Up until recently it has been fairly easy to find lucrative online writing gigs by going to bid sites with good reputations for quality work and finding buyers who pay a good rate for good writing and who appreciate what you do.
Then the peanut merchants started sniffing around. People who offer work at below the market rate and dictate terms rudely and officiously in their project descriptions. They want professionally written articles, free of all grammatical and spelling errors, 100% original and packed with researched information. "Don't bother arguing about the fee," they snarl. "It's non-negotiable. $1 per 500 words. Take it or leave it and shut up about it."
Image: The Simpsons
Gee, thanks. Does that come with or without a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.
And still people bid for work with them. What's happening to the self respect that writers have for themselves, and the pride they have in their writing? Since when did $8 a day / $40 a week, if you manage to write 8 x 500-word articles a day, ever pay the bills unless you live in a tent in a field (in which case how are you paying your internet bill ..).
Just the other day a buyer posted a project on iFreelance.com, the wording for which was confrontational and rude. In the discussion that followed he insulted a professional writer. I believe a few people wrote an email of complaint to iFreelance and to the company that runs them - he's still on site of course.
As long as these charlatans continue to post their projects, as long as bid sites accept the projects, and as long as a few providers queue up like slugs at a beer trap for the privilege of being slapped round the face, more buyers will believe that this is all we're worth and the quality of the writing on these bid sites will deteriorate. Pretty soon we will see a decline in the calibre of writers on bid sites and instead the sites will be heaving with article-spinners giving the impression that all you need for an article is a few words and a bit of software. Eventually, those bid sites will go out of business because they will have lost all credibility.
Can we please see bid sites being picky about the projects they allow buyers to post? Can we please see some form of standard to which buyers must adhere in terms of pennies per word?
Or are they too cynical to bother?