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I totally see both sides of this argument …

As a freelance writer for years Guru and Elance annoyed the bejebus out of me – because it was never about the quality of work. When you turn content (including visual content) into a commodity you always sacrifice quality …

That said, I see the other side too – when you are starting out and need to get a logo or design done and you don’t have a lot of money to spend you care less about getting really great designs and more about just getting something done.

So Dan, I totally see your point – but remember – the people you’re talking to here are NOT your target market (this is why having a niche is so important!) – because even if places like this / guru / elance DIDN’T exist they wouldn’t be spending money they don’t have …

And Ideas / Brett – I see your point – but remember … if we were talking about YOUR industry – if someone started up a website that produced your product for a quarter of the price and with poor quality, you’d be angry too.

Personally, my way around this has been to go out and find service providers who really ARE just starting out and take them under my wing. Not only do I get my design done at a reasonable price, I also help them with getting their business set up and refer a bunch of work to them so that they can afford to get things pumping.