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The Top 10 Writing Scams Bloggers Fall For

Updated on June 3, 2010

Here are the basic structures of the ten top typical writing job scams that sucker in thousands of unsuspecting bloggers a day. There is a crook behind every keyboard, so keep your eyes open and you won't get scammed!

Receive $X per hour.

There is absolutely no way that a blogger can work by the hour unless it's in the employer's office. The only proper way to get compensated is by the word. Any online writing job which advertises hourly wages is to be avoided as it's either a case of the prospective employer not having a clue what online writing entails, or that you'll be getting paid one hour's worth for every ten hours of work you do.

You'll get paid when your earnings reach $X.

This has to be one of the most common and most obscene scam of them all. You work and accumulate money in "your account", but you can't get any of it out until the balance reaches $50, $100, or more. Since the work will likely be so onerous that you're going to quit before you reach that magical limit, you'll never see a penny. Don't ever believe that employers have "administrative costs" that are only cost-effective to pay you once a "certain threshold" is reached. It doesn't cost anything to send a payment via Paypal and they even have a Mass Pay feature to make it easy to pay scores or hundreds of people at once.

Get paid on completion.

This works for all the people who think that they can walk into a jewelry store, take home a new Rolex and then mail the jeweler a check. If there is anyone out there who actually pays on completion, they deserve The Ethical Online Employer Of The Year Award. Although many online employers will balk at paying up front (and that's understandable), there is no excuse not to use one of the convenient and simple escrow processes on the major freelance blog writing sites.

Get paid on approval.

In order to confirm that the blog is of acceptable quality to their editorial standards, the employer will pay you on approval. Guess what? Your blog will never reach those "editorial standards," and you'll never see a dime.

Click on this link.

This one is so simple that it's amazing how many times it's pulled and how many bloggers fall for it. The blogger replies to a job posting and receives a glowingly written reply (which is sent by an autoresponder) with a link to start working immediately. The link doesn't offer a job of any kind, but is just a target site stacked with Google Ads. You've just made money for the scammer and none for yourself.

The blog competition.

This is a new twist but definitely a fascinating one for blog scam watchers. A competition is announced and a sample blog is requested in order to compete online for the readers' votes. The blogger that receives the most votes will get a regular blogging position. Even though the long term blogging position may actually be legitimate, the blog site owner has just stuffed their website full of valuable content absolutely free, thanks to stupid, desperate bloggers.

Email contact is sufficient.

Don't write a word for anyone who you can only trace through their email address. If full contact details are not forthcoming, and if you can't verify them by at least calling their phone number, if not going all the way and using an online address lookup service, don't do any work for them! Email addresses can be obtained by the thousands and you have no recourse to track the person back through them. Remember: even IP addresses in email headers can be faked!

The money is too good.

Blogging is an incredibly competitive industry and although in the early days there were some wild pricing fluctuations, the legitimate blogging market has now settled down around the 2 to 4 cents per word mark. When an employer proposes that they pay you 10, 20, or even 50 cents a word, you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll never see the money.

Write a sample article on Topic X.

The job posting comes with a substantial budget, significantly more than the competition. At the end of the post, there is a request that a sample article needs to be submitted for consideration "to test your writing skills". Uh huh. Each blogger will be given a unique topic and asked to write a 500 or so word article. Since the money offered is considerably greater than the average, an avalanche of writers will apply, sometimes numbering in the hundreds. Each and every one of them will write a complete article on the specific subject, ensuring that it is completely original, passes copyscape, and meets all of the employer's requirements. However, the bottom line is that no one ever gets the contract. The "employer" now has in their inbox hundreds of original articles on the precise topics they needed, and all for free! Thanks suckers! Now they are free to plunk them on their own site, or even resell them to other web publishers. They never get caught because writers don't spend all day copyscaping their own past submissions. Free money, all courtesy of stupid bloggers!

If you are completely convinced that it is legit (you're likely wrong) and definitely want to write and submit a sample article, then adhere to this technique:

  1. Write your article in a word processor.
  2. Format it so that you can see one page at a time on your screen, as clearly as possible.
  3. Press Print Screen.
  4. In Photoshop or any other image editor, crop out the borders and save as a .jpg or .gif.

You can now forward the image file in the understanding that if the so-called employer wants to rip you off, they'll have to process it through OCR software, manually rectify read errors, and stealing the article will generally be a pain in the rump. They'll likely delete your submission and pass onto the real suckers who have sent in easily readable and web-postable text formats like .doc, .rtf, .txt, etc.

Send money.

Of course, needless to say, any prospective employer who asks you to send money or your credit card/bank details to get a job is a blatant criminal scam... but you would never actually send someone $$$ to get a job... would you?


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    • Johnkadu123 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I absolutely love this hub. I have just discovered a new trick. Academic writing (unethical at the best of times because you are basically helping a lazy student to cheat). The first pitch is great but gradually you will start noticing things which indicate that your employer is not from an English-speaking country at all. They are trying to lure you into writing an article and then selling it. Don't fall for them.

    • profile image

      Good Writer 

      7 years ago

      Beware of person with this email id, He pretends to be an american but he is a Pakistani, Once the work is done, he will not agree with the quality and will not pay.

