Freelance Writers: Here’s One Type of Online Job Ad to Beware Of

The first thing I want to make very clear before we get started is that I’m not accusing any company/person/entity of scamming freelance writers. And, the info in this post are my own personal opinions. With that being said, let’s get to today’s post.

Every Sunday, I scour the internet looking for freelance writing job leads to post weekly on this site. This week, I ran across the following ad, which gave me the idea for this post. It read, in part:

Freelance writers needed: We are searching for writers and bloggers with web writing experience to create articles on different subjects. We are looking for serious and responsible collaborators who can commit to strict deadlines. We’re interested in a long term work relationship with all the potential collaborators. This is a freelance job, meaning you can get it done from your own home regardless of where you live. Payment is per published article and the rates vary according to the quality and word quantity of each article.

So, what’s wrong with this? Well, the thing that caught my eye was the phrase, “Payment is per published article …”

New Freelance Writers Especially Beware

How to Spot -- and Avoid -- Freelance Writing Job ScamsThe reason I point this out is, a lot of content mill-like sites will take you on as a writer, give you assignments and pay only IF they accept what you turn in – even if you’ve followed all of their guidelines.

Sometimes the ads are outright scams to get free content from writers. How? Well, they’ll say your article didn’t meet their requirements, so they’re not going to publish it. Only, you’re trolling the web a few days/weeks/months later and find your article on a site – with nary a change in sight.

Now imagine if they do this to hundreds of freelance writers? It’s getting content for free.

So beware of ads like this (eg, per “published” article, per “accepted” post). Make sure you know going in what the acceptance criteria is and that if you write, you’re going to get paid.

As an aside, I used to write for Demand Media (aka eHow.com), which kinda worked like this. Their guidelines became so strict that it was hard to get an article accepted, especially for what they were paying. When I wrote for them, it was $15 to $40 per article – this was back in 2008, I think.

Learn more about my experience as a freelance writer for eHow (the comments section of this post offers some good additional insight from other freelancers).

Learn More about Freelance Writing Job Scams & How to Avoid Them

Following are links to a few articles I’ve written that cover this subject.

Writing Jobs Online: The “Writing Sample” Fraud and How to Avoid It

Online Freelance Writing Jobs: 3 Ways to Avoid Fraudulent Ones

How to Spot Fraudulent Online Freelance Writing Jobs on Popular Sites Like Craigslist

Online Freelance Writing Jobs: The “You’ve Been Selected to Participate” Scam

Freelance Writing Advice: 6 Guidelines for Determining If a Client Will Pay, or If It’s a Freelance Writing Scam

Be careful out there!

Share Your Insight?

Do you know of any freelance writing job scams you can share? Have you ever been scammed as a freelance writer? Please share in the comments section below.

Freelance SEO Content Writing PackageP.S.: Want to start a career as a successful, home-based freelance writer?

Get the exact knowledge that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life.” One freelancer wrote:

Hey Yuwanda,

I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job.

Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!

Is it your turn?

P.P.S.: One week to change your life — train for a career as a highly paid online / SEO writer where you can earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year.

Be Sociable & Share


    1. Thanks for this insightful post, Yuwanda. We can expect more scams targeting freelance writers, especially with content marketing exploding on the Web.