Thanks, Karzay. I've used something similar for home maintenance, called ServiceMagic. As someone who's looking for a pro, I appreciate the site's rating system, the ability to compare prices, and the site's pre-vetting of contractors. As a random homeowner, I'm not really competent to comb through thousands of contractors to determine who does the best work for the best price. Since I'm paying them for a service the technical aspects of which I may not be familiar with, I need to be able to trust that I'm not being cheated, and the rating and review system allows me to do that.
I've paid for a contractor who wasn't the low bidder on several occasions, because I wanted one with a higher rating I could trust. Cheap people will tend to get more poorly skilled contractors, but ones with outstanding ratings can often afford to charge more because people like me need to know that I'm going to pay once for a job done right.
When it comes time for me to hire an artist (I'm a writer/designer), it's going to work the same way. I hope I can pay an artist a wage I can afford and they're satisfied with. I've been going through dozens of sites on my Site List: Graphic Artist thread here, and without some sort of rating/review system and pre-vetting by the administrators, I feel like finding the right artist would be a Sisyphean task.
I get what you're saying about the contrast with Ebay, where the "clients" bid up a starting quote, as opposed to Guru or ServiceMagic where contractors submit quotes for comparison and the client can negotiate. On the other hand, I'm an Ebay sniper, and I'll bid a low price I think is fair on hundreds of auctions for a month to snag that one fluke low score.
In your or other artists' opinions, what would you consider a fair price for each of the following, in a style similar to Braid:
o 1280x600 detailed junglescape background for a side-scroller
o 120x60 static shrub
o 60x60 5-frame walk animation for main character
o 60x60 30 second, 25fps animation for cut scene for main character
o 600x480 splash screen, 3 second, 25fps with simple company logo animated
And on top of that, for purposes of this thread, what do you find that people actually pay on bidding versus freelance sites?