Web Media Companies: What to Look for and What to Be Skeptical Of



I have just found something and thought I should make my fellow writers aware of it. When looking for jobs on job boards, if you find a "company" that does not have its own URL or email under that domain, watch out. I just found this ad on Pro Blogger that sounded good. It was offering $40,000 a year, but they want 100 articles a week for 50 weeks a year, which is $8 an article. They have a minimum of 5 articles a week, which I imagine is what it takes to stay employed, so if you have a better-paying gig that is taking up all your time, you could lose your position. When I looked at the contact email, it was a gmail address, which is strange, since they have a Canadian website, so why aren't they receiving mail through that?

Some Other Obvious Things to Watch For

Watch for sites that have British wording, such as calling articles "stories", asking for "solid writing samples" or, like the one above, try to convince you that seeking better paying jobs is a waste of time. Also watch for companies that ask for too much -- 20 to 30 "quality" articles a day, for example. These are not writers who started a company, because obviously, they have no clue how long it takes to write a "quality" article.

Also, watch for sites that have no Terms of Use or Terms of Service and no Privacy Statement. These two things are pretty much required by Google anymore for a legitimate listing, which many outsourcers may not know.


Legitimate or Outsourcers?

The thing is, these little fly-by-night "media companies" are popping up everywhere, so be careful. Sometimes, they are actually just one person who is picking up jobs on ODesk or Elance and outsourcing them for less money.

If a company wants you to write articles within a couple of hours after they are posted, they are probably outsourcers. I've seen a lot of outsourcers on ODesk obviously doing the ask.com work from Triple Curve and CrowdSource, so apply to those two first.

Also, look out for companies that want the work done quickly, but don't pay but once every two weeks or once a month. They are outsourcers waiting to get paid before they pay you. Sometimes, you may run into problems if an article is rejected, because the less scrupulous of the bunch won't pay you at all.

Best Way to Stay Safe

READ THE TERMS AND PRIVACY STATEMENT CAREFULLY! It only takes a few minutes of your time, and may save you a lot of headaches, for example, I once ran across a company that said simply by submitting it to the site, you gave them full rights, so in effect, they could never pay you and still put the article up online LEGALLY.  There are a few companies on Amazon Mechanical Turk who do this on a regular basis, so if you are working there, download and install the TurkOpticon add-on (get it here) and check out every requester. 

Ask your writer friends where they work, what they have found to be the best companies or sites to be paid fairly and reliably.
Be careful of a requester on Odesk or Elance that send you multiple article templates, and who want the title and something called a "callout." Those are outsourcing work for Triple Curve or CrowdSource. Apply directly to one of those two places. They pay more.
Trust your instincts. If something seems wrong, it usually is. If you're not sure, go to one of your favorite writing forums and ask other writers.

Pretty soon, all these scammer and outsourcing "media companies" will be sandboxed by Google, but check them out carefully first. I've found at least 6 in the last two weeks that were from the UK, so there may be someone over there setting up multiple sites. Most of them have very simple headers, such as the one listed above, and many of the sites look exactly alike except for different colors and different names.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad people online who will take advantage of you. Keep your eyes and ears open and ask lots of questions and you will be o.k.

2 comments:

Michielle DJ Beck said...

I saw (and replied to) that same ad. When I got the information back, I saw it was the style guide for TripleCurve. I already write for that company, and am very happy with them. I asked the guy why in the world I would write the same articles for less money?? Yikes!

Deborah Aldridge said...

You write for Triple Curve? Then you are doing the same articles we do at CrowdSource. I thought you wrote for CrowdSource?

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