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99Designs Alternatives – How Many Are There?

99Designs has been around for a while now, since 2008. Although it is not the most prominent platform on the market, it certainly has its followers. According to Similarweb, they have an average of 4.8 million visits a month, which is higher than many others. However, this article is going to focus on the alternatives that you can use.

If you already use 99Designs, you may wonder why you would want an alternative. Different platforms have different people on them and different fees. We will look into why you might want to scan the internet for other options next.

Why Would You Want Alternatives to 99Designs?

There are two groups of people that use freelancer websites (not to put people into brackets here). They are the buyers and sellers. Each of them will have different reasons why they would use 99Designs. Conversely, there are also different logics behind looking elsewhere.

Why Would A Seller Look at 99Designs Alternatives?

High Fees

The main reason a seller or designer would want to move away from 99Designs is the fees. If you are a newcomer to the platform, you have to pay a 15% fee for their platform. While that fee does reduce as you move through their ranking systems, 15% is still relatively high. Furthermore, if you want to get paid through PayPal or other payment processors, you will incur further fees.

That can mean you are left with only 75% of your charge rate. While it may seem simple enough to increase your price for design to incorporate that fee, there is a problem. Other sellers will not do that, leaving you competing with designers who charge significantly less.

Speculative Work

Anyone who has been a designer in the past will have just shivered at the thought of spec work. For those who do not know what it is, you basically work for free, hoping to get paid.

Let’s run through a little scenario. You are a seasoned designer, years of experience under your belt, and you are good at what you do. A job appears that you would like to take on, and you know that you can create something extraordinary. However, you have to compete for the job. So, you sit down, paper and pen, draft out an idea, then create it digitally.

At this point, you have only created a concept. However, you have still spent hours grueling over the work in the hopes of winning the job, knowing that the buyer deposited money into the account waiting to pay.

Next, the buyer looks through all of the concepts and prices, then withdraws their request, gets a refund, and goes elsewhere to have your design copied by someone cheaper.

You just worked for free. Yes, free!

You Get Overlooked – Even if They do Not Take Off With Your Design

OK, no one is expecting to win every job that they find. However, the way 99Designs works is that anyone can enter into the job – anyone. That means you are likely to spend hours of your time designing something perfect for them, and they don’t even see it.

The number of inexperienced people on the platform lends itself to a flood of poor designs, and worse, copied ideas from stock images. That is not only bad for the person working hard but also ruins the design industry.

Why Look For Alternatives to 99Designs as a Buyer?

Expensive

Given that designs are very personal and time-consuming, it is understandable that you have to pay for them. However, when you consider a logo can cost from $299 to $1,299, that is a lot of money for one logo. Yes, if you pay for the higher end, you will get more experienced designers and more concepts, but few people have that money to part with when starting a business.

To add to the cost, if you want a web page design (yes, just one page, not an entire site), you need to pay between $599 and $2,499.

Many other platforms will provide these services for a fraction of the price. Furthermore, when you consider that some of the concepts you get are likely to be stock, you are paying a lot.

Time-Consuming System

Again, this is not a pop at designers; they need the time to get everything right. However, it takes time to sort through the qualifying round of hundreds of entries, not to mention that they have four days to submit their entry.

Four days after you have your entries, you can pick your finalists and give them feedback on their designs. That takes around three days. Next, the seller has five days to send you the files.

All in all, the time it takes to deliver a project is around two weeks. However, if the finalist you pick backs out of the deal, you have to start the process again.

Yes, good things take time. But, waiting for two weeks for a logo is not swift by anyone’s standards, especially if you have to start the process again.

What Should You Look For in 99Designs Alternatives?

There are quite a few things that you need to consider before choosing an alternative to 99Designs. The following sections will cover some of the primary aspects of 99Designs and what you need to do to buy or sell a service there.

From that point, we can look at what differences other platforms offer, if any.

Who Can Offer Work?

