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inkkognito
05-05-2008, 12:46 AM
Came across the ad below on Craigslist and it really made me cringe. $3 for 250-275 words? Does anyone really do this? It actually pained my eyes to read it. I write 1500-2000 word articles for which I get anywhere up to several hundred dollars. Good lord, even at the absolute worst I'd get $50 and a clip from a tiny local pub. The internet has been a godsend for writers in many ways (easier access to real markets, research, networking, support, etc.), but also a bane (as this ad embodies):

I need 1,000's of articles and blogs. I own over a thousand websites.

Article Writer -
* Looking for Laser Aesthetic Article SEO Writer.
SEO Articles - $3.00 for 250 - 275 words
SEO Articles - $3.50 for 275 - 325 words
SEO Articles - $4.00 for 326 - 400 words
SEO Articles - $5.00 for 401 - 500 words

SEO Blog Writer
* Looking for Laser Aesthetic SEO Blog Writer.
SEO Blogs - $2.00 for 175 - 225 words
SEO Blogs - $2.50 for 226 - 275 words

Beyondian
05-05-2008, 01:00 AM
Must admit I'm currently working my tail off writing copy part-time for a computer game for $35 a fortnight (about 20,000 words). But then, they're a starting company, I write more than is required, and I just keep telling myself it's good experience...

jannawrites
05-05-2008, 01:02 AM
Holy goodness! Such jobs have their place and purpose, I guess, but it seems like so little for so much.

Chasing the Horizon
05-05-2008, 01:02 AM
If someone would pay me $2.00 for every 250 words I wrote, I'd make pretty good money. :D As it is, I'm writing 20,000 words a week for free.

Birol
05-05-2008, 01:37 AM
Yes, they are serious and, yes, there are writers who will work for these paltry wages, to the detriment of us all.

Beyondian
05-05-2008, 02:10 AM
Yes, they are serious and, yes, there are writers who will work for these paltry wages, to the detriment of us all.

-feels guilty-

In all seriousness, there is some difference between taking ridiculously small paychecks for freelance work, and working on a project for small pecuniary reward for the greater good of the project, right? Right? :o

JeanneTGC
05-05-2008, 03:56 AM
Yes, they are serious and, yes, there are writers who will work for these paltry wages, to the detriment of us all.
For some, these paltry wages help out quite a bit for their monthly bottom line and also allow the writer to earn some paid writing credits.

Is it the same as being a regular paid contributor to the Atlantic Monthly? No, it's not. However, not everyone can and will be a paid contributor to the Atlantic Monthly.

I think turning up our noses at both jobs like these and the people who take them is the same thing as turning up noses at someone who will do the other "dirty jobs" for low pay that keep many things -- like the food and restaurant businesses -- running. It's fine if it's not your cuppa, but someone else doing it is neither evil nor detrimental to the rest of us.

gettingby
05-05-2008, 04:05 AM
There is a problem with paying writers this low and taking jobs that are so low paying. I think all of you must realize that deep down inside because you have to know you are worth more. $2 per story is not going to help anyone any more than collecting and recycling cans.

JeanneTGC
05-05-2008, 04:18 AM
There is a problem with paying writers this low and taking jobs that are so low paying. I think all of you must realize that deep down inside because you have to know you are worth more. $2 per story is not going to help anyone any more than collecting and recycling cans.
Really? Yet it's something that a stay-at-home parent can do while taking care of the kids and the house because it's not a lot of work to pound out a couple of hundred words here and there. Many of us do that in one or two posts on AW.

I also happen to know writers who are out there trying to find cans to recycle to pay for their ink, paper and postage. So, um, yeah, I think a couple of bucks for, in some cases, 5 minutes writing effort (if you're fast) and maybe 30 minutes (if you're not) is, frankly, nothing to be insulting or insulted about.

Truly, until you're walking in someone else's shoes, and, more importantly, paying someone else's bills, no one has the right to belittle what others are doing to earn money in a legal way. This is writing random blog posts on the cheap, not selling off the Great American Novel for tuppence.

gettingby
05-05-2008, 04:25 AM
Don't get so upset. I still say there is no need to even think about taking these jobs. There are tons of places that actually pay! $2 or $5 for a story is not really payment! I think people who take such low-paying or no-paying gigs are selling themselves short. If you are any good and you believe you are worth it, someone will pay you a fair amount.

Birol
05-05-2008, 04:26 AM
When did I turn my nose up at anyone, Jeanne? The truth of the matter is, as long as their are writers who are willing to work for substandard wages, the amount that the industry is willing to pay all writers will suffer. It's a simple matter of supply and demand.


I still say there is no need to even think about taking these jobs. There are tons of places that actually pay! $2 or $5 for a story is not really payment! I think people who take such low-paying or no-paying gigs are selling themselves short. If you are any good and you believe you are worth it, someone will pay you a fair amount.

Exactly so.

Matera the Mad
05-05-2008, 04:43 AM
And what is "the industry"? Do you really think that penny-a-word website rating boosting content is competing with real writing?

JeanneTGC
05-05-2008, 05:56 AM
When did I turn my nose up at anyone, Jeanne? The truth of the matter is, as long as their are writers who are willing to work for substandard wages, the amount that the industry is willing to pay all writers will suffer. It's a simple matter of supply and demand.
Substandard wage compared to what?

Comparing a job -- and that's what these blog assignments are, a job -- that pays you X per word or per article to being accepted by a paying publication is comparing apples to oranges.

The only comparison appropriate is between the paying blog sites. Which pays better, which demands what for the best price?

