Calling all freelancers--Would you write a free sample in...

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  1. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 9 years ago

    ...the hopes of being awarded a project?

    I got an email from a prospective client saying I am 'in the running with four other candidates and now they want each of us to write an article of their choice with their keywords so they can compare them side by side.

    I said no, I'll provide additional references or other published samples but if they need a free article I'm probably not the writer for them.

    Anyone else run into this? I think it sounds like a great way to get all your articles for free. Get 20 bids, tell all the writers they are in the top four, ask for a free article to help you decide, bingo, 20 free articles.

    1. Sufidreamer profile image82
      Sufidreamerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Pam,

      Write the article, but put it up as a Hub and give them the link. If they are not happy with that, then you do not want to work for them - at least you get to try and make a little Adsense off the article. smile

      1. profile image0
        pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah, that was a thought I had too, but no, they want it specially written up and released to them only.

        Elance has been infiltrated by an increasing number of scumbag buyers lately. I hate it when I go to the trouble of making a serious bid on something and this is the kind of crap I get back. No matter how good my BS radar gets, I still get this kind of thing now and again. You'd think they were commissioning "War and Peace" or something. smile

        1. Sufidreamer profile image82
          Sufidreamerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          That really sucks - for every old hand like you who questions them, many more 'desperate for the first job' writers fall into the trap. Sorry to shout folks, but


          There was a spate of that on oDesk, too, but they clamped down on it a lot. It is bad enough getting regular clients to pay, without dealing with scammers.

          I now refuse to sign over copyright until the money is in my bank and cleared wink

          1. Specificity profile image59
            Specificityposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Amen, bro.

        2. LondonGirl profile image84
          LondonGirlposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I'd tell them to take a long walk on a short pier.

      2. packerpack profile image62
        packerpackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I agree here. Write the article as a Hub and give them the link. That way they get what they want you also write a Hub in the process. But if they want you to write specifically for them then I don't see a point here

        1. Sufidreamer profile image82
          Sufidreamerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          On the freelance site that I work on, the market for writing is extremely competitive. People are so desperate to get the first job that they fall for scams like this.

          The forums there are full of posts from people who were ripped off sad

    2. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Fallen for this one in the past. You have more than enough published work for them to be able to gauge the quality of your writing.

      This is just a ploy to get free work. And I promise you they have much more than three other people on the hook.

    3. melbel profile image95
      melbelposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Wow, that's pretty uncool. They should be able to accept your samples. That's really horrible. I would have said, "Sure! How long does it need to be so that I can quote you the cost?"

  2. cindyvine profile image83
    cindyvineposted 9 years ago

    Hmmm, it's hard to know whether thay are genuine or are just trying to get free articles.

  3. DonnaCSmith profile image90
    DonnaCSmithposted 9 years ago

    I wouldn't do it.

  4. Christa Dovel profile image79
    Christa Dovelposted 9 years ago

    That sounds much like how Helium's Market Place operates.  Publishers tell what they are looking for, then writers submit their articles.  The Publisher buys only the articles they want. 

    The only good thing about it is, if yours is not purchased, it transfers into the regular Helium site.  Not great, but better than the article disappearing with some publisher.

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image82
      Uninvited Writerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I sold an article to a publisher on Helium and I know where the article is. They kept my name on it also.

      1. Christa Dovel profile image79
        Christa Dovelposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I've sold two articles through Helium.  One, I know where it was published.  The other was bought by an Internet company, and I have never been able to find a trace of it.

  5. profile image0
    Leta Sposted 9 years ago

    It sounds like an infiltration of these kind of 'content' producer sites and their cheap offers/writers who'll pay nothing/work for nothing... On those sites, that scenario seems to be the rule...they also seem to incorporate coding/web design.

    Aughgh!  That's why I'd have such a hard time trying to write on the internet as it stands, as, ie, I'm NOT going to write 4 freakin' articles for $20.  I just do not think so...  The time it would take wouldn't even be worth it to me!

    No way, Pam. You're too experienced of a writer to "be in the running."  Tell them good luck with something that will suit their needs better.

  6. sheenarobins profile image57
    sheenarobinsposted 9 years ago

    I think Mark Knowles posted the same topic informing us that this is a scam. That is absolutely crap. If you are a candidate then they gauge from your articles here in HP.

