Each week, while looking for legitimate freelance jobs to link to in WritersWeekly, I see dozens of jobs that make me shudder. Below are examples taken from real help-wanted ads – ads that all freelancers should avoid at all costs.
“Paid on a per-post basis.”
The amount is so low they know posting it here will scare writers away.
“Content Writers Needed for Article Database.”
They’re aggregating tons of content, probably for Google ad word revenue, and paying peanuts for it.
“Intern – Telecommuting okay.”
They’re very likely violating federal laws designed to protect interns…and getting free labor to boot.
“Looking for College Student…”
They’re expecting you to expect insulting pay rates.
“Work from home!”
This usually indicates little to no pay and way too many hours.
“…seeking writers who can write 300-500 word non-fiction articles on practically any subject.”
This is just another content aggregator looking for cheap/free labor.
“Assistant Editor – Pays percentage of gross sales.”
What they mean is, “We can’t afford to pay you unless we sell something and this is the safest way to offer you nothing or next to nothing but still entice you to work for us. Plus, we know you’ll never get your hands on our financials so we can rip you off if we want to.”
“Help build exposure for your talents.”
“No pay. Web exposure is high.”
Hey, if your pub can’t afford to pay, you don’t have enough readers to offer me “exposure.”
“Moms, get paid to write product reviews!”
Most jobs that target work-at-home moms have insultingly low pay. Sure enough, this place only pays $1 per product review!
“Send us a sample article on [a very specific subject].”
They’re going to use/publish your “sample” and you’re never going to get paid for it. This is a common scam.
“Make $100 working in your spare time!”
Come on! Do people really still fall for this garbage?
“$1 plus other incentives for every (article) you write!”
At least they’re honest about the dollar but the “incentives” garbage is even more insulting.
“Are you an online junkie? Channel your obsession into something productive and make money!”
Oh, puh-lease!!! If my eyeballs rolled any farther back in my head, I’d swallow them.
“Our budget allows for up to $18 for 1200 words. You will need to sign a non-compete/non-disclosure….”
The pay is poverty level AND they want to stop you from working for others to boot?!
“For consideration by our magazine, submit your manuscript along with a $20 reading fee to…”
Never, ever, ever, ever pay a magazine a reading fee!
“Earn money for each page view!”<
“Tell your friends to click and earn more money for your article!”
“We pay $1 for every 10 blog posts when your balance reaches $100.”
It’s true. Slavery really does still exist in America!
“We’ll pay you up to $8 per item!”
“Up to” means you can also pay me nothing. No thanks.
“Seeking writers – all skill levels.”
That means they don’t care if you can’t write…meaning their quality is garbage…meaning they aren’t going to earn any money. Sure enough, the “employment” ad offers zero pay.
“Compensation may be available in the near future.”
And, there’s a sucker born every minute…
“Register at our website before applying.”
If you ask me for tons of personal info. without even knowing my qualifications or article idea, you’re not hiring. You’re building a marketing list.”
“Earn points to redeem for rewards!”
“Points” can’t be redeemed for food for my children.
“Competitive pay based on standard Internet variables…”
Yeah, right! If you paid decent wages, you’d list them here!
“No monetary compensation, but may lead to more in-depth story assignments.”
So, I get harder assignments…but still no pay? Ha ha ha!!!
“Regular work and guaranteed income.”
If they don’t mention the “guaranteed income” in the ad, you can bet the pay is peanuts (or less).
“Pay per project is based on a project fee for each completed project.”
Say what?! If you refuse to quote a firm dollar figure in your ad, you’re wasting your time and mine.
“I will pay you $3 to rewrite articles you find online, inserting a specific business name into those articles. Must sign confidentiality agreement.”
What this really means is: “I will pay you $3 to violate someone else’s copyright. And, I know it’s illegal, which is why you can never tell anyone I hired you to do this when you get caught.”
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is one of the top-rated POD publishers in the industry.