking tools, this shouldn't happen nearly as much as it does.

Otherwise barter should only be undertaken with well known clients who are "on your wavelength." None of this -- spec work, pay for performance, royalty deals, none -- should be done between strangers as a first project.

You'll only get something-for-nothing bottom feeders that way.

They are certainly too advanced for the web to handle, whose apex of "social toolset applications" is Farmville. Perhaps in a century or two, when we have a technological civilization unimpressed with the LightBright (toy) computers have become, things may change.

Edited by DCrx, 07 April 2011 - 11:06 AM.




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