Wearing the Wellies

As I extend out into new areas trying to expand the client base, I realize just how prevalent and how deep the crap jobs have become. This week seemed especially bad, probably because I had a temporary lapse in judgment and checked out Craig’s List.

Here are some sample red flags from just one day:

“Creative Writer Wanted!! Send emails to igotitnowpayme@XXXX.com” – Something about that email address screams scam to me. You?

“I need a screenplay writer….little pay but we can talk about that.” – No. No we can’t. If you want a writer, you need to have adequate compensation for that writer’s talents.

“Consumer Oriented Blog Owners Wanted. If you run a blog contact me – pay based on google pagerank, will pay by the month.” – Are you serious? You want me, a blog owner, to contact you and probably hand over control of MY site to you, who takes the profits and pays me Google ad rates? This is my hand waving buh-bye.

“Legal Content Writer (and a huge list of requirements, including pixel sizes for the required photos for each article) Pay: $10 an article.” – And who said lawyers were crooks? I’m thinking it’s these people.

I think the only money to be had at any of these gigs is the tell-all investigation you could write as an undercover reporter. Otherwise, they’re all a total waste of time.

What red flags are flying for you these days?

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  • Wendy May 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Sometimes, the red flag comes a little later. I've responded to ads that give some general details about the gig. Nothing screams red flag at that point. It simply says to contact them if you want more information.

    So, even though you don't expect anything great; you're still curious enough to reply and ask for more information.

    I'd get a reply back thanking me for applying and…
    Congratulations! You're Hired!

    Yea!!! Wait. I was hired based on a simple email asking for more information? I didn't send a resume or clips or anything. Am I really that good? LOL!

    OOPS! I accidentally deleted them. Darn.

  • Cathy May 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I'm with Wendy-the ones that give practically zilch information are a red flag for me. If you can't take the time to provide at least SOME details, I'm inclined to think, "What are you hiding?"

    Or the other red flag for me on Craigslist ads are the ones that do not put anything in Compensation. You expect at least something like "based on experience"-but NOTHING?

    Craigslist is a tough one, but every once in a while you find a good one.

  • Kimberly Ben May 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Lol, I think I saw that ad for the screen play writer too.

    There are so many red flags to watch for. I'm especially leary of:

    – Non professional email addresses (Yahoo, gmail, Hotmail, etc.)

    – No information abou the project, just "I need a writer."

    – Requests for unpaid samples.

    Those are just off the top of my head. And I agree with Wendy – sometimes those red flags show up AFTER you've made contact.

  • Jaycee May 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    * Request for personal information (address, phone numbers, card numbers)

    * Not enough information

    * Unprofessional email addresses.

  • Lori May 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Jaycee, that reminds me of another one – "Send your photo…" Uh, why? Even us ugly writers can do the work. LOL Just creepy, isn't it?

    Kim, perfect. If they're professionals, they'd be using either a cloaked email for privacy or providing a company general email.

    Cathy, I've never understood that, either. They're fishing. They want to see what will be offered and you can bet they'll take the lowest offer. No thanks.

    Wendy, I've had a few of those myself. How can you hire me when my response was "Can you tell me more about the project?" And isn't it always that the response is a canned one?

  • Paula May 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hey, wasn't someone who hangs out at this blog working on an undercover sting of content mills? Or was that just my own wishful thinking?

    This morning I saw yet another Demand Studio/Demand Media ad, this one for a professional editor, and after listing all the requirements it said the pay was "competitive." Yeah, they left out the part about the competition being the editors competing against the clock to squeeze in enough work to break even. "Oh, you thought we meant our pay was competitive with what other places pay their editors? Hah!"

  • Anne Wayman May 19, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    One I always avoid is "female writer wanted."