Every once in a while, the “no spec” debate flares up again, and so it has once more. This time the controversy surrounds blogger Tim Ferriss, author of the best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek. As he prepares for the launch of his next book, the writer decided to kick off a short design competition to come up with a cover for said new book. In exchange, he’d pick four winners and give each $250, with perhaps one of the covers actually making it through to publication (Ferriss warns from the start that the publisher might decide to just go with whatever they come up with in-house, in which case nothing gets used). Of course, this was all very ripe for the anti-spec crowd, who quickly jumped all over the competition, claiming it unfair and disrespectful to designers and asking if Ferriss would enjoy writing his books with the hopes of maybe, possibly getting a paltry $250 if someone deemed it worthy. All of this forced the writer to update the post and answer various comment in the huge swarm that developed, explaining himself and the contest. It’s fairly typical stuff, if you’ve seen any fight develop over spec before. However, our pal Eric Karjaluoto smells a rat about this whole brouhaha. He wonders if this is something Ferriss created as a controversy from the start, intending to get himself in the middle of an anti-spec debate for quick, cheap, and easy free publicity. Per usual, Karjaluoto forms a great essay, getting into a larger view of spec and what’s wrong about Ferriss’ contest from the start, whether it’s a stunt or not.
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