Spec Work is rapidly on the increase thanks to sites lke 99designs and other logo design competition sites. For those that don't know Spec Work involves getting lots of designs done for free and then choosing one winner, the problem with this is that many of the logo designs are rips offs and don't fit the company or brand at all.
If you're a client looking for a new logo or brand identity you should avoid spec work at all costs, although the short term costs seem low the long term costs can be massive from law suits to having a design that doesn't work with your brand and ones that you'll change quite quickly. Logo design and branding is a long process that involves lots of research and getting to know a client and there needs. If you're serious about getting a professional logo design then Spec Work should be avoided at all costs.
As a designer you always get the question "Can you do me this for free?" or "Will you just make me this?" as a designer it's best to say know as not only are you devaluing your own skills but also every other hard working designer out there.
The below video was put toget by Steve Newberry of Topic Simple, once you've had a watch head over to Logo Design Love to find out more about Steve and how the video was created.