Our guild started the free crafting on Red Eclipse and we have seen a huge influx of orders for the stuff we do. This forced most of the server to go free crafting as well and pushed the prices down overall in a long term. There can be some debate whether it is good or not, but we are recognized as trustworthy crafters as a guild.
The point I wanted to make - I cannot afford to break people's trust if they order something. With about 20-50 orders a day I rarely do direct trading or have many stuff ready made, it would drive me crazy to the point I could not play the game anymore for all the time needed for trading alone.
For the OP - play it the way you feel more safe. Direct trade is the safest way to go. I can also vouch for finding a trusted crafter (reputation, server forums etc.) and sticking with him.
Critswise I agree with the concept of giving crits to the guildies / close friends only. First I cannot really tell who got which crit in all the volume I craft so it would not be fair and second I consider it a payment for the time and effort invested into the job.
EDIT: I craft the earpieces for free also for the reason of helping the guys who need them and for the marketing purpose as well. The volume is not that high so no big deal here.
Me to I even got reported once because it failed and I lost everything and I had just warned the player he may lose all his mats etc it failed he reported me the rest you can guess ...