jeez .. $77 for a free list of writing sites?

So there I was, skipping round the web, updating my FB and making rude comments, and landed on this advert for freelance writing.

First flag o'danger? "No experience necessary". Yeaaaaright. 

Second flag o'danger? $77 membership per month. What the .. surely there is some marvellous new opportunity here of which we knew nothing. But no ...

Third flag o'danger: "Start Getting Paid To Write Today!" Today? You get paid today? You start writing today? You start thinking about writing today? You think about