Show me the money! The downside of Internet-based writing gigs

The Internet has affected every aspect of our world today. It is how the world communicates. Whether we use the Internet for research, job hunting, work or play, the Internet has truly revolutionized our age, and has become the driving force of our time.

One of the ways the Internet has affected our world is in the job-hunt.  No longer are we in an age where you can just walk into a business, hand them your resume and say, “I’m here to apply for a job.”  Whether you are searching for work in a grocery store, Starbuck’s, Home Depot, a dental office, or you happen to be a writer looking to work for a publication, the process has changed because of the Internet.

Looking for writing work today is both easier and harder.  It is easier because of the Internet.  Freelance writer’s can go to a number of credited sites that daily post hundreds of writing jobs.  Some of those sites are:

  • (membership fee required)
  • Suite101.c0m

To name a few…

Of course, Craigslist is a very popular site to look for work on, however, keep in mind that there is always the possibility of an ad being a scam, or untruthful, or a way to suck personal information from you, which in turn can provide annoying telemarketers with your contact information.  You do need to use wisdom when applying for any job off of Craigslist.

The bottom line with all of these job sites is…. SHOW ME THE MONEY!  I am not writing for free, unless I choose to, and you shouldn’t either!

Here is a hypothetical situation:

Marty has been writing for 15 years, and recently lost his job as the copywriter for a magazine that went belly-up due to the economy.  After spending 6 months searching with a myriad of print publications, he has decided to do freelance work from home (yeah, he and all the other gazillion writers in the U.S.).  So, he immediately goes to Craigslist and to see what he can come up with.  After sending 30 resumes out, he feels confident (based on his experience), that something turns up.  How right he is… he gets an email from a website that needs a copywriter!  He thinks, “This was way too easy.  I am so in!”  He has a phone interview with the owners of the site, etc., and submits his first article on time.  Issues don’t arise until Marty has waited for over 3 weeks for a pay check.  Naturally he decides to put a call into his contact to find out what’s up?  Only, the call goes directly to email.  Marty then emails the company and asks for his big $150 check.  The owner of the website emails him back to say, “Oh, the editor that we just hired to manage the site will be making contact with you about our guidelines.  “Guidelines?” he says. There were no guidelines, they had an agreement, a phone conversation, and 3 or 4 email exchanges confirming his writing job, and the specifics for the job.  So, some 3-4 days later, Marty gets an email from this newly-hired, arrogant editor informing him that his article does not fit within the website guidelines, but since he submitted it prior, the owner and editor have agreed to give him $50 for the powder room, and allow him to re-submit other articles according to their stipulations.  HELLLLLLLLLO!  What ever happened to the agreement between the website owner and Marty?  At this point, Marty does not respond to the arrogant editor, but sends the website owner a very stern professional letter, basically telling her to take her $50 and shove it, and he informs her that they are NOT allowed to use any portion of his article.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the next 2 jobs Marty landed off of Craigslist were a serious waste of time and talent!  With an utter irritation at all of these so-called Internet business guru’s Marty stands up from his perch, shaking his fist at his computer, while downing a  LUCKY Lager with the other hand, and suddenly screams out, “JUST SHOW ME THE MONEY!”


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