At first glance, it is not simple to become a designer. However, there is a link to “Become a designer” in the footer of the website.

After you go through a simple page of picking your username and password, you’re greeted with an application form, where you have to meet the design standards set by 99Designs. Unfortunately, you can only see this standard requirements page after you have provided your email address and created a password. We think that is a little unfair, as you may want to read them before even applying.

Also, you are only allowed two attempts to pass the application, which is also a little unfair for beginners in the design field.

Is There a Vetting Process?

Yes. The vetting process consists of the application and constant review of your work standards. This system is good if you have confidence in your work or want confidence in the job you are paying for.

What Payment Options Are There?

The only payment option you have is exchanging your 99designs credits to cash, processed through one of the two payment processors 99Designs use: PayPal and Payoneer.

As stated on their “how and when do I get paid” page, payments can take ten working days. However, when you look on the payment processor page, you will see that PayPal takes 1-5 working days, and Payoneer will immediately add funds to a Prepaid card.

The withdrawal times raise another question; are the ten working days inclusive or on top of the payment processor times?

What Are The Fees?

Fees for fiat platforms are notoriously high, and 99Designs is no different. Both the designer and client are charged extra to fund the platform. Those fees are, as a guideline, as follows:

Designer:

  • 20% Client introduction
  • 5-15% platform fee, depending on a designer level

Client

  • 5% platform fee

In the calculator 99Designs supplies, a designer charge $799, the client pays $839, and the designer receives $659.

That provides the platform with $180 in fees for one job.

Can You Pay For Work on 99Designs As A Guest?

No. You can, however:

  • Find an artist you like within seven categories, forty-three industries, three designer levels, and eleven languages.
  • Look through their work and reviews.
  • Work through the three pages of fifteen questions, file uploads (for inspiration and reference), timeline and budget,
  • Add some information about your business, and submit your request.

It is only at that point that you need to log in or create an account.

Do You Have To Pay To Join?

There are no initial fees to sign up on the platform as either a buyer or seller. However, as you have seen in the Fees section above, the platform certainly makes up for no joining fee when you start buying or selling a service.

Who Can Buy Work From 99Designs?

There is no limitation when it comes to who can buy designs.

Are There Any Cryptocurrency Alternatives to 99Designs?

Right now, there are no viable, fully functional alternatives to 99Designs within the cryptocurrency space. However, there is one company working on a platform right now. BH Network is building a platform on the Elrond blockchain to merge the world of freelancing and cryptocurrency.

BH Network

Cryptocurrency Alternatives BH Network

While this project is in the early stages, we have managed to get information about BH Network’s plans and how they plan to integrate cryptocurrency into the mainstream via an internet marketing marketplace similar to 99Designs.

Who can offer work? – Anyone will have the ability to buy or sell goods and services, providing they have an Elrond wallet. That can be either Maiar, Web Wallet, or Ledger.

Is there a vetting process? – There will be no vetting process to join the platform. However, the algorithm will match buyers and sellers according to their budget, requirements, and skills. If there are any disputes, the team will check the work and decide on an outcome (see Extra points below for more information).

Payment options. – The BH Network marketplace will only allow cryptocurrency payments for both buyers and sellers. They will use their own token ($BHAT), one stable coin, and future partner tokens/coins.

Fees. – The fees that the team proposes are a meager 3-5% transaction charge plus the Elrond network fees (currently 0.00005 eGLD ($0.015666)) per transaction.

Buy as a guest? – No, you cannot buy as a guest. However, all you will need is the Maiar app, Web Wallet, or a Ledger to log in.

Pay to join? – There will be no fees to join as a buyer or seller.

