So everyone knows about Envato, they are everywhere and they do pretty much everything. Let's just say I wouldn't want to be the guy who has to collate all of their website analytic reports. Anyway, they have just expanded their collection of website to include a new marketplace called Microlancer. Quite simply it's a new marketplace built for professionals to sell their work, it seems to follow a similar formula to People Per Hour whereby service providers are asked to give a price and time to a specific task, like creating a web button or something. As a fan of Envato I know that they are a highly reputable organisation and their content is usually of very high quality. In the past I've followed a lot of their tutorials and welcomed their expansions into new territories like game development. I love how they are bringing education, freely, to the masses in a simple and effective way. Sure they've got a premium service, it's a business. The thing is, their premium service is in fact very good and their content would probably be more advanced than that of most other educational institutions that teach design, for a fraction of the price. Okay, okay, you get it, I like Envato. So the thing is, I hate how these type of service marketplaces operate. It damages the industry as a whole by devaluing our work. Why would someone want to pay a local designer Â£400 for a website when they can get something of similar quality for less than half the price, right? Many of these sites even require you to do the work before you even get paid! Can you imagine!! Now, there is an argument to be made on behalf of supply and demand whereby most industries are stilling in a transitional period going from national service supply to global supply, but I'll save that one for another post. After a quick perusing of Envato's new website, it doesn't appear that they are going down this route, thankfully! So what then, is the difference between this marketplace and all the others? Their FAQ simply goes on to say how they are interesting in making the process as simple as possible for everyone involved, which is always good, but it doesn't really explain the fundamental differences between them and all the others. A part of me is saying that I should just trust them and go by all their previous sites, they were all good experiences so why won't this one be? But then another part of me is saying that I should just dismiss this one as yet another shackle-bound attempt at creating a new digital market and extracting money from all of those involved. I've not yet used these digital marketplaces for any meaningful amount of time so I kind of feel like I don't really deserve to have such strong views on the subject. Though I am starting to wonder if this is the future. Once we've moved beyond the point where only risk-seekers are looking to make some money from a new market, we will end up with companies that seek to differentiate themselves from the status quo by focusing on what the users want. Once we're at that stage then perhaps these digital markets will be a real, worthwhile and viable option for designers. One thing I will say is that these sites are definitely a lot more transparent than Joe BlÃ³gs design website, which requires you to contact them before being given any real pricing information, they also do a good job of dealing with the issue that so many clients seem to have of what they are actually getting for their money. So what do you all think, are we there yet? Are you tempted to transition from the old to the new or is this just a massive waste of time for anyone who wants a real career in graphic design?