Beware Freelance Home Writers Scam

You! Yes, YOU! Can make thousands of dollars a week writing articles, blog posts and the occasional short story from the comfort of your home! Thousands of smart people like you are doing it!

And if you believe that I’ve got some desert property in South Louisiana to sell you.

About once a week I check my Junk mail file to make certain there isn’t something worthwhile that was mislabeled (just before I erase everything). This week I came across one with the subject “Can we pay you to write something?” and a header Freelance Job Opportunity. Now it so happens I occasionally apply for a gig through a legitimate freelance jobs board, so I decided to open this one. Here’s how the email started:

Hello, 

We would like to know if you would be interested in working from home in your spare time writing short articles for us. You will be paid $25.00 – $45.00 per hour writing these articles.

We will also pay you $12.00 – $50.00 per hour for posing in blogs, and up to $450 for each fiction or non fiction story we ask you to write.

Not exactly personal, but I was curious so I checked the link beneath this come-on, found no attempts to add anything to my system and clicked it. I was taken to what in the hard-sell (read scam) online marketing business is called a “Squeeze” page — a page that requires you to give an email address before continuing. This site (Freelance Home Writers Network) calls theirs the “Create Log-in” page. Now I knew it was a scam, but was curious about exactly what kind of scam. Fortunately, I make good use of the unlimited email forwarders and created a new one just for this site and then entered it into the squeeze page.

Instantly I was taken to the come-on page (which they amusingly call the “Job Description” page). This is the big pitch page that all of these scammers use (these are often referred to as “micro-sites” now). It’s the standard “Earn Big Money In Your Spare Time From Home” pitch for would-be writers. Here’s the start of this one:

Congratulations!

You’re just minutes away from making great, easy money from the comfort of your home, just from writing simple articles, easy blog posts, or (if you want the really BIG bucks) by writing short fiction and non-fiction stories…

Thousands of smart people just like you are are already brining in an easy $1,000, $2,000…even as much as $5,000 every single week just by doing this easy writing in their spare time…and now it’s your turn!

How Is This Possible?

If all of this sounds too good to be true, let me put your mind at ease by showing you the reason why this is all possible:

The #1 thing all online businesses need in order to survive is more people visiting and buying from their websites. Think about it…the more people who go to their site, the more sales they can make…simple enough right?

Now here’s where you come in:

Since 90% website visitors come from the major search engines (Google and Yahoo)…the more content pages a business has, the more times one of it’s pages (articles) will show up in the search results when a potential customer does a search…

Which is why…

These businesses are starving to put up
as many content pages as possible!

They know that the more content pages they have on their site, the more people they will get to click over to their site, and the more money they will make.

And because these business are too busy doing other things, they will gladly pay YOU top-dollar for writing simple articles, blog posts, and even fiction and non-fiction short stories…for them!

How Much Can You Make?

Don’t let the easy nature of this opportunity fool you, because even though the work is dead-simple, the pay is amazing!

They’re absolutely right, the pay IS amazing — amazingly small!

(BTW, I took out all the H1 and H2 headers used throughout the come-on — I mean “Job Description”.)

You’re assured “It’s a never-ending supply of high-paying, simple and easy writing jobs that come to YOU…”

Uhm, I guess some folks would consider it “high-paying” if you live in a hovel in a war-torn wasteland. If you read carefully when they start calculating how much you can “easily” earn, you discover you’re being paid $10 per article. Now at 500 words per article that comes out to .02¢ per word. Even at a mere 250 words per article (and exactly how much content would that be for a web site), it comes out to .04¢  per word. These are the wages Depression Era pulp writers earned! but wait, a bit of hunting on my part unearths that many of these “assignments” are for 1-2,000 word articles — which comes to .01-.005¢ per word!

Anyone who’s tried the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) competition knows how hard it is to knock out 2,000 words a day without worrying about  writing well. So how in the world can you possibly write enough relevant and quality content for all these web sites who are going to be hiring you through this “network?” And how do they know you’re good enough?

