Sweatshop writing jobs- Great reasons for looking for better gigs
The “writing industry” is following the pattern of some of the tackiest employers. They want great content at rock bottom prices. There are many bidding sites, notably Elance and Freelancer.com, which are a bit above this sort of sweatshop approach, but cheap is the working principle.
The result, inevitably, is a range of dismal content options:
·Cookie cutter text- This is the ultimate turnoff for readers. They really have seen it before, whether it’s about buying a yacht or finding a nose-picking franchise. The language is the same, and the common use of phrases eventually acts as a de-motivator.
·Any old crap- If you’ve been wondering about the fabulous amounts of horribly edited, dismally laid out rubbish you see online, this is where it comes from. Whatever the subject, it will be a mess.
·Plagiarism- Although the reputable sites do hit plagiarism hard whenever they see it, cheap jobs mean cheap quality. I saw a guy who’d uplifted a lot of materials from the Oxford Library and then tried to write his own stuff in between. It was like listening to Aretha Franklin and a squeaky door hinge at the same time. Cheap jobs ask for cut and paste content.
·Rewrites- This is a very popular form of commercial writing, and often involves useful re-purposing, creating new perspectives and new contexts for those materials. I’ve done quite a bit of it myself, and have been able to turn the materials into 100% new content, simply by creating these practical values. The problems start when the person rewriting doesn’t understand what they’re writing about. Cheap writers also don’t usually bother to provide quality, just content. You’ll get an 800 word article rewritten at 802 words which misses the point entirely and doesn’t actually provide content value at all.
·Blogs- Blog writing can be a lot of fun. If you can find a blog which relates to your own interests, it’s not work at all. Cheap writers, however, tend to focus on dollars, (how unexpected!) so “This is wonderful”, etc. is about all you can get. These garbage doesn’t add value for blogs. People don’t respond to it, because there’s nothing to which to respond.
·“Attention to detail” is just hilarious. I’ve seen people whose attention to detail is excellent, and the product at the end of the attention to detail is death with great punctuation. The subject, the content and even laws about information provided are ignored. Detail-obsessed people also rarely appreciate professional contributions from writers. Cheap writers will produce this crud in huge volumes. Good writers will recognize micromanagers and avoid them on principle.
Cheap writing- Not what you want on your CV or on your site
Sweatshop writing jobs are usually not resume materials, unless you get some good work and have a chance to write something worth using in your portfolio. These jobs will get you other cheap jobs, but often fall short of the standards required to compete with stronger portfolios.
The cheap writing sites and posts usually look terrible. Just being associated with these slop-fests could do you out of a new job. Even if your own stuff is OK, it’s sitting right next to the typo factory and horrible layouts.
The other huge problem is that the cheap writing content tends to be very narrowly focused. If you’re writing about erotica, food, local restaurants, the content actually narrows down your range of jobs. You can write on these subjects, but they don’t translate into writing skills on other subjects.
Sweatshop writing is also a potentially risky use of your time. Some of these guys not only pay badly, sometimes they don’t pay at all. You can use up a month, do all the work, and find that your money doesn’t show up. Essay and academic papers scam sites are easily the worst for these situations. They sell papers to kids and students trying to buy their way through their exams. An American woman did about $30,000 of work for one of those sites and didn’t get a cent. To make it even more insulting, the materials were “recycled” to the people buying essay papers. These sites rework materials and resell the same things.
(They’re very easy to spot, too, so maybe the people buying their exam papers really are as dumb as they think they are.)
Compare that with Elance. I saw a paper assignment which had got through, came back later and it had been removed. Seems that Elance, in more or less its own words, “will not tolerate anything that undermines the academic process”. Quite right, too. How many people have you met who obviously can’t do their jobs, with quite good qualifications. There are a lot running around.
Sweatshop writing is also ironically really bad for the people paying for it. It generates problems and can create unholy legal messes about both copyright and info quality very easily. Sure, they save $500 upfront, then cost themselves thousands in fallout and turned-off readers who don’t want to read garbage.
Sweatshop writing devalues the writing profession in hard cash terms. It also devalues information quality.
·Why are people paying good money for garbage and bad money for high value business generating content?
·Why are paying customers being expected to read garbage?
·Why do content buyers think good writers who can do the jobs they need done will cut their rates by 90% to get a by-line on a site that looks like a train wreck?
If you want good content, you pay real writers real money for real content. If you want absolute crap, and lots of it, keep doing what you’re doing and getting the same pitiful results.
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