Additionally, supply and demand is saying that there are enough active blog sites out there that several someones are PAYING people to do what everyone on THIS site does for free. To me, that shows there is a market, likely in its infancy. In a few years, who knows? Maybe those blog sites will be paying big bucks and only allowing in a few "new" bloggers every month because they have such good stuff...and are paying for it. Could it happen? Sure. Will it? Who knows? That's what make the future interesting.

As Matera said, how in the world are paid blog posts affecting whether or not someone gets a fiction piece in the New Yorker or a freelance piece in the Atlantic?

And, Lori, "paltry wages" and "detriment to us all" doesn't exactly sound like applause and "go get 'em, tiger". It's a judgment -- yours, which you're certainly entitled to. My judgment is that if someone wants to earn an honest few dollars writing blog posts, more power to them. I don't see them as detrimental to anything, nor do I see a paid blog post as a threat to my ability to sell a piece to a paying pub.

AppleTree76
05-05-2008, 06:21 AM
If someone would pay me $2.00 for every 250 words I wrote, I'd make pretty good money. :D As it is, I'm writing 20,000 words a week for free.

Here, here.

lostgirl
05-05-2008, 06:57 AM
As a "detriment to us all" I will tell you why I took a blogging job for $.01 a word. I can bust out 300 words in 15 minutes or less and it requires absolutely no research and no effort. As a stay at home mom, I bring home 100 bucks a month doing this. Is it great money? No. Does it allow my family to have a little extra spending cash? Yes.

Personally, being called a detriment, because I do what I can to help my family make ends meet, is belittling. A blogging job doesn't require near the work that submitting to glossies does. Do I do that, too? Yes. Do I make money at that as well? Yes. Is it the steady income that I know I'll bring in each month from my blogging? No.

So pardon me if I am hurting the rest of you by working for peanuts but I'm still going to do what I need to so I can help my family make ends meet.

Beyondian
05-05-2008, 07:15 AM
Considering I'm making about $.02 per 100 words... I feel envious of lostgirl now. :D

lostgirl
05-05-2008, 07:18 AM
Personally, I believe a dollar earned is a dollar more than you had to begin with. Rock on with your bad self Beyondian!!! :D

KTC
05-05-2008, 07:21 AM
Keep accepting low paying jobs and they'll keep putting them out there.

Birol
05-05-2008, 07:34 AM
I didn't compare it to submitting to magazine, or glossies, or anything. I believe that was Jeanne.

What writing for blogs is and writing for SEO sites amounts to is creating marketing materials. Professional bloggers are not just generating materials for people to read and pass a few minutes in the evening with. They are driving people to particular sites, particular shows, and particular industries. They are helping generate buzz about a brand, regardless of what the brand and the product may be.

There was a time when creating any marketing materials or white papers were high paying assignments, regardless of the amount of time they took to create, so that $100 a month -- and yes, more power to you if it helps your family have some extra cash in these difficult economic times -- would have been far more than that and far more extra income for your family.

To make $100 a month at $.01 a word, you have to write 10,000 words/month. At 300 words/article, that equals slightly over 33 articles per month. Do you have to do research to create the articles, ever have to look something up, create invoices for your articles, turn them in, do editing, revisions, communicate with the editor, etc.? If so, that's time spent writing, too, even if you aren't actually putting words to the page. That detracts from your hourly wages.

Look, be insulted with me for suggesting that your time and your words are worth more than you're being paid. Be insulted with me for saying that YOU are worth more. That's your choice and your decision. But whether you are writing full-time or part-time, if you are making money from this, then you are in the business of writing. You must approach it as a business.

The future of writing lies in the internet. More and more publications and writing jobs are moving to that media. If those opportunities are devalued now, it will be more difficult for all writers to change that fact later. If you need an example of this fact, look at what the screenwriters recently went through. Because they allowed the studios and producers to pay them paltry wages on DVDs years ago, when that media was in its infancy, the studios and producers thought they could always pay them paltry wages on that media.

The places that run the blogging and SEO sites aren't small businesses. They aren't individuals struggling to get by. They're businesses. They don't care about you as an individual. To them, you are a cog in the wheel that can be replaced as soon as you stop fulfilling their need. To them, all writers will be cogs in the wheel to be discarded, treated poorly, and replaced until all writers insist on being paid what they are worth.

lostgirl
05-05-2008, 07:35 AM
That may be true. Exercise your choice and don't accept those jobs. My problem is being called a detriment for taking a job that works for me and my situation.

edit: And no.. I've never had to look something up, I don't have to do invoices, and I literally spend 15 minutes or less on each article. I'm sorry if I mistook being called a detriment as something bad as opposed to it being a compliment that my time was worth more.

JeanneTGC
05-05-2008, 07:49 AM
The places that run the blogging and SEO sites aren't small businesses. They aren't individuals struggling to get by. They're businesses. They don't care about you as an individual. To them, you are a cog in the wheel that can be replaced as soon as you stop fulfilling their need. To them, all writers will be cogs in the wheel to be discarded, treated poorly, and replaced until all writers insist on being paid what they are worth.
Business does not exist to care or worry about the needs of the individual employees. Business exists to make a profit. Businesses do this by providing goods and services to the marketplace. Every employee, of every company, in the entire world is a cog. Each business belongs to either a principal, a partnership, or to the stockholders. If you work for a business of any kind that you do not own, do not have a partnership in, or are not a majority stockholder in, then you are working for someone else's dream. And to get you to do that, said someone else pays you a wage.

The internet happens to be a global marketplace. Right now, the going rate for blog posting jobs is approx. .01/word. If you don't like that, there is no one forcing you to write these blog posts. However, until you offer a better, more guaranteeable source of income to the writers who are willing to earn money in this fashion, then, I say again, calling them a detriment IS an insult.

mscelina
05-05-2008, 08:00 AM
If you ask me (and no one did) then perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that we don't have a writers' union. Sure, there's the Screenwriter's Guild, and the Author's Guild, and RWA but who represents US? If you hit it big time, then your agent does that--but what about the bloggers, the internet article writers, the people who bang out short story after short story to semi-pro or small magazines and don't quite qualify for the guilds? Who represents OUR interests?

