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Subject: Re: ISP needs Flash site,chance for exposure
From: Michael Liu
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 22:51:06 +0100


I'd just like to jump in here and say that DG is right on. And his argument
applies equally for Web sites as it does for Flash work. (A good Web site
is much more than just dropping clip art into a WYSIWYG HTML editor!)

I'm not completely discouraging "comp" or pro bono work; if you wish to do
that (for good will or for exposure), then contact your favorite non-profit
organizations and offer them your services. You will not only get *real*
publicity for your work (both as a talented artist and as a conscientious
individual), but you will also get the benefit of knowing you've helped a
worthwhile cause. (Btw, for the guy who wrote about doctors and lawyers
doing free work: they do it for individuals--or groups assisting
individuals--who could not otherwise afford these very *necessary*
services. They do NOT do it for commercial entities just so that the
company doesn't have to pay. And since when is a Flash site a necessary

As for the benefit of free exposure, what's so valuable about THAT on the
Internet? It's not like the ISP is offering a marquee in Times Square, or a
banner on the side of the Fuji Blimp, or even a 30 second spot on prime
time TV. Basically, they're just offering to give you free hosting.

**So what?**

Most ISP's offer free hosting as part of your monthly access service
(including--ack--AOL). And there are a number of hosting sources that don't
require any money or commitment; they derive revenue from other means
(e.g., Web advertising). Btw, if this ISP has so much traffic to give you
great exposure, then they can afford to pay for your work. If they don't,
then what good does it do you?

As for the "Disney example", there are two different arguments going here.
One is the cartooning or graphic artist internship argument. In that case,
although you may not be earning much money, you are learning from
established masters in the industry, which IS a valuable compensation.
(But it's clear that this ISP is not offering an internship position.)
The other argument: that you--as an independent contractor--would do a job
for Disney for free "just for exposure", is simply ludicrous. If a company
with the size, prestige, and resources of Disney approached me for any kind
of work (other than some type of charitable project), then you can bet I'd
expect a hefty financial compensation! Do you think I'm going to starve
just so their shareholders can get richer? If everyone had that kind of
attitude, then no one would pay for any type of service-related work
because there would always be some startup company of individual who could
be raped!

But there is a greater lesson to be learned here. One of the great benefits
of the Internet is that there is essentially no competition for exposure,
and marketing oneself can be done for free or very little money (unlike
trying to get a commercial spot during a Super Bowl...or the last episode
of "Sienfeld"). Anyone can create a Web site, promote it themselves, and
(if they truly have something worth experiencing) get more traffic than a
big corporation with a huge advertising budget but a lackluster Web site.
There are numerous methods for building traffic and getting exposure that I
won't get into here, but perhaps the most successful is simple
word-of-mouth. If you're good enough, people will come! You don't believe
me? Ask Gabo. He didn't have to sign a deal with the devil to get free

Gabo built his own site to promote his work and then let the "forces of
free economy" take over (and I don't mean "free" as in "no valuable
compensation"). I remember when someone (not Gabo) first mentioned the
Gabocorp site on a Web design mailing list (like this one). Soon, talk of
his site spread like wildfire, both among the developer community, and
among other interested parties (i.e., potential clients). Some of the
reaction was good...some bad, but all of it together made his name a
household word in the industry. And now I hear he can pretty much "name his

So if you find yourself in the enviable position of having
"too much talent", yet also in the not-so-enviable position of
having "too little work", then do what Gabo did. Build a site to
promote **your business**...not the business of some other company.
Because the only commercial entity that deserves your free work is


Michael Liu
Compelling Images(SM)
mliuatcompellingimages [dot] com

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  Re: ISP needs Flash site,chance for expo, Karen Parry

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