Brandstack. Pitched as some sort of haven for designers, it was a marketplace in which creative types could sell off their logo concepts as they came to mind, rather than on “spec work” conjured up by a client. The goal? Less unpaid work (and fewer “amateur submissions”) than contest-based crowdsourcing sites like 99designs.
Alas, Brandstack is now officially destined for the deadpool — and, according to the founder, it’s all because of credit card fraud.
In the founder’s own words:
Recently, we were hit with significant fraud. If you’re not familiar with this kind of situation, here a simplified summary of what happens: 1. Criminal uses stolen credit cards to purchase legitimate goods (designs); 2. retailer (Brandstack) pays out vendors (designers) for their work; 3. bank sees the fraudulent transactions and takes the money from the retailer; 4. retailer loses the funds paid to vendors, any profits associated with the purchase, and resources used to fight and process the transactions; 5. If the fraud is significant enough, the retailer loses access to accept credit cards. Even shorter summary: the retailer takes all of the liability… I did not have the flexibility or capital to withstand it.
Curiously, it sounds like some designers will inevitably be left out in the cold for deals that were mid-transaction:
As many of you know, there is some unfinished business that won’t be taken care of. Many designers put their faith in Brandstack and were left short.
Anyone with designs stored on Brandstack will need to pull them off by December 1st, at which point the servers will be shuttered. Domains handled through Brandstack (designers could sell domains along with their logo work) have been transferred to ResellerClub, with designers expected to contact them directly to work out the process from here. What a mess.