The answer is--nobody. No one does, at least to my knowledge. We have to look after ourselves, and for a lot of us that means doing things we don't want to do--just to pay the bills. Hell, it's obvious the writing industry is moving to the internet--and e-book publication isn't considered at all (because epubs rarely if ever get advances) or, in the case of RWA for example, you have to provide proof of --I believe--$6k in sales for a single title in one year. I could be wrong on that and I'm sure that someone will set me straight, but still--look at SFWA and the eligible publishers' list. Publish with another company, a new one not on the list, and are you eligible? No.

Look, I understand what both sides are saying here. YES, even at small rates of pay, blogging jobs or short article jobs are ideal for some people who can crank out good copy quickly and don't have a lot of extra time to devote to it. (Taking care of a toddler definitely counts.)

And YES, it is a detriment in a way--because since we have no union or guild to protect us, those rates of pay are going to remain the same.

No one here is discrediting what anyone else does as best I can tell. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to take the same position.

Birol
05-05-2008, 08:14 AM
First, if you're freelancing, you're not an employee. You are in business. For yourself. Let's be clear about that. Freelancers are, by their nature, not employees. They are self-employed individuals contracted by others. That means they are free to set the wages they will and will not accept. If the majority of freelancers say no to substandard wages, then the wages will go up, because the work will still have to be completed.

Second, every employee is not a cog. Some are valued more than others. Some businesses, often small businesses, value the individuals who work for them and help make the business succeed more than others.

Third, this is actually no set definition of what "going into business" or "being in business" is. For example, if someone tells you that they are going to school to "become a journalist" or to "become a doctor" or to "become a lawyer," there is some concept of what those professions are and do. But if someone is going to school to "become a businessman," that could mean any number of things. While the current default business model is one in which profit is earned and everything about the current business model is meant to drive the profit margins and the bottom line.

However, you can still "be in business" and not have profit be the primary motivating factor. What a business actually does is deliver a set product to a consumer. That's it. That's all. This product can be almost anything. How the business measures its success can also be done in any number of ways. It can be done by how happy its employees are, by how much its product helps the community or environment, or by how well it fulfills a need.

Now, again, I recognize and know that the current default standard of a successful business is based upon profit margins, as they relate to monetary returns. It's an easily measured amount. Just like writers who want readers will talk about how much they earn in a year in order to gauge their popularity with writers, so do businesses. However, businesses often artificially inflate this measurement by undercutting their suppliers. In the specific case we are talking about the writers are suppliers. Again, as freelancers, writers are not employees. Should the writers accept this? I say no.

akiwiguy
05-05-2008, 08:44 AM
Can someone enlighten me... what exactly is the nature of that guy's business? And in the context of this discussion what is SEO. I do understand the use of SEO as in Search Engine Optimization but, forgive my naivety, everyone here seems to be discussing something that they understand as writers but I don't.

He says he has "thousands" of websites.. I somehow have a vague picture of using cheap content to generate web traffic, and probably some sort of multi-level marketing scheme. Is that it? It's probably a daft question to the enlightened, but not something I've ever known much about.

Birol
05-05-2008, 08:55 AM
He says he has "thousands" of websites.. I somehow have a vague picture of using cheap content to generate web traffic, and probably some sort of multi-level marketing scheme. Is that it? It's probably a daft question to the enlightened, but not something I've ever known much about.

I don't think it's a daft question. I believe you've described the business model represented by the ad in question fairly well.

IceCreamEmpress
05-05-2008, 09:40 AM
Can someone enlighten me... what exactly is the nature of that guy's business? And in the context of this discussion what is SEO. I do understand the use of SEO as in Search Engine Optimization but, forgive my naivety, everyone here seems to be discussing something that they understand as writers but I don't.

Basically, the idea is to write "original" content for the website that uses search engine buzzwords in reasonably coherent English prose.

So, for instance, if the assignment was to write 50 words about the expensive shoe brand Les Miserables, you'd write:

The Les Miserables shoe company is known for its luxurious, hand-crafted shoes. With styles ranging from flats to wedges to platforms to stilettos, these designer shoes can be compared to other high-end labels like Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Louboutin, and other shoes you might buy in chic stores like Saks, Neiman-Marcus, and Barneys New York. Whether you buy them online, in a local mall, or on Rodeo Drive, you'll agree that these shoes are straight out of Sex and the City!

You get the idea, I hope.


He says he has "thousands" of websites.. I somehow have a vague picture of using cheap content to generate web traffic, and probably some sort of multi-level marketing scheme. Is that it?

Yep, that's about what people are looking for at that price point.

Susan Gable
05-05-2008, 06:12 PM
If you ask me (and no one did) then perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that we don't have a writers' union. Sure, there's the Screenwriter's Guild, and the Author's Guild, and RWA but who represents US? If you hit it big time, then your agent does that--but what about the bloggers, the internet article writers, the people who bang out short story after short story to semi-pro or small magazines and don't quite qualify for the guilds? Who represents OUR interests?

... in the case of RWA for example, you have to provide proof of --I believe--$6k in sales for a single title in one year. I could be wrong on that and I'm sure that someone will set me straight, but still--look at SFWA and the eligible publishers' list. Publish with another company, a new one not on the list, and are you eligible? No.

.

I'm here to set you straight. :)

Just FYI, RWA is NOT a UNION at all. They have no impact on what people get paid, believe me. They can't negotiate for their writers, etc.

