Monday, June 15, 2009

Doing plenty of evil

Google's unofficial motto is "Don't be evil."

The thinking is that doing the right thing breeds trust and respect for the brand and company among customers that in the long run outweighs doing the underhanded or unethical for a short term gain.

It's a nice philosophy.

It would be nice if Google actually practiced what they preached.

In the first three months of 2009, Google reported a profit of $1.42 billion. That's a lot of money. And it was made during the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

You would think that a company that was still making fistloads of cash would be willing to pay illustrators. You'd be wrong.

Over the past few months Google has been asking many illustrators to contribute artwork so people can personalize the appearance of the soon-to-be released browser, Chrome. They have the audacity not to pay. Understandably some rather prominent illustrators have said no.

Google says the they do not pay for these projects, but instead offer terrific exposure and a unique opportunity to promote the use of illustration.

This isn't promotion. Its exploitation. Its evil.

A company as big as Google should pay for the use of illustrations like so many other businesses, both large and small, do every single day. They certainly can afford to pay who work for them.

The work that illustrators do adds value to all types of projects and products. They deserve to be compensated for the value they add.

By they way, Google doesn't give away its services or products for free.

Why should Google expect the independent contractors working for them to give away their work?


  1. I found this statement particularly humorous given that all they offer is exposure:

    "We don’t feel comfortable releasing the names of artists who are participating in the project before it launches," stated the company, which also declined to give a date when artwork from the program would appear on Google Chrome. "However, we are currently working with dozens of artists who are excited about the opportunity to be involved in this project."

  2. I'm such a cheap whore; I'd have a very hard time turning down the offer. Even though yes, it's evil. And yes, it's complete exploitation. And yes, illustrators need to show solidarity.

    But man, I don't know if I could have said "no."

    They didn't ask me, so fortunately its all hypothetical.