Oh, relax. As the pitch page — er, Job Description puts it:

And if you’re worried that you might not be the best writer, or that you never attended any college or higher-learning institute…it does NOT matter one bit!

Because…

These Companies Don’t Care Who You Are, Where You Live, Or Your Level Of Education

The writing tasks you’ll be doing will be so easy an 8-year-old child could do them…

You just follow the simple instructions that come with each job…and everything you need to complete the job will be right there for you!

 If you do any research on these kinds of come-ons, you discover that what you are actually getting “hired” to do is copy-and-paste content from other web sites or copy from books and magazines (if you’re slow and don’t want to make as much $$). Then you change a couple of words here and there, maybe move a paragraph around and — voila! — instant content.

Oh course, it’s immoral, unethical and illegal, but hey, it’s easy money “writing” so come-on, click the “Complete Registration” button.

 

Don't fall for these writing job scams!

Don't fall for these writing job scams!

Now I’ve read enough of these scam-artist programs to know that I wasn’t going to get the “opportunity” to work for slave wages for free, so I wasn’t surprised when clicking on the “Complete Registration” brought me to a page where I needed to give them a credit card.

 

I was receiving a once-in-life-time, limited-time offer (you knew it was a limited-time offer because there’s a little box in red counting down the seconds). Instead of paying the “normal” $69.95″ Per Month (!!) for Unlimited Access Membership to the Freelance Home Writers Network, I could sign up in the next 1,400 seconds for a low rate of $2.95 for 7 days followed by a mere $47 per month fee.

Let me get this straight. I pay these jokers $50 for the privilege of seeing a list of unethical thieves who are offering me  $10 per article so they can scam Google by appearing to have relevant content on their sites to improve their Page Ranking?  Wow! What a deal! 

And this is assuming these guys actually pay me after I do the work. But since I know none of the people  involved in this operation are ethical, how likely are they to be honest.

The truly sad part of all of this, is that I’ve read pieces by writers of no integrity who would do this sort of thing. At least the ones who write term papers get paid a half-way decent rate.

When I think of all the people I know who actually care about their work and writing and all the desperate souls who lose good money to these sleaze balls, I just want to go Nietzsche on these festering maggots.

But wait there’s more!

As you attempt to leave the site you’re get a pop-up javascript alert offering you a chance for a “Work From Home Success Kit” where you can “Make Money Working at Home With Google!” 

Clicking on the link takes you to another come-on micro-site promising me I can earn $100-1,000 per month “fast, free, profitably” with my “free Google Automated Income Kit”. Of course to get my “Free” kit, I get a 14-day free trial BlogToolKit.com web site. And after 14-days I will be billed $39.95 a month. For a blog page. The kind I could get for free from Blogger or WordPress.com or LiveJournal or a dozen other sources.

Oh, and if you want to unsubscribe from all of these spammers and scammers? Well, you’re suppose write a snail mail to this address in Florida to request being removed from the list, however, the business is owned by someone in Juneau, Alaska. Is there some kind of residency requirement in Alaska that one out of three residents must be embarrassing examples of knuckle-dragging, selfish, greedy creatures on the cusp of evolving into homo sapien?

Grrrrr! She says, Grrrr!

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Beware Freelance Home Writers Scam

  1. johnalexwood

    You start to get the idea that EVERY ‘make money online’ idea is a scam. Are they ANY legit systems? I can write and would like to earn from it. Is it actually possible?

    Reply
    1. carolyn

      Yes, there are ways but no “get rich quick” way that is legal, moral or ethical. It’s getting harder for writers (and artists and photographers and designers) to make a good living from their efforts. The business model has changed (actually, it changed a while back but it’s still in flux) and now it’s possible for amateurs to compete. In addition, for a lot of writing work, we are now competing with large numbers of people from other countries.

