Is the Huffington Post Requesting More Free Labor?

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The Huffington Post needs a new logo for its politics section and they will not be paying for it. Contest time! After the submissions are culled, the winner will be voted by readers and the victorious designer will be rewarded by seeing their logo "all over the interwebs — with credit to you, of course," and no compensation. This sounds familiar. But unlike writers, whose attempts to organize have failed to cut into Arianna's bottom line, talent pool, or readership, designers are united in their anger and making a noticeable stink. HuffPo insists it's just "lighthearted" fun.

Whereas Arianna's defense of not paying some bloggers had a split comments section debating the merits and downsides of unpaid work, the logo contest is alight with six pages of anti-HuffPo sentiment: "Shame on you Huffington Post. Educate yourselves about spec work and the value of design. You are devaluing design with this competitio­n. Please put a stop to it," reads one comment. Another says simply, "Create a job. Hire a designer."

The flood of angry design experts seems to be stemming from AntiSpec.com, which writes:

It’s not just small companies looking to save money by seeking free/cheap design, sadly spec work occurs at all levels. The Huffington Post was bought by AOL for a reported $315,000,000 back in February 2011. Plenty of cash on the table to hire a designer to create a logo, right?
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It’s not all bad though, there’s a prize for the winner; they get credit for creating it… WOW. The ‘losers’ get absolutely nothing. The Huffington Post however gets hundreds, if not thousands of completely free design hours.

Today, a barrage of more than a thousand angry tweets followed, along with a handful of fake submissions.

HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz had this to say:

We asked fans of HuffPost Politics to submit suggestions for social media icon designs as a fun way of enabling them to express their passion for politics -- and for HuffPost. As readers of our site know, we frequently engage our community with requests for feedback and suggestions. So while AOL Huffington Post Media Group employs an in-house team of more than 30 talented designers, we felt this would be a lighthearted way to encourage HuffPost Politics users to express another side of their talents. The post was in no way an attempt to solicit unpaid design services.

Enter The Huffington Post Politics Icon Competition [HuffPo]