    • bames24 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Very informative. I have to admit that when I was new to the writing biz, I got suckered by a few of these scams. But, I learned my lessons pretty quickly... :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Be sure you IMs and Webmasters stay miles away from this writer. She's known as Jeanne Michael and works out of a gmail ID- I took her on a job and midway through the week I asked her if she knew other writers who could also help me for a fee since I needed a lot of copies written within a fortnight. She said that she knew great writers but they charge high. Since I had no option at that point in time I went ahead with her offer but later, to my utter dismay, found non-native UAW quality articles that I just couldn't use. That's when I told her that I'll only pay her for those of her copies that I could use.

      She never agreed. And here she's making cock and bull stories about an honest webmasters trying tarnish his reputation. She's a perfect scam artist herself! Beware of her and any of her services!

    • profile image

      Jeanne Michael 

      8 years ago

      Jeanne Michael 06/07/2011

      Be very wary of a person who calls himself Content King, email He is a scam artist. He called himself "Cody." He approached me about writing articles for him. He sent me an information page that noted he paid once you reached 10,000 words. He "gave the impression" he lived in the United States, but I now believe he lives in Pakistan. He offered to pay me a weekly fee for managing some writers. I took the job and I am now out $267.02. I will never get paid and I had to pay other writers out of my own pocket. Something really needs to be done about these people in other countries running these kinds of scams on Americans. They pretend to be American, bid on and get jobs and then need American writers for the articles. I think everyone should email this guy and let him know you know who he is and you won't fall for his tricks.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks guys. All good advice, especially on the feedback. suite101 is def legit. allvoices, I don't know much about.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I appreciated your comments, but wished to add another observation. I work as a translator and get paid by the "source word". Some sites have so many members that, similar to Ebay, they have feedback on prospective employers. Since tranlations are usually done by email and the pay comes after the job is complete, it is very wise to check on the employers feedback.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley Marks 

      9 years ago from California

      Lots of very useful tips and caveats here. Of course many bloggers fall for these schemes because they're desperate for money, as many people are these days. I gotta say that blogger contest scam is genius! Let's hope most bloggers are too smart to fall for it. (Sending an entry blog as a photo is also genius. Great idea.) Later!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Has anyone ever used or to submit your writing for publishing? Are these places legit?

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, Sufidreamer! Publishing a sample on this site is a great idea! :)

    • Sufidreamer profile image


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Don't know how I missed this one, Hal - you will be receiving a link from one of my articles. Full of great advice!

      One trick that I have used, with the send in a sample idea, is to write it and then publish it on Hubpages. They can always look at the link and, if they are not happy with that arrangement, then you probably do not want to work for them anyway.

      The other tip is that I never sign over copyright until the money is in my bank account and cleared. I slapped a DMCA on somebody for using articles that they had not paid for - the money arrived soon afterwards :)

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      You're welcome. Keep your eyes peeled for scams! :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Searching on google for content writing scams, I found some information but lots of tips here on hubpages. Thanks for the warning!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      Si, Amigo. I will definitely continue to write about writing scams. There's a new one doing the rounds that's especially vicious and I'm researching. I hope to get that Hub posted in about a month. Hasta Luego!

    • profile image

      Pat Ruaya 

      10 years ago

      Muchas gracias. I was once a victim of these scammers. Write more about scammers. So far I only received P200 from an online publisher through by bankbook. But the publisher is one I know of and used to be a columnist in a newspaper I used to work with in the Philippines. Definitely this was not a scammer.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      My pleasure! :)

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      10 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Great info -- Thanks

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, Richard. Much appreciated. :)

    • complainary profile image


      10 years ago

      This is really a great article.

      Far too many people who cannot write and many who can have expectations of income far beyond any thing that is possible.

      Richard Complainary, Publisher

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      I agree completely Lupo. Thanks for the kind words, t.keeley. I appreciate the info, realbroke! I'm going to look into and see what they're up to!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      my friends and i never received a single cent from an org- for the many articles we submitted for various reasons they gave. this org is definitely is a group of scammers and swindlers

    • talented_ink profile image


      11 years ago from USA

      Wow! I've fallen for #2-#6, and #9 before, but I was so focused on getting paid for what I love to do that common sense went out the window.

    • t.keeley profile image


      11 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Best article I've ever read on the subject. Thanks for the wonderful eye opener into this world of blogging.

    • Lupo profile image


      11 years ago from Boston Area

      There is no end to the scams that folks work on others. Fortunately I have not been duped because there is some level of common sense that one should adhere too. Even so there are plenty of things I have naively done, when I just get started working on something I have never done before, and I am as susceptible as the next person to making the simplest mistakes. While I have never heard of a lot of these scams before I could see how they could work.

      There are so many people dabbling with making money online. I'm sure making money off of that population generates a lot of money for a small number of devious but intelligent thieves that can prey on them.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      11 years ago from Toronto

      Better safe than sorry! Blogging scams have ballooned in the last couple of years, and even extemely savvy bloggers are getting ripped off!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      11 years ago from France

      Very good advice, thanks for sharing I usually tend to trust others too much without a second thought... now I am warned!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      11 years ago from Toronto

      You are indeed a meticulous and careful writer, as the vast majority of people who submit articles never follow up through copyscape or even google, and allow the scam artists to profit from the work that they have foolishly given away. It certainly behooves any writer to be extremely careful as there are lots of scams out there!

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      That's a very cool trick: sending the image rather than the words! Basically though I am wary of any competition which means you have to submit work first. And copyscape is my friend!


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