Also, it's relatively easy to find out what the qualifications are for RWA. Just go look on their website.

ANYBODY who claims they are pursuing professional publication as a romance writer can join RWA.

To be a member of PAN - their Published Author Network, you don't have to prove you made anywhere NEAR $6,000 in sales for a single title in one year. It's $1,000, and for a novel, that's peanuts. Here's the information from RWA's website:


Any RWA General or Honorary member in good standing who has either: (1) earned at least $1,000 in the form of an advance on a single romance novel or novella published by a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher (“Option One”); or (2) who has earned at least $1,000 in the form of royalties or a combination of advance plus royalties on a single published romance novel or novella published by a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher (“Option Two”) shall be eligible for membership in PAN.

Option 1 and Option 2 are ways to prove what you made.

That information was easy to find. Google is your friend.

Susan G.

Kitrianna
05-05-2008, 11:48 PM
Write 401-500 words on a subject chosen by someone else to earn enough to go out and buy milk for the week. No thank you. I don't have a problem with writing for milk money perse, but it had better be on a subject that I REALLY want to write about and that usually has to do with some plot idea that I hatched while doing the dishes or feeding the cats. It's sad that companies want to be so cheap with talented people, but that's the way the world seems to work these days.

slcboston
05-05-2008, 11:56 PM
I have less a problem with the writers who do respond to these low paying ads (gotta pay the gas bill somehow, after all) then with the people I see posting to a freelance site I had to sign up for to work for a local company (long boring story).

At least once a week someone posts that they need someone to write a speech for them. Not a business speech, mind you, but something to give at their friend's wedding because they're the best man. Or at their kid's graduation.

Maybe it's just me, but the idea of letting a third party write something that's supposed to be personal and heartfelt - and SHORT, at that - seems shallow to me. It makes me wonder about a society where we'd rather shell out twenty bucks than take the time to do something meaningful.

But I'm a grumpy cynic. :)

Kitrianna
05-07-2008, 09:13 PM
I have less a problem with the writers who do respond to these low paying ads (gotta pay the gas bill somehow, after all) then with the people I see posting to a freelance site I had to sign up for to work for a local company (long boring story).

At least once a week someone posts that they need someone to write a speech for them. Not a business speech, mind you, but something to give at their friend's wedding because they're the best man. Or at their kid's graduation.

Maybe it's just me, but the idea of letting a third party write something that's supposed to be personal and heartfelt - and SHORT, at that - seems shallow to me. It makes me wonder about a society where we'd rather shell out twenty bucks than take the time to do something meaningful.

But I'm a grumpy cynic. :)

Love, you are not alone. I would personally KILL anyone who did that to me. If I ask you to make a personal speech at my wedding and you can't take up a small amount of your precious time to write it...well I'll be nice and just not go there today. Just proves what the hubs and I were talking about when we're taking a casual stroll this morning...society these days is just too much in a hurry to slow down and enjoy the ride/smell the roses/insert your own saying here. It's kind of sad really when people can't make time to do something that could be so special for people that they love and who love them.

Bartholomew
05-07-2008, 11:55 PM
I've worked for that little. Such jobs are criminal, imo, and there are many people who refuse to honor those agreements and actually pay the little money they've promised.

Be wary if you choose to write SEO for someone.

mscelina
05-08-2008, 12:43 AM
I'm here to set you straight. :)

Just FYI, RWA is NOT a UNION at all. They have no impact on what people get paid, believe me. They can't negotiate for their writers, etc.

Also, it's relatively easy to find out what the qualifications are for RWA. Just go look on their website.

ANYBODY who claims they are pursuing professional publication as a romance writer can join RWA.

To be a member of PAN - their Published Author Network, you don't have to prove you made anywhere NEAR $6,000 in sales for a single title in one year. It's $1,000, and for a novel, that's peanuts. Here's the information from RWA's website:



Option 1 and Option 2 are ways to prove what you made.

That information was easy to find. Google is your friend.

Susan G.

Thank you. Google is my friend when I'm not at work and have the time (and inclination) to use it. I appreciate you straightening me out on a day when my brain was obviously fried. I certainly was aware that RWA wasn't a union, and I do know about PAN and all of the controversies surrounding it last summer when e-book publishers were up in arms about the qualifications to join it--and their deliberate exclusion by the board.

However, I have a bit more leisure today.

Despite not being a union, RWA does offer advocacy as one of its member benefits. Their benefits page (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/become_a_member/member_benefits) states this quite clearly:



Advocacy – RWA advocates for the best publishing practices for its members including fair contracts from both publishers and agents.



They do not elaborate on what those advocacy efforts entail. SFWA's benefits page (http://www.sfwa.org/org/services.htm)is a bit more specific:



The SFWA Grievance Committee investigates claims of illegal or unethical contracts, assertions of plagiarism, evidence of contract violation by editors and publishers, misuse of royalty statements and funds, and other complaints of professional concern. The Grievance Committee keeps the identity of complaining members confidential. Grievance Committee reports in the Forum never contain the name of the member whose complaint spurred the investigation, except when appropriate and with the member's permission.


However, in order to receive the above benefits, you must meet these qualifications: (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#Q1)




To become an Active member of SFWA, applicants must demonstrate either:


Three Paid Sales (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#qual) of prose fiction (such as short stories) to Qualifying Professional Markets (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#list), with each paid at the rate of 5c/word or higher (3c/word before 1/1/2004), for a cumulative total of $250, minimum $50 apiece; or

One Paid Sale (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#qual) of a prose fiction book to a Qualifying Professional Market (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#list), for which the author has been paid $2000 or more; or

One professionally produced full length dramatic script, with credits acceptable to the Membership Committee.
"Paid Sale" and "Qualifying Professional Market" are as defined below. (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#qual)

To become an Associate member of SFWA, applicants must demonstrate:


One Paid Sale (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#qual) of prose fiction (such as short stories) to a Qualifying Professional Market (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#list), paid at the rate of 5c/word or higher (3c/word before 1/1/2004), minimum $75.


