Monthly Archives: August 2012

A place to get work — for pennies

I try to concentrate on worthwhile markets for freelancers in this blog, but I just couldn't resist offering this example of how paying writers as little as possible for work is presented on the other side of the fence.

A recent article in a publication called Virtual Strategy Magazine lauds a new site called Article Teller which, like several other similar sites, brings freelancers together with potential clients. In this case, says the article, it's a really cool site because the rates that a business would have to pay for an article are so low:

In most cases, the press releases, SEO content, Web content, blog posts and other freelance writing projects that are produced cost less than a cup of coffee. In fact, at Article Teller (http://www.articleteller.com), rates can range from $0.01 to just $0.0075 per word, depending on the length of the job.

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There aren't any extra zeroes in that figure: 1,000 words of professionally written content costs just $7.50. And if the quality of the writing doesn't live up to expectation, the client doesn't pay for it.

In other words, the entire premise of the site is to provide content as dirt-cheap as possible — and the expectation apparently is that writers will provide high-quality content for nearly no pay.

"We are finding more and more professional writers are ready to help business owners," Holmes said. "It's time for well-written SEO content, Web content, blog posts, articles, press releases, e-books and other business writing or rewriting needs to become affordable to literally anyone. Article Teller is the site to make it happen."

I'm sure that at least some of Article Teller's clients will find writers who will submit long articles for pennies. Whether the term "professional" will apply is another question entirely.

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Editor & Publisher: Freelancer fees aren’t going to increase

Editor & Publisher released the results of a survey of 771 editors, and found that freelancer rates aren't likely to get better anytime soon. According to the publication:

The pay stinks but at least there???s plenty of it. Freelance writers shouldn???t bank on rates increasing anytime soon and may actually see their pay, already stagnant for years, fall if the results of a recent editor poll conducted by Editor & Publisher and Ebyline are any indication. Just eight percent of editors polled said they thought freelance rates were likely to increase in the next 12 months, although 28% said they thought they???ll use freelancers more in the next year.

Besides the news that there may be more freelance assignments available (possibly due to the fact that publications still haven't replaced the personnel they let go during the economic downturn), the other positive sign is that websites are more likely to raise freelancer fees than hardcopy magazines. A word to the wise.

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Heart and Soul Magazine leaves its freelancers in the lurch

An unfortunately familiar story: A magazine with financial difficulties decides to ease its burden by not paying its freelancers. This one is Heart and Soul Magazine, which changed ownership last year.??According to??an article in NewsOne,??the magazine claimed that the administration switch caused the delay; however, the situation has apparently only eased somewhat, and mostly due to action by some of the writers:??

In November 2011, three of the dozen or so unpaid writers took action, contacting the National Writer???s Union (NWU) and launching a united campaign against Heart and Soul. While the efforts of Katti Gray, Pamela Johnson, and Sheree Crute eventually resulted in their compensation, along with a few others this May, the magazine not only paid many up to a year late, but it still owes around $150,000 to at least a dozen more freelancers as of press time, with $100,000 of the monies being owed to editors alone, according to the NWU.

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Need a workspace? A new service called Loosecubes wants to help.

A new concept in workspaces, Loosecubes is an online services currently in an invite-only beta that helps freelancers who can't (or don't want to) work at home or at the nearest Starbucks to find a cube or other workspace. You basically search a list for available workspaces and book it for the day. You are provided with a place to work and a Wi-Fi connection — you're responsible for the rest.

It's an interesting idea. I'm a little confused as to what advantage this has for the person hosting the space; according to the Loosecubes FAQ, a host's regular workers "gain immediate access to our network of cubes" — I take this to mean that a host's employees and regular freelancers get preference in the queue for workspaces. In addition, the host gets to meet freelancers that they might use, which strikes me as a bit chancy, considering that the freelancer's talents may have nothing to do with your business.

Still, it could be worth a shot. If anyone does try out Loosecubes, I'd be interested to know how well it works.

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Video: Don’t Get Screwed Over

This??video from a site called Docracy, which provides freely available legal documents, illustrates what happens when freelancers (or, in this case, passersby) do work without getting it in writing…??

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