    I wouldn't fall for it. smile

  7. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the replies. I went with my gut, which I'm finding is the best way to go 9 times out of 10, even when I'm not sure why I'm feeling weird about something.

    It's a lot more competitive at Elance than it was a year and a half ago when I first started bidding on things and about half of the work posted there is crap. But I still find enough to keep me busy about half time.

    Lita--I'd love to find real writing job, but here, there's just nothing. You've got the syndrome of 'which PhD should we hire to make the fries' going on. It's very demoralizing.

    1. Teresa McGurk profile image60
      Teresa McGurkposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah.  I'm getting discouraged at Elance, because I don't want to bid as low as other folk are willing to do for original content.  I'm trying to concentrate on editing and proofreading instead, and keep original stuff for HubPages.  I won't make much money either way, so I'd rather contribute to the supportive creative community here.  (I've been bidding 3 cents a word, though, for original stuff, and not getting anywhere.)

      1. CennyWenny profile image83
        CennyWennyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I think the downturn of the economy brought all sorts of folk out of the woodwork who would do anything for extra money, and do it cheap. I've also seen Elance in several "Freelance to Make Extra Money" articles on sites like MSN, so they have gotten coverage, which attacts people. I think it's ridiculous that you're not getting anywhere bidding 3 cents per word, I've read your Hubs and you're worth it! Usually the best way to get work is to make solid contacts, but it can be hit or miss and really hard to do, especially because some of the best buyers I had were across the world in totally different time zones (UK and Australia).I just got tired of others owing the rights to what I wrote and never seeing my stuff again, so I just stick to Hubpages. Plus, I have no deadlines:)

      2. profile image0
        pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I only take 500-800 word articles, one shot jobs, and often I get repeat work because I do just pump them out. I've been burned on longer pieces so I don't even go there, and I fear other writers and their potential neuroses (knowing all of mine!) so I avoid editing.

        I had to take real drek at first to get a bit more, but I'm still only at one or two cents a word--occasionally I get luckier but not often. I remember writing hundreds of 250 word blurbs a week at first for this MLM guy. Ugh. But he always paid me so I did it until I could do something else.

        Do you ever get the feeling you're grubbing for pennies? I do. But then, it can always be worse. I try to only take jobs I actually like now, if I can help it.

        Good luck. You should talk to Sufi. He writes papers for academics. You would be awesome at that. big_smile

        1. Teresa McGurk profile image60
          Teresa McGurkposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          ooh -- that might even be fun -- thanks for the idea.

          1. profile image0
            pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            No problem. Shoot him an email, he'll have lots of good ideas. I was going to write for this place (in Britain actually) that only sold academic papers. Got accepted, got it all set up, and when I started looking at the topics, realized I'm a moron.

            I have high self-esteem though. big_smile

            I'll see if I can find the name of it in my email box somewhere and I'll post it or send it to you.

  8. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 9 years ago

    Speaking of writing four articles for $20, I've found that between 1 an 2 cents a word is about right if I want to get the job, but a writer here told me the going rate is 4 cents a word.

    Is anyone willing to divulge what they can command price-wise?

    If I could get four cents a word I'd have a little party for myself. big_smile

    1. Zsuzsy Bee profile image87
      Zsuzsy Beeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Pam, I have been ghosting 4 articles/per week for the past 14 months at 3cents/a word.  I was just debating if I can ask for a raise. And I get 2.4cents for another job that I've been writing for the past 6 months but the other odd jobs that I've been getting all average out to under 2cents.
      I will not give free samples, I fell into that trap a couple of times.

    2. CennyWenny profile image83
      CennyWennyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      When I was writing on Elance (I have since stopped due to the problems you mentioned) my going rate was abour $10-12 per 500 word article, which seems to be a very median price range on that site. I started seeing people wanting to hire writers for $1 to $3 per article and outsourcing to other countries, sacrificing quality for cheap prices. I gave up, it was just extra play money for me, so I don't NEED it (though a latte would sure be nice). I think (if I remember correctly) that asking for free pieces is against Elance's TOS. You could possibly report said buyer.

  9. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 9 years ago

    Thanks for revealing that Szuzsy. I've been thinking for awhile here that I should raise my rates and just bid on more stuff. I think it's time to kick it up a notch, but it's hard to do. Thanks for that point of reference and good on you! big_smile

  10. Shirley Anderson profile image69
    Shirley Andersonposted 9 years ago

    Pam, I have articles on there that I can never, ever get off.  Not only that, someone by the name of Shirley Anderson signed up after I was banned and my articles show up under her name ('cause it's also mine) along with hers, making it appear as though she wrote them.

