Freelance Writers Beware: Don’t Confuse SEO Marketing With Journalism



    Web Companies Prey on Freelance Contributors

    In response to a recent ad for a freelancer, I responded to an ad from a New York company.  In return, I received this job solicitation which indicates the sad state of freelance journalism combined with the cheap tricks some web advertisers use to entice readers.

    Don't be enticed by scam writing jobs
    Don’t be enticed by scam online writing jobs

    Here is the scam: “Writers are asked to post 20 slideshows per month, plus four articles of at least 250 words per month for a monthly total of 24 posts. In return, writers will be paid $200 per month, which is $10 per slideshow, as well as a 50/50 split of advertising money based on page views once that revenue share goes live. We are working very hard to get that done as soon as possible.

    “The quota must be at least 20 slideshows and four articles per month and it must be met to receive payment. In regards to slideshows, each slideshow must be at least 31 slides long. We do offer a how-to guide which shows you how to build a slideshow. If you happened to do more than 20 slideshows then you will be paid $10 for each additional slideshow. “

    All told, my bet is that this comes out to a few dollars per hour of keyboard drudgery.

    To make matters worse, writers will have to wait two months to get paid.  That delay is because the writers have to wait for the company to get paid by advertisers.  This means the company does not have the capital and enough faith in its own product to pay the freelance writers, so the writers are taking all the financial risk, as well as this extremely low, Third World pay.

    Scams like this, as well as other SEO writing jobs, all indicate the bubble-like qualities of web “advertising,” which is really not advertising at all, but a ploy to get “eyeballs” and click-throughs.

    My conclusion: the Internet bubble is alive and well (as indicated by the NADAQs recent record high), as long as the hot VC money continues its financial alchemy on investors and cows too many financial journalists.  Worse, corporate advertisers really must have no idea of what their mopey is being used for if they pay dearly for these types of junk web products.

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    Chuck Epstein has managed marketing communications and public relations departments for major global financial institutions and participated in the launch of industry-changing financial products. He also has written by-lined articles for over 50 publications, five books and served as editor and publisher of nation’s first newsletter on the topic of using the PC for personal investing and trading. (“Investing Online, 1994-1999). He also is a marketing consultant, writer and speaker on topics related to investor protection and opportunities in the very dynamic cannabis industry. He has held senior-level marketing, PR and communications positions at the New York Futures Exchange, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Lind-Waldock, Zacks Investment Research, Russell Investments and Principal Financial. He has won national awards from the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA) and his web site,, was named best small blog in 2009 by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).


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