My POINT was (and I probably should have used SFWA as my example, being as it's the one I'm most familiar with) that in order to obtain any sort of advocacy, a writer must have sales--professional sales--FIRST. That means that anyone starting out, hitting semi-pro markets to get their feet wet, is on their own. They have no one to represent THEIR interests--no one to crack down on these writing mill jobs that pay peanuts.

There is NO ADVOCACY FOR THE MAJORITY OF WRITERS. I don't have a problem with requirements to join a union or guild; hell, almost all of them have an apprenticeship period--god knows the theatrical guilds do! But when you look at the differences between RWA, which is (as Susan pointed out) open to every romance writer regardless of publication and SFWA, who have very stringent membership requirements, the differences in advocacy are gaping.

Even if you qualify for PAN (which e-published authors do NOT) this is its mission statement:


The purpose of PAN (Published Authors Network) is to establish within the RWA framework a network of communication and support to effectively promote and protect the interests of published romance authors; to open channels of communication between those romance authors and other publishing industry professionals; and to encourage professionalism on all levels and in all relationships within the publishing industry.


So where is the advocacy? There isn't any. As long as there isn't an active writers' union for fiction writers that fights against these low-paying jobs, there won't be any.

chartreuse
05-08-2008, 09:21 PM
This ad is a good example of why the Internet is filled with so much junk. Too many people start websites and just want to fill up the space with words, regardless of whether or not those words are thought-provoking or useful in any way. People who run these sites don't have any real message to get across and aren't interested in performing any real service or function. They just want to slap up the sites and find a way to use them to generate ad revenue. The amount they actually make, even with "a thousand" sites, is pretty paltry, so there's certainly not a lot left over for the writers. But then, the type of paint-by-numbers content we're talking about doesn't really take a lot of originality or effort anyway.

Tirjasdyn
05-08-2008, 09:25 PM
Lol

SEO is really a losers game. You'd be better off to pay for feature links.

James81
05-08-2008, 09:32 PM
I made this post yesterday, that was 391 words:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2330821&postcount=5

It took me all of 5 minutes to write and if I had editted it, maybe another 5 or 10 minutes to get it just right. So about 400 words takes me about 15 minutes to polish.

If someone were going to give me $3.50 for 15 minutes of my time, for something so ridiculously short (or shorter) than that post, then hell yeah I'd do it. That's about $14 an hour. In some places, that's not too bad a wage, and for a part time gig, it's an excellent wage.

Assuming you could do 250-300 words in 15 minutes. :D

inkkognito
05-08-2008, 11:20 PM
Don't forget to factor in taxes tho'. If you're in the U.S., you have to figure roughly 1/3 of that is going to have to go to the IRS.

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 01:39 AM
As a "detriment to us all" I will tell you why I took a blogging job for $.01 a word. I can bust out 300 words in 15 minutes or less and it requires absolutely no research and no effort. As a stay at home mom, I bring home 100 bucks a month doing this. Is it great money? No. Does it allow my family to have a little extra spending cash? Yes.

Personally, being called a detriment, because I do what I can to help my family make ends meet, is belittling. A blogging job doesn't require near the work that submitting to glossies does. Do I do that, too? Yes. Do I make money at that as well? Yes. Is it the steady income that I know I'll bring in each month from my blogging? No.

So pardon me if I am hurting the rest of you by working for peanuts but I'm still going to do what I need to so I can help my family make ends meet.


I accept and respect the fact that you need to do some sort of work at home for pay to help your family financially, but that said, the type of writing"where you splat out articles or blog posts over and over spending only a few minutes each on them has very little to do with either the art or craft of writing. It really isn't much different from those address and stuff envelopes at home schemes. I understand why you do it, but I don't think it makes you a writer in any significant sense.

benbradley
05-09-2008, 02:30 AM
For some, these paltry wages help out quite a bit for their monthly bottom line and also allow the writer to earn some paid writing credits.

Is it the same as being a regular paid contributor to the Atlantic Monthly? No, it's not. However, not everyone can and will be a paid contributor to the Atlantic Monthly.
But does "SEO writing" ACTUALLY count as PAID writing credits? I've got the same impression of it (actually a little lower, reading this thread) as of Associated Content, Constant Content and Helium and such. I surfed a couple of those sites about a year ago, and the first thing that came to mind was "I can write better than this! I should write a few articles and see what happens." and then I looked into the threads on these in the freelancing forum (look for that sticky post that indexes lots of the relevant threads!) and actually asked about doing it (someone suggested if I do it, I should use a pseudonym - how's that for an endorsement...). The consensus appeared to be it would not be a good start to anyone's writing carreer.

OTOH, a year later I still haven't been paid for anything I've written... maybe I'll start submitting ...

The paying someone to write a wedding speech thing is, well, I guess both funny and tragic. It might be excusable and understandable if the speech giver asked a mutual friend or two "I've been asked to speak, I'm stuck - what do I say?" but to PAY a stranger to write it, geez. I wrote the history of a website in 2005 (that should be barely enough info to find it...), and I only did a little 'research' to remind myself of the exact dates five years earlier when the site was announced and went live. It would have taken a LOT of research (archive.org is the net.researcher's friend) for someone unfamiliar with the site to have researched it and written what I did. I didn't feel my writing was "great" and cringed when I sent the email off, but they (site maintainers) liked it and put it up without any edits.

akiwiguy
05-09-2008, 03:41 AM
The paying someone to write a wedding speech thing is, well, I guess both funny and tragic.