Extra points. – There are many extra points to cover that BH Network wants to change in the freelancing community. Here are some of the most prominent things that the team wants to change:

  • Fees. – Cryptocurrency fees on the Elrond Blockchain are much lower than any Fiat banking institution, and BH Network wants to pass that saving onto the freelancers and buyers.
  • Fair. Like most on this list, Crowdsourcing platforms are only fair because anyone can offer work, but you need to do the work first. The BH Network marketplace will use slides to show new and old sellers to people looking to buy services with high and low prices.
  • Promoted sellers. – The marketplace will promote sellers through featured lists and emails based on reviews, sales, newcomers, and other various factors, giving opportunities to
  • Transaction and withdrawal speed. – Banks and payment processors are notoriously slow for providing access to your funds. A cryptocurrency marketplace will remove any wait times, providing you access to your money within seconds, any time, any day of the year.
  • No third-party services. BH Network advises that they will not use intermediaries to slow any process down or create extra charges.
  • No fraudulent chargebacks. – If you are a freelancer, you will have or know someone who has had a chargeback. The buyer has accepted the work, paid you, and then later raised a dispute with the payment processor and won their money back, even though nothing was wrong. Cryptocurrency cannot work like that; there are no fraudulent chargebacks. After the buyer and seller agree the work is complete and satisfactory, the blockchain Smart Contract transfers the funds and work simultaneously. If there is a dispute, mediators will resolve the issue in line with the contract.

If you want to look more in-depth about what the team is doing, here is a link to their whitepaper and Telegram channel.

What Are The Fiat Alternatives to 99Designs?

There are a fair few fiat alternatives to 99Designs. In the following sections, we will look at some of them and see the differences. Here are the current primary competitors:

  • Crowdspring
  • DesignBro
  • DesignCrowd
  • Designhill
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • LogoTournament
  • Toptal
  • Upwork

As this article is not an in-depth view of these platforms, we will only run over the primary differences between them and 99Designs. For more information on these platforms, look out for specific articles.

Crowdspring

Crowdspring

Who can offer work? – At the time of writing this article, Crowdspring is not accepting any creatives (Crowdsprings name for a seller). The platform operates a “wait list” for new applicants,

Is there a vetting process? – Yes, the verification process includes a manual check of your identity and a panel check of three of your best pieces of work for each category that you wish to offer work.

Payment options. – The only options that Crowdspring offers to customers are major credit cards and PayPal. However, receiving your money as a designer can take up to 30 days to process.

Fees. – There is no clear indication of exactly how the fees are broken down, calculated, or distributed. However, it appears that you need to pick between four packages; silver, gold, elite, and platinum. Each of them has a set price (what the buyer pays), with a set “award” (what the winner earns).

It appears that the difference between the package cost and the award is around 30-40% of the total price, meaning that the seller (or the winner) receives 60-70% of the price for the work if they win.

Buy as a guest? – You can go through the whole process of creating a project without signing up. However, you do need to provide and confirm your email address. The platform will provide you with a profile and username such as user_12a3456b.

Pay to join? – You do not have to pay an upfront cost to join as either a buyer or seller.

Extra points. – There is no way to know if you will be paid or not. As the platform is based on crowdsourcing, you compete with many designers, and the customer gets to pick the winner. Therefore, you could be working for many hours without any indication of payment.

Furthermore, there are many additional options that you can add to your project, such as higher rewards, privacy packages (unlisted in search engines, NDA contracts, hiding submissions from other applicants, etc.), but they are all expensive.

DesignBro

DesignBro

Who can offer work? – There is no limitation on who can apply to become a designer on DesignBro.

Is there a vetting process? – Yes, the vetting process is similar to that of Crowdspring. You need to fill out a registration form, upload a portfolio, and wait for their team to review your work before applying for jobs.

Payment options. – DesignBro only accepts credit card payments and only pays the designers through PayPal – after accumulating $250+.

Fees. – Although it is difficult to find any details about the fees, they are in the small print of the terms, linked at the signup page. Those fees are 25% of the total project cost paid by the customer (included in the initial price).

Buy as a guest?. – No, you cannot buy as a guest. You can get partway through posting a job or request to work with a designer before you are prompted to sign up or log in.

