Lakeland, Florida Article Writer Weighs In On Elance Bid Request

I joined elance.com about a year ago because one of the clients I write for prefers to manage their magazine assignments through this site. Now that I’ve been on the site for a while, I’m beginning to get requests for proposals on writing assignments from other companies.

I received one this morning that I thought I would share. Here it is, verbatim:

Job Description:

This is a project for 20 articles at $4.50 per article or less. Your bid MUST be OVER the $50 minimum bid allowed at Elance.

I mention this because Elance keeps canceling this project “because it is under the minimum”……..however this is not the case.

For those who do not understand this, get out your calculators. 20 articles x $4.50 is $90.

Please do not waste your time and mine if (a) your bid is for more than the per article price I have listed or (b) you are not a native English speaker or (c) you cannot supply examples of your work.

I am looking for reliable, accurate SEO team writers to assist in bulk article projects (each article 600-700 words each, any and every subject) that I have undertaken and others that are in the pipeline.

These are easy articles requiring nothing more than a bit of internet research, and may possibly lead to ongoing work if we suit each other.

I will require 2 samples initially, which I am happy to pay for as part of the project (unlike many buyers I do not except you to write samples for nothing!)

Let’s break this down: if you, the writer, accept this job and bid the highest amount she is willing to accept, and write the shortest article she is will to accept, you will be paid a maximum of .0075 cents per word for your article.

What saddens me is that there are writers out there who will bid on this job and very likely be awarded it. Why someone is willing to write an article of 600-700 words for a paltry $4.50 is beyond me. It’s bad business for this woman seeking these writers and for the writers themselves for a few reasons:

1) If you don’t feel as though your writing is worth more than .0075 cents per word, you should consider getting into a different profession. Seriously.

2) If you, as a writer, are willing to work for this Third-World wage, you make it difficult for other writers to earn what they are worth. You dilute the pay scale. The more of these low-paying jobs get accepted, the more people offering these deplorable wages believe they can get away with it.

3) Let’s say this tired phrase together: you get what you pay for. Do not expect “reliable, accurate” writers when you don’t expect to pay them a reasonable rate.

As a writer of articles and press releases in Lakeland, Florida, I can tell you that through the years I wrote for some fairly low wages. But even 16 years ago, I didn’t write for .0075 cents per article.

To those companies in need of article and press release writers, please understand that the caliber of writers you attract has a direct correlation to the wage you are willing to pay for them. If you want quality writing, you need to hire an experienced writer. Experienced writers don’t work for free- or even .0075 cents per word.

If you are in need of professional writers, contact us at Lorrie Walker Communications, Inc. We can help.

Comments

  1. Gentle Reader says:

    As a Medical Transcriptionist, with 35 yrs experience, I see this same junk in our field. I have been low-balled by folks (in and out of our country) and I ultimately got to say “I didn’t do that report, please don’t think I do such crappy work.”

    I have told a couple of physicians “you get what you pay for” – and that is why 2 of them have called me back to bail them out of messes until their “cheap labor” can finally catch up.

    My husband has always said “they can’t take what is in your head…” your resources, your expertise, your experience.

    You discredit your abilities by cutting your fees just to get the job. I’d rather eat balogna than set a BAD precedent like this, if I was in your field. Oh wait, I did eat balogna when I was a newlywed netting $42 a week.

    My opinion, worth just what it cost ya.

  2. Robin says:

    Do we laugh or cry? This is so insulting that I’m mad at myself for spending the time it required to read their job ad. I’ve seen these ads for extremely low-paying internet writing jobs for a while…but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that’s taken such a condescending tone.

    Thanks for expressing a little outrage over this.

  3. Kirk says:

    I have to ask the experienced writers here – what is the minimum wage an aspiring writer should accept via elance or the other similar sites?

    If I’m out of work and can earn $90 churning out some junk (and I agree that’s what they’ll get at that price) why shouldn’t I do it to feed my family?

    I’m the devil’s advocate here. What say you? Is there a minimum per word price of entry to consider yourself an above board “real” writer?