I'd get a bit sick of churning out the "and they all lived happily ever after" endings. A highly implausible plot.


Regarding SEO stuff, I have a real issue with the ethics of people flooding the web with this stuff. I'm not talking the ones down the line trying to make an honest buck.

The whole SEO buzzword thing frankly nauseates me, because forgetting legitimate sites, what I'm reading 99% of the time is techniques on how to make total crap with no content appear to search engines to be not crap with lots of content. It's playing with the letter of the laws concerning pyramid selling and spam half the time. I am absolutely sick of searching for perfectly intelligent information and having to wade through pages of shit that has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic in question. But more to the point, there has always been an alternative to get-rich-quick-schemes, called go and get some real skills that are marketable and will make you an honest living.

Note, re-read what i said... I am not criticising those who need to make a few bucks for their family. But to me, I will say.. you're probably being used and quite unethically.

maggieuc
05-09-2008, 03:49 AM
I saw something similar to this in the Cincy Craigslist too! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Or maybe shake my fist at the injustice:rant:.

blueobsidian
05-09-2008, 04:28 AM
If someone were going to give me $3.50 for 15 minutes of my time, for something so ridiculously short (or shorter) than that post, then hell yeah I'd do it. That's about $14 an hour. In some places, that's not too bad a wage, and for a part time gig, it's an excellent wage.


I feel the same way. If I just sit down and bang out the text, I can write over 2200 words an hour. I wouldn't take anything of that type that required research or perfected prose but I would do it if it would be quick. I certainly don't think it's any worse use of my time than posting on message boards!

I wouldn't use that kind of writing as clips, and I actually prefer to take them as ghostwriting or using a different pen name so they aren't connected to my other writing. But for me, $5 does make a difference in my weekly budget. I can make my lunches for a full work week on that amount of money. The economy is really starting to affect my day job as well.

But then again, I also save my soda cans and return them for cash.

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 04:40 AM
I

I wouldn't use that kind of writing as clips, and I actually prefer to take them as ghostwriting or using a different pen name so they aren't connected to my other writing. But for me, $5 does make a difference in my weekly budget. I can make my lunches for a full work week on that amount of money. The economy is really starting to affect my day job as well.

But then again, I also save my soda cans and return them for cash.

Basically what I hear you saying is that you are ashamed of this kind of writing, but are willing to churn out crap for cash - a sad commentary on the state of the economy that you have to do this.

JeanneTGC
05-09-2008, 06:14 AM
Basically what I hear you saying is that you are ashamed of this kind of writing, but are willing to churn out crap for cash - a sad commentary on the state of the economy that you have to do this.
She could go beg on the streets, but instead she's writing a paid blog post. Wow, I think your commentary is sadder than anything blueobsidian is doing.

JeanneTGC
05-09-2008, 06:20 AM
I accept and respect the fact that you need to do some sort of work at home for pay to help your family financially, but that said, the type of writing"where you splat out articles or blog posts over and over spending only a few minutes each on them has very little to do with either the art or craft of writing. It really isn't much different from those address and stuff envelopes at home schemes. I understand why you do it, but I don't think it makes you a writer in any significant sense.
And, what gives you the right to pass judgment on ANYthing someone ELSE is doing that is LEGAL to earn money?

Are you offering to pay LostGirl's or blueobsidian's bills? If you are, then by all means, feel free to belittle them if they refuse your largesse and instead earn money themselves. If you are NOT, and so far as I can tell, no one here is, in fact, offering to cover their bills, then you have no right to pass judgments on how they earn money. It's legal, and hurts no one -- yes, yes, I've heard the arguments. I could go into a long disseration about business economics, but suffice to say that from a market and business sense the "devalues us all" arguments hold no water.

Heaven forbid people did something less than "elite" in order to earn money. We wouldn't want someone to make ends meet when they could instead starve poetically in a drafty attic somewhere.

JeanneTGC
05-09-2008, 06:24 AM
Don't forget to factor in taxes tho'. If you're in the U.S., you have to figure roughly 1/3 of that is going to have to go to the IRS.
Only if your income is such that it's taxable. There are a lot of people living at or under the poverty line. Many of them have internet access. Some of them are on these boards.

No matter what you make, the government under which you live taxes you. That's the only other thing certain after death.

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 07:33 AM
And, what gives you the right to pass judgment on ANYthing someone ELSE is doing that is LEGAL to earn money?

I am most definitely not passing judgment on the PEOPLE who do this kind of writing. I respect the fact that that is what they need to do for their financial well-being. I am passing judgment on the kind of writing that results when people take very low paying SEO and blog jobs in order to make money.

JeanneTGC
05-09-2008, 07:49 AM
I am most definitely not passing judgment on the PEOPLE who do this kind of writing. I respect the fact that that is what they need to do for their financial well-being. I am passing judgment on the kind of writing that results when people take very low paying SEO and blog jobs in order to make money.
Um...so what?

Are you seriously sitting there saying that the only writing that matters is lofty, literary and classic? That's fine FOR YOU. You again have no right to tell anyone else that their writing, their work, isn't good enough for them to do.

No one is trying to make you do this kind of writing. Alternately, none of the people doing this kind of writing are sitting around condemning whatever kind of writing, or work, it is that you do.

Have you bothered to actually read any of the paid posts? Not those you assume are paid, but the ones that actually are? I have. They're a lot more coherent than much of what you find out there -- because the writers are taking time to write well, even if it's short and they don't have to put hours into crafting. And they're taking the time to craft because they're being paid to do it.