Pay to join? – No, you do not have to pay to join either as a creator or client.

Extra points. – So far, DesignBro is one of the fairest when it comes to crowdsourcing. All of the previous platforms only pay the winner. However, DesignBro pays 95% of the remaining funds (after their 25% fees) to the winner and 2.5% each to the second and third place designers.

DesignCrowd

DesignCrowd

 

Who can offer work? – All you need to start offering work is to sign up with an email address and password. There are no other requirements or limitations to providing your design ideas.

Is there a vetting process? – No, anyone can offer designs to open jobs.

Payment options. – Payoneer and PayPal are the only two ways that a designer can receive payment. However, you can pay with major credit cards or PayPal.

Fees. – The second fee that you have is a transaction fee of approximately 4% of the total cost. Therefore, you will have a higher transaction charge if you add any extras to your projects, such as express turnaround or top designer.

On top of those fees, DesignCrowd takes a 15% commission on all payments made to designers – including tips.

Buy as a guest? – You can buy as a guest, but you must enter your email address to receive notifications about ongoing designs.

Pay to join? – No, there is no joining fee for designers or customers.

Extra points. – DesignCrowd offers “place payments” to designers who do not win the contest. However, it is unclear how much those payments are or how many designers they go to.

Prices do not include VAT so bear in mind that you need to add VAT to the prices that you see.

Designhill

Designhill

Who can offer work? – It appears that anyone can take part in design contests.

Is there a vetting process? – The only stipulations are that designers do not use any stock images or any copied work.

Payment options. – As a buyer, you can pay through all major credit cards and PayPal. Designers receive their money through PayPal or Payoneer with 2-3 day payouts and basic fees.

Fees. – Alongside the payout and payment fees, all designers are charged a commission on every sale. The percentage that Designhill charge is dependant upon the membership option that you chose.

  • Normal membership – Free – 45-50% commission on sales
  • Silver membership – $120 per year – 40-45% commission on sales
  • Gold membership – $170 per year – 30-42% commission on sales
  • Diamond membership – $220 per year – 20-40% commission on sales

The lower percentage is the commission rate on logo designs for silver, gold, and diamond memberships, but the contests for normal memberships and the higher percentage is the commission rate on contests for silver, gold, and diamond memberships, but logo design for normal memberships.

Buy as a guest? – No, you can get partway through the process of hiring a designer before you need to log in or sign up.

Pay to join? – No, you do not need to pay to join as a buyer or seller. However, you do get extra benefits for annual memberships, as stated in the Fees section above.

Extra points. – Designhill only pays in US Dollars.

Fiverr

Fiverr

Who can offer work? – Anyone can offer work through Fiverr. Whether you are a writer, designer, voice-over artist, or anything else, you can place a request or offer your own service. You just need to signup with an email address and create a gig.

Is there a vetting process? – Fiverr does not have a vetting process for the average seller. However, pro sellers need to go through a vetting process where you need to mention your professional background, your higher education, notable projects you’ve worked on, etc.

Payment options. – In most countries, you can use the following options to purchase gigs: Credit card, PayPal, Fiverr credits, or your existing Fiverr Balance. In some areas, additional payment options may be available.

Fees. – The fees for buyers are 5% of the total gig price. As a seller, you need to pay 20% of your earnings which even includes your tips.

Buy as a guest? – No, it is not possible to buy as a guest. You need to sign up before purchasing anything from Fiverr.

Pay to join? – No, payment is not needed to join as a buyer or seller

Extra points. – Fiverr sometimes offers discount coupons, especially to new members. You can use those coupons for any services on the Fiverr platform.

Freelancer

Freelancer

Who can offer work? – Anybody can offer their services on Freelancer. You just need to sign up and create a profile.  You can post as many projects as you like and receive bids from freelancers all over the world.

Is there a vetting process? – Freelancer only verifies you if you want to offer premium services. Therefore, it is possible to post projects as a buyer or offer your own services as a seller without any verification process.

