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The Funny Side of International Crowdsourcing

Updated on April 22, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


One of the benefits of crowdsourcing sites is that you truly are part of the global marketplace. You could receive requests from anyone in the world, presuming they can sign up for the site and formulate a request you could fulfill. And you could hire someone located down the street or on the other side of the planet. Everything here comes from my personal experiences working through crowd-sourcing platforms.

Crowdsourcing can connect you to people on the other side of the horizon.
Crowdsourcing can connect you to people on the other side of the horizon. | Source

Lost in Translation

Client: "Your spelling is repeatedly off."

Me: "I'm using American spelling."

Client: "Why would you do that?"

Me: "I'm in the United States."

Client: "Oh. Can you fix it?"

Me: "Yes, I can set the word processor to British English. No, I'm not moving."

Where Are You?

Client: "I almost rejected the article for the American spelling. I didn’t realize you were American. I thought you were in India."

Me: "Because I could write decent articles on Indian demonetization?"

Client: "Yes."

Me: "My profile clearly states I'm in Euless, TX."

Client: "That wasn’t clear enough. You need to add US to the profile."

Me: "I thought Texas was clear enough."

A Different Standard

Client: “Your article on this subject is too technically dense.”

Me: “It is an article on Oracle database errors and how to solve them. If it is any less technical, the administrators can’t use it.”

Client: “Can you dumb it down?”

Me: “I can try, and the readers can try to follow the instructions. You’ll have to add screen shots …”

Why Units Matter

Client: “I sent you the $200.”

Me: “I saw that. And I just now realized an error in communication. It’s my fault. When I said dollars, I meant American dollars.”

Client: “Does it matter?”

Me: “Given your exchange rate, yes, very much so. What you just sent me is worth a lot less than the amount I was expecting to be paid.”

Incorrect Assumptions

Client: “Your content is totally wrong.”

Me: “I can provide the sources I used when writing about apprenticeships and training programs.”

Client: "I meant British law on the matter, not US. The sources don’t matter when it is the wrong country."

Me: "You didn't specify country, so I used my own."

Client: “Why did you assume American?”

Me: “You’ve had me write about California real estate. That’s in the U.S.”

Client: “I’ll make sure to specify the country next time.”

Speak for Yourself

Potential Client: "Your spelling, bad. You writing not good enough. Do again or we reject." (Spelling and grammar as written by someone with poor English).

Me: "You hired an American writer to write this due to your lack of skill in writing in American English. I’ll rewrite it if you have specific feedback."

Free Samples, Please

Potential Client: “Do you write health and diet subjects?”

Me: “Absolutely.”

Potential Client: “Here is a list of keywords I need, 3x repeated in the article.”

Me: “I can write based on that keyword”

Potential Client: “I need to see samples of the type of writing you do on this subject.”

Me: “Here are links to my Hubpages articles on this type of topic. Note that I use the same user name here as there, my real name, so you know I did actually write it.”

Potential Client: “I want you to write these articles and send them to me via X so I know you can write this type of content.”
Me: “If I write multiple so called samples like this per spec and send it to you, you could say it wasn’t good enough but still use it. And unlike a rejected article that creates a record of such in the platform’s system that I can point to if I find the article used elsewhere, I may not have such documentation from this conversation.”

Potential Client: “How can you accuse me of this?”

Me: “I get about one such request like this per month, and I only fell for it once. If you want me to write a trial article, send me a request. I can write it, you can reject it. You can demand a rewrite. If you like it, it will ensure you pay me. But I’m not sending lots of free samples that you’ll never pay me for.”

Silence from Potential Client.

Me: “If you’re concerned, I’ll take the lower pay rate for the first trial articles. If you’re happy with that, then I’ll demand my standard rate.”

He never requested an article for pay.

© 2018 Tamara Wilhite


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