Like all paying jobs, if someone doesn't do what's expected of the job, they're let go. Unlike many paying jobs, this is one that people with small children, no reliable transportation, or other reasons for needing to remain in the home can do. It's not work you want to do? Fine, don't do it. But stop insulting the people who ARE doing it -- because it's legal and they are hurting no one while helping to provide for their families.

IceCreamEmpress
05-09-2008, 08:01 AM
But does "SEO writing" ACTUALLY count as PAID writing credits?

It's very low-paid, low-skill copywriting.

If people use that as a stepping-stone into better-quality, better-paid copywriting assignments, more power to them.

I do think that folks who are doing this work as entry-level employees are often exploited by unscrupulous employers. But sometimes people have to do the work they can find.

Birol
05-09-2008, 09:55 AM
Jeanne, please stop putting words into people's mouths. The only individual comparing SEO work to anything other than similar type copywriting assignments is you. No one else has mentioned magazines, literary writing, etc. Also, no one has insulted the writers. What they have mentioned is that it is low-pay for the type of working being done. No one has condemned anyone for doing what they have to do to pay the bills; they have only said that the writers are not being paid what they are worth.

lostgirl
05-09-2008, 07:00 PM
Jeanne, please stop putting words into people's mouths. The only individual comparing SEO work to anything other than similar type copywriting assignments is you. No one else has mentioned magazines, literary writing, etc. Also, no one has insulted the writers. What they have mentioned is that it is low-pay for the type of working being done. No one has condemned anyone for doing what they have to do to pay the bills; they have only said that the writers are not being paid what they are worth.

bolding is mine


I accept and respect the fact that you need to do some sort of work at home for pay to help your family financially, but that said, the type of writing"where you splat out articles or blog posts over and over spending only a few minutes each on them has very little to do with either the art or craft of writing. It really isn't much different from those address and stuff envelopes at home schemes. I understand why you do it, but I don't think it makes you a writer in any significant sense.

(bolding mine) this insults me as a writer. Tish is making judgments on the quality of my writing and is saying because I do this job I'm not a real writer. Tish doesn't know anything about the quality of my writing or what else I might write, but rather makes sweeping judgments about it instead.


Basically what I hear you saying is that you are ashamed of this kind of writing, but are willing to churn out crap for cash - a sad commentary on the state of the economy that you have to do this.

(bolding mine) I also find this offensive. I do not ever write crap. I never turn out a substandard product no matter what the pay is.


I am most definitely not passing judgment on the PEOPLE who do this kind of writing. I respect the fact that that is what they need to do for their financial well-being. I am passing judgment on the kind of writing that results when people take very low paying SEO and blog jobs in order to make money.

(bolding mine) I also find this insulting.. again it's that the writing is poor and shoddy work because the level of pay.

Some people type fast and believe it or not some people can type fast and produce well written blogs that are fun to read. To automatically equate the fact that I type 95 words a minute and have a passing knowledge of stuff I blog about = writing substandard content and doesn't qualify me as a writer of any merit is insulting.

Lets face it, writers that don't do the low paying blog writing here aren't insulted. The ones that do supplement their living with same said low paying jobs are offended. I know I'm not the only one who has taken offense from the way we're talked about on this thread as a detriment to writers and that its assumed we write crap for cash.

CDarklock
05-09-2008, 07:19 PM
Lets face it, writers that don't do the low paying blog writing here aren't insulted.

I think what it comes down to is that this kind of writing offends people.

When you write a bunch of product advertisements that use popular search terms, that makes it harder for me to find what I want to find. It's reverse-spamming. I go to a search engine and type in my terms, and I find myself looking at several pages of advertising for crap I don't want.

The advertiser, for whatever reason, thinks that I will actually buy this product. What? Why would I do that? I'm looking for something, and this isn't it. I'm hitting the "back" button. It's just like the guy who sneaks his ads into my email; he's carefully crafted this horrific illegible monstrosity to slip past my spam filters, because clearly the only reason I don't want his product must be that I don't know about it. Damn spam filters! Getting in the way of his business like that! How dare they?!

I don't think you should do this job. I think it's wrong. I think it is morally reprehensible and preys on the innocent. If you don't care, that's fine; morality is a luxury, and given the choice of starving children or an SEO job, I'd take the SEO job myself. But I'd look awfully hard for other choices.

Christine N.
05-09-2008, 07:27 PM
My issue is not that it's done, but that the market value of it is SO LOW. That no one actually values the effort or talent of the writer.

Then you have the double-edged sword - the writer takes it to make ends meet, and because there are writers that will take the low pay, the pay continues to be low. It's Catch-22 (not to use too many cliches). I agree with whoever said the problem is there's no SAG or scale for this type of work. Even movie extras get minimum amounts based on a scale. But for writers, people will pay as little as someone will accept. If you don't take it, there is someone else who will. The overall effect on ALL writers is more lower paying jobs, and the value (monetarily, not quality) of the work is depressed across the board.

You need to pay the bills, but wouldn't it be better if you could get paid what you're actually worth?

lostgirl
05-09-2008, 07:34 PM
I'm bowing out now.

I misunderstood the whole direction of this thread. I'll admit that I got fired up being called a detriment to writers because I took a blogging job for a penny a word. I'll admit that I also didn't pay attention to what kind of blogs were being talked about: SEO copy advertising as mentioned in the original post of this thread.

I don't write SEO content. I don't think poorly on those who do. I just do simple blogging on a multitude of different subjects. I'm still offended by the fact that its implied that I write crap because I blog for low pay. But its not worth getting more fired up than I already am. I have writing to do, other than my blogging job, I also have my national glossies articles to write, a children's short story collection to finish for publication, and some graphic work to complete.