Payment options. – The payment options are Credit Card, PayPal, Skrill, or Bank Deposit. Also, other supported payments are WebMoney, iDEAL, SOFORT, Giropay, Bancontact, Interac, Dotpay, WeChat Pay, Alipay, UnionPay, Boleto Bancário, and Paytm.

Fees

  • Sellers: The fee for fixed-price projects is 10% or $5, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects. Just like Fiverr, they also will take 10% of the money earned from any tips.
  • Buyers: 3% of the winning bid or $3 whichever is greater. If you plan to tip the seller for outstanding work, they will also charge you 3%.

Buy as a guest? – There is no option to buy as a guest on Freelancer.

Pay to join? – Freelancer.com is entirely free to join. You can join at any time. However, opening multiple accounts is not allowed.

Extra points. – The Preferred Freelancer Program shares the best talent on Freelancer.com. If you are looking for the best freelancers, you need to check out sellers with the “Preferred Freelancer” tag.

LogoTournament

logo tournament

Who can offer work? – Unlike Fiverr and Freelancer, it is not easy to apply for LogoTournament. The site only accepts 2.5% of all applicants, and all of the designers are meticulously approved through a tryout period.

Is there a vetting process? – Yes, to become a seller, you need to go through a rigorous vetting process.

Payment options. – The only payment option for LogoTournament is PayPal

Fees. – They don’t have an easily accessible fee structure, but you can find more about the pricing here.

Buy as a guest? – To create a “Logo Contest,” you do not need to sign up, but you will have to fill this form. You will need to provide your email address.

Toptal

Toptal

Who can offer work? – Toptal is an international network of the world’s top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, etc.

Is there a vetting process? – Yes. Toptal uses a screening process to assess each applicant’s subject matter knowledge, professionalism, and communication abilities. The entire evaluation procedure may take 1-2 weeks.

Payment options. – Employers can pay through payment rail options like ACH, bank wires, credit cards, and PayPal.

Fees. – Fees are not publicly shown on their website, but they charge incredibly high amounts from clients and pay less to freelancers. On Toptal, freelancers are never informed how much the client is paying. On top of that, Toptal freelancers must sign an NDA.

Buy as a guest? – You cannot hire talents as a guest, so you need to join their site as a client. You need to answer a few questions before joining Toptal.

Pay to join? – You don’t have to pay any fees to join Toptal. It only costs a premium to hire freelancers.

Extra points. – Only 3% of freelancers who apply to Toptal get approved, so you have a high chance of getting talented freelancers there. However, the price is exceptionally high compared to other platforms.

Upwork

Upwork

Who can offer work? – Anyone who gets approved and passes their interview can offer work in Upwork. It’s not as strict as Toptal nor as easy as Fiverr.

Is there a vetting process? – Yes. You need to go through an interview before you can work in Upwork.

Payment options. – Upwork accepts Visa, Discover, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, and Diners Club International. Other payment methods include Payoneer, PayPal, and wire transfers.

Fees. – The fee structure is similar to Fiverr. They charge 20% for freelancers and 3% to clients.

Buy as a guest? – You need to sign up for Upwork before you buy anything.

Pay to join? – It’s free to join Upwork.

Extra points. – Upwork’s virtual currency is “connects.” Freelancers can use “connects” to submit a job proposal in Upwork.

Conclusion

All of the options here have their own merits and downfalls, and it depends on your preference, ability, and budget as to which you use. However, in our opinion, the most exciting and encouraging option is most certainly the BH Network marketplace; utilizing the blockchain for buying and selling digital goods at extremely low fees and high speed every day of the year is very promising.

We encourage you to check out their MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and see the team’s progress with blockchain logins and signatures. You will need to sign up for Maiar, but both are amazing, in our opinion, and well worth it.

 

Cryptocurrency news enthusiast with a passion for writing and providing information to people.

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