    I just found this link this morning.  I know it's childish, but I feel vindicated, somehow. … html?cat=9

    Guess what I'm saying is, don't take the Helium route.

  11. Shirley Anderson profile image69
    Shirley Andersonposted 9 years ago

    By the way, your writing is worth a lot more than the pittance you've been offered.

  12. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 9 years ago

    Thanks cennywenny, that's about what I end up getting most of the time--$10 for 500 words--but I've taken a bit less and made as much as $30, so I guess I'm right about in the middle, right where I thought I was.

    Shirley--I read that linked article at AC you posted about Helium. The problem I was having was at Elance, but I did start out at Helium, and bailed after a couple of months for all the reasons listed in the AC article and more. I will never write for another site that owns the rights to whatever I put up. That's nuts.

    Not only is Helium chintzy with the pay, the competing for peanuts thing is VERY annoying, as are the peer ratings. I used to get emails filled with misspellings that corrected my punctuation incorrectly, and everyone who used the site more than once or twice suspected those dumb contests were rigged. It got me excited when I first discovered the site because it was the first time I was actually paid anything for an internet article--$5 in a contest--but it got old really quick. smile

  13. Shirley Anderson profile image69
    Shirley Andersonposted 9 years ago

    Pam, just ever do anything for the print market?  I'm guessing not, just curious.

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Awhile back, before I started doing this internet writing, I had some publications in little literary journals that mostly paid in copies. Poetry, short stories, personal essays. It's been awhile. I know I need to learn to query publishers and kick it up a notch. My intent at first was to build up this body of work so I'd have something to show for myself, but I think I'm there now. I just need to take a break and get organized and DO IT.

      Do think the print market pays better? It's my impression that it does if you can get a foot in the door.

      1. Mark Knowles profile image61
        Mark Knowlesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        It does pay a lot better. But - in dire straights at the moment and very hard to break into.

        1. profile image0
          pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, it's all over the news. Some major publishing houses aren't even accepting manuscripts from agents right now, never mind unsolicited manuscripts and queries.

  14. Shirley Anderson profile image69
    Shirley Andersonposted 9 years ago

    I forgot to ask if you have a website, Pam.

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I do but I've been totally neglecting it for an entire year. It takes forever for me to figure each little thing out. I need to get my resume and some samples up. All I have now is this crummy half-assed blog I never update. sad

      If I get some money I might see if I can pay someone to just set it up for me. But that would be, um, not!

  15. Mighty Mom profile image83
    Mighty Momposted 9 years ago

    I totally agree with Shirley! Your writing is worth a helluva lot more than a piddly $.03 a word. This level of payment really shocks and disgusts me. Are they friggin' kidding?

    Print articles definitely do pay more -- or did. Who knows what's going on in that industry anymore. With newspapers being shuttered, I fear the internet will eventually replace journalism. In the meantime, there are still magazines out there. And they use freelance writers.
    If you have the time, make calls to the editors of ones of interest. No reason you shouldn't be contributing to both trade and lifestyle mags. How about the in-flight magazines?
    At minimum, the experience will give you fodder for a new hub!

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Good point MM. I can always write about how it goes (or doesn't) here. I WILL do it. I will. Lita Sorensen has a great new hub on getting into print publications actually. Just put it up last night.

  16. LondonGirl profile image84
    LondonGirlposted 9 years ago

    OH and I did various travel articles for magazines and newspapers when we were at uni and bar school (late 1990s, to about 2002). The standard we got was £250 for 1,000 words and 4 photos. The lowest was £200, the highest £650 for 1,500 words and 5 photos.

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Wow. I would feel like Hemingway if I got paid that much for 1,000 words.

      Lots to think about now. smile

  17. cindyvine profile image83
    cindyvineposted 9 years ago

    I wouldn't mind getting into the travel writing thing, but it's hard to break in.

  18. LondonGirl profile image84
    LondonGirlposted 9 years ago

    It was 4 photos as well - and they had to be professional-quality, medium-format slides.

  19. Anamika S profile image68
    Anamika Sposted 9 years ago

    A came across the same deal through a Google Ad. Since I already new it's a scam i did not bother. Wonder how many they might have fooled by now.


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