I guess I'm lucky that some people are willing to pay top dollar for my crap.

inkkognito
05-09-2008, 07:35 PM
When you write a bunch of product advertisements that use popular search terms, that makes it harder for me to find what I want to find. It's reverse-spamming. I go to a search engine and type in my terms, and I find myself looking at several pages of advertising for crap I don't want.
Very good point. When I started this thread, I wasn't thinking about the morality of SEO writing, just the insultingly low wage in so many craigslist ads. As I pondered it, I thought that perhaps it wasn't so different than when I used to do newspaper stringing. Boring stories about boring meetings, but I did it strictly for the $$ (although I had no problem with putting my byline on them). But the pay wasn't as bad as SEO and I wasn't doing something that could be detrimental to others, i.e. kludging up search engine results. That adds a new consideration. What if someone asked me to write spam that I knew was going to be forced upon unwanting recipients? What if they even offered a decent wage for it? Hmmmm....

CDarklock
05-09-2008, 08:08 PM
What if someone asked me to write spam that I knew was going to be forced upon unwanting recipients?

Backend royalties. I want a hundredth of a cent for every spam you send. That's about $800 per batch for most spammers.

Remember, a custom professionally-written message will go right through most spam filters. It's definitely worth it to the spammer, and if you write enough of these, you could make a comfortable income.

I still don't recommend it, but that's me personally, not me businesswise. ;)

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 08:19 PM
I think writing spam and writing for term paper mills are different from low paying SEO and blog posting. Spam in some jurisdictions is illegal and writing term papers that you know others pass will off as their own is at best unethical no matter what the pay.

As a final (I hope) thought to people who do take very low paying SEO and blog post work: If you are a fast enough and accurate enough writer to make any significant amount of money (significant defined as making a difference in your life) writing for a couple of dollars an article or pennies a post, they you are seriously underselling yourself and should be looking for higher paying writing work.

myscribe
05-09-2008, 08:19 PM
I think what it comes down to is that this kind of writing offends people.

This is incredibly harsh. This "kind of writing" doesn't offend me in the least. No one is forcing me to read it. If I come upon it as a result of a search, I can leave. If it's in my inbox, I delete it. It's advertising. Advertising is here to stay, and if it offends you then turn off the TV or Internet.

Advertising isn't going anywhere, and if you are earning money as an advertising writer then you have nothing of which to be ashamed. No one has the right to tell someone else that the pay is too little or that what they are doing is wrong (as long as it's legal). It's about choice and your decision to make the one that is best for you at the time.

Cranky
05-09-2008, 08:19 PM
RE: Tish's last post:

Who says that's all they do?

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 10:35 PM
RE: Trish's last post:

Who says that's all they do?


First, its Tish, not Trish.

Second, Nobody has said that is all people do, but if you read the whole thread, you can see that we are talking about taking VERY LOW PAYING SEO and minimally paid blog posting done only for pay, not out of interest in or passion for the topic.

Can you give me one good reason why writers who claim that they can write a multitude of intelligent, articulate 250-300 word SEO articles in 5-15 minutes and who are doing it only for the pay should not be doing for better paying work? I can't think of a single rational reason, so the only conclusion I can come to is that either a) they are underselling themselves or b) they know that that what they are writing won't pass muster in a better paying, more selective market, and they don't want to put in the effort to write something better. I hate to see good writers undersell themselves.

Cranky
05-09-2008, 10:38 PM
First, I apologize for misspelling your name. Second, I did read the entire thread, thank you very miuch.

As for the rest...forget it. I'm not in the mood to fight.

CDarklock
05-09-2008, 10:47 PM
This "kind of writing" doesn't offend me in the least.

I didn't say it offends everybody. I said it offends people, because it does. It offends me, it offends my wife, that's "people". That's not "incredibly harsh", it's true.

I don't have a problem with advertising in the sense of "a message from our sponsor". Someone has to pay the money to produce the content I want. If an advertiser does that, then I don't have to, and I like that.

However, I do have a problem with advertising that relies on fraud and trickery to relay its message. SEO pages deliberately infiltrate the search results for something you want, leading you to a page about something else. They don't support anything you want. They're just leeches.

Now, if you don't care about that, great! Delete your spam and hit your back button. But the guy who posted the original ad isn't talking about one article. He's talking about thousands of articles, each of which will come up on millions of searches, and exactly how many people are going to waste their time clicking on that link and then hitting the back button?

I think that sucks. Sure, it's not me, it doesn't affect me, I don't lose anything... but it sucks, all the same.

blueobsidian
05-10-2008, 01:02 AM
Basically what I hear you saying is that you are ashamed of this kind of writing, but are willing to churn out crap for cash - a sad commentary on the state of the economy that you have to do this.

Actually, I do not believe that the things I write quickly are crap. Even when writing fast I try to make my writing the best it can be. My goal is to learn from every writing project I take on, and that includes SEO-type work. Knowing how to optimize your writing for search engines comes in handy with every type of internet writing, including blogs which seem to be a perfectly acceptable way to earn a little extra cash online.

I don't believe I'm the first person who has ever had to take work that might be beneath their talents to pay the bills. I also don't believe it is specific to this economy. Personally, I would like to keep my internet connection to make it easier for me to pursue higher and higher paying venues. If I can make $5 toward that bill in 15 or 20 minutes, I probably will do it. Sure I still pursue much better venues, and am accumulating clips. However it is a more competitive game and often takes longer to get responses. If I only pursued things that I was passionate about, I would have to go back to working a second job and not having the energy to write.

At this point, all I wish is that I hadn't chimed into this discussion. I'm fine with my decisions. I'm sorry others of you are not, but we are obviously not going to change each other's minds.