      I believe the key is to find a niche and really become a master of that niche, particularly a niche. But it’s hard to stick with a niche when you feel the pinch. I know. You have to decide do you want to be Seth Godin, blogging and writing non-fiction titles about a cutting-edge, or do you want to MC Beaton or Lillian Jackson Braun, writing fiction in the same series forever.

      There are some freelance opportunities that are legitimate, but none of them pay well except SEO copywriting — and you really need to know your SEO and how to write online marketing copy.

      I hoping to start doing more pieces about writing markets and options as well as interview some successful (i.e., earning a living writing) authors.

      Reply
  2. leapingoutofwater

    In my experience, in order to really succeed, you need to love it enough to give it away first.
    Really enjoyed this article. I got the same scam e-mail you got, and found your blog by googling the first paragraph from said e-mail. I notice you use advertising space on your blog. So I hope in some small way, eventually you have made a few cents off that scam! (without paying the scammer’s ridiculous fees)

    While it is frustrating that there are people out there who perpetrate these abominations of trust, I have to admit I love getting these e-mails. I save a lot of them because they seem so humorous and ridiculous. Some day I hope to write a long fragment poem out of their pieces. It’ll be like recycling garbage! Who’s with me?
    Take out the papers and the scams! yackety-yack!

    Reply
  3. Freelancer

    of course like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the reality then again I will surely come back again.

    Reply
    1. Carolyn Post author

      Sorry about the typos (it’s typos and not actual spelling errors in most cases; bless spell check). A lot of the posts, especially the early posts were done in a time-crunch situation, composed and posted directly on site (rather like social media posts). I’m also the world’s worst proofreader, since I read what I expect to be written and not always what is actually on the page. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and do better, particularly since I know I have more international visitors.

      Glad you find the site useful. I think you are going to find a lot more useful items in my up-coming series on getting better results by committing just 5-30 minutes per day.

      Reply
  4. vitju

    In 2011, I “hired” Indian American freelancer named Delson Armstrong (Delson90) to write a screenplay, or two scripts actually.
    He recommended paying outside Elance, and I paid him $7500 upfront. He wrote couple of pages, but then I saw that he ran out of motivation. Maybe it had something to do with the money, and there was no contract. He realized that I live in Europe, and he was in New York, so nothing´s going to take the money away from him, whether he does the work or not.

    During first 16 months, he kept on saying that everything is going as planned, he´s been working hard and written this many pages, but he doesn´t want to show it yet. Excuses and explanation “I will show it tomorrow, next week, I have been sick, it´s thanksgiving here…”
    But nothing happened.
    Anyway, I was hoping for a new start even though we both knew that he´s a shameless liar.
    16 months: he wrote a synopsis for a regular agent story, and stuff like that.
    20 months: he returned 600 dollars.
    24 months: he really started writing this regular agent story he had created.
    26 months: he had a 6 week pause and deleted his Elance after receiving 2.5 star feedback from another job.

    I basically paid his rent or holiday trips,and wasted 6900 while he kept me hanging for two years.

    Reply
    1. Carolyn Cooper

      I gather this is more in the way of a rant about your poor experiences in hiring a particular freelance writer. I’m sorry for you loss of time and money, and perhaps it will provide cautionary tale for authors who are considering going the freelance route. I recommend that anyone thinking of hiring someone to do freelance work, particularly freelance creative work, establish some milestones for payment both in the work itself and in the amount of time taken to achieve these milestones, and above all have a written contract that delineates clearly what is expected by each side and —- here’s the part most people fail to do — clearly states and enumerates the primary and any secondary or tertiary goal for the project. For example, the goal for your script make have been “Produce a professional first draft documentary screenplay of the current state of government and business corruption in X by Y date.”

      And I highly recommend that you, and every actually, read Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational as well as Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending to help recognize fallacies and influences in economic decision-making. “Throwing good money after bad” after the initial loss of the original $7,500 is a common economic behaviour that we can all learn to recognize and overcome.

      I hope you have more success in the future in getting your creative project launched.

      Reply

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