What Are Wii Doing?

After reading about the latest trends in web design commerce, I got a sickening feeling. I am referring to two fellow designers, engaged by a client to do some design/development work in return for a Nintendo Wii. First, let me preface all of this by letting it be known this is not a personal indictment of Jesse or Drew at all. On the contrary, I don’t know either of them personally; I’m a huge fan of Jesse’s work and what he’s done for the community.

When I first read the Happy Daddy blog entry on Jesse’s blog, I thought nothing of it and was, in fact, amused by such an agreement. Perhaps it is no big deal if both parties agree and mutually benefit in a payment-for-services agreement like this, but after reading about the same thing on Drew’s site, I don’t know if this is a trend I’d like to see continue. Bartering has been a common trade practice for centuries, but is it in the best interest for designers/developers in general?

I’ll play the alarmist devil’s advocate here and question how many designers would welcome a bartering arrangement from their clients? I mean, a Nintendo Wii is a pretty cool form of compensation, but where do you draw the line? Services rendered in exchange for the latest software? Or perhaps an iTunes gift card? I guess the reason this bothers me is that it could further undermine an external perception that the field of web design/development is little more than a hobby for most. I would hate for clients to think they could hold up a shiny object in front of an aspiring designer and get him/her to jump. Our industry already has enough perception hurdles to overcome in the effort to express our craft as a legit business model. I wonder how many other businesses would be open to this idea. Maybe the next time we need family pictures, I’ll offer The Picture People a new logo. I doubt that would fly.

Cash pays the bills. Cash grows in a savings account. Cash is the lifeblood of a business. I’d hate to see freelancers jeopardize that.

Feel free to call me out if I’m being overly sensitive, but I just found this a bit disturbing.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. I didn’t get the impressions from Jesse’s post that the Wii was the only payment he received for the work – more that it was an incentive to take a quick turnaround job.

  2. admin says:

    I don’t know the details, so that could very well be true. If it was just an incentive above and beyond the contract fee, then great. I guess my concern was more about something like this replacing an appropriate payment for services and that become a “trend”. Thanks for clarifying, Matthew.

  3. Just saw this post come up in my stats and figured I’d chime in. The Wii was just a “signing-bonus” on top of a very well paying project. I just see it as a very shrewd move ( by my client ) to get my attention and start a discussion about his project. Worked out for both of us rather well.

    Lovely site by the way!

  4. For my project, the Wii was also a bonus on top of an established fee for my services. The client was requiring a fast turnaround and offered the Wii as a “thank you”.

    Currently, I’m working on a project with a Sony Playstation 3 as a bonus… Just kidding ;)

  5. ps. I agree with Mr. Bennett-Chamberlain, your site is very nice!

  6. admin says:

    Ok, great. Glad I could clear up this controversy on behalf of the industry.

    Now – where’s my Wii? I want one, too! :)

  7. Drew will give you his after I finish whooping him at Fifa 08!


  8. Dude! That goal came out of nowhere. Caught me blindsided. And no, I will not hand over the Wii. However, Jess might after the game goes into overtime and he breaks down and gives up playing the Wii forever because he can’t seem to stop the barrage of shoot out goals from my squad. (ok… I really should be working.)