    Thanks,
    Kirk

    1. You raise a good question, Kirk. I’ll throw in my two cents and hopefully some other writers will weigh in, also.

      I know of a newspaper in Florida that pays freelance writers anywhere from $65 for a 10-12 inch story, up to $200 for a package that may include a feature article of about 600-700 words and a sidebar story. I consider newspapers to usually be on the low-end of the freelance pay scale, simply based on personal experience.

      I believe that freelance writers must make a personal determination of their minimum fee. Personally, I don’t think a writer- even one who is new to freelancing- should write anything for less than $50 per article. Now, if you can knock out an article in an hour and you feel as though you can get by with $20 or $30 per article that way, that’s your business.

      But when people begin seeking writers of 600-700 word articles and they want to pay $4.50 per article, I just think that is ridiculous. $90 may not sound shabby for 20 articles, but what if it takes 20 hours to earn that $90? How is that worth it?

  4. Chuck Welch says:

    Kirk, ask yourself what is your return on your time investment?

    If you’d rather write than sit around an do nothing, fine. If you expect to make $90 for that work, you’ll find you’ve miscalculated. Taxes, etc will make that $90 far less.

    I am willing to bet I can sell plasma for more than what you’d get for those articles.

    As for a minimum wage: Most writers aren’t piece workers. 100 words for a newspaper story is not 100 words for a technical review. I’d listen to the project and make a bid based on my idea of the creativity, experience, research, and talent needed. But I’ve reached the point were I rarely write for others. You might want to ask a working writer.

  5. Leslie McCutchin says:

    This assignment is to write “content” not articles. These articles will merely clutter the world wide web. I’d venture to guess that if you are a great typist, say 120 words a minute, it’s pretty good pay; 6 articles per hour x $4.50 = $27 per hour; not bad for a writer getting her feet wet as a freelancer.

    I’m willing to bet transitions, grammar, catchy headlines, or a tight ending aren’t necessary. She simply wants articles with “key words” to pop up to draw people to a website when someone uses a search engine.

    She’s selling junk, so all she intends to buy is junk.

    Beyond devaluing our work as writers, those who support this type of work merely make our jobs harder when it comes time to do a little honest research on the web.

  6. This is crazy for us here in the U.S., but the web is global and $4.50 could be attractive for writers elsewhere. Also, the economy is prompting people to look closely at opportunities to earn, opportunities they would have ignored in a more robust economy.

    If this approach works for the individul offering $4.50 an article, so be it.

    Two considerations: we (U.S. writers) may need to sharpen our budget pencils and those attempting to use $4.50 articles here better be ready for the same type of negative reaction many firms have gotten that use offshore resources for customer service. Five pounds in a three pound bag simply does not work, you need the right sized bag.

  7. Here’s my experience from a year and a half of being a freelancer: the people who want those cheap articles don’t care that much about quality; what they usually want is to fill up lots of adsense sites with keyword-stuffed filler.

    And the people who take those jobs are generally people from other countries where $3 for an hour’s work is a living wage – or even more than a living wage.

    It’s frustrating to me as a writer to have to compete with people overseas, but I also understand the economics of it – there are people who need quantity rather than quality and they are going to get it as cheaply as they can. The only thing I can say is – simply don’t take the low paying jobs, and always emphasis your quality, your experience, and any credentials that you have – in my case I emphasize that I was an awarding-winning journalist at daily and weekly newspapers for 17 years.

  8. Kirk says:

    I really appreciate the debate and feedback sparked by my question. In summary I’m noting three low water marks to use when evaluating opportunities.

    First is my per job rate – with the example being the $50 newspaper article.

    Second is the hourly rate – which would apply when the aim is quantity over quality in the case of web content or SEO articles.

    The third is a bit harder to quantify. For me it comes down to positive or negative impact. The questions I have to ask are whether the work (otherwise described as “how I spend my time and energy”) detracts from my professional profile, the wellness of my community and peers, or is counter to my personal standards and values.

    Given those three boundaries it’s pretty easy to weed out much of the work being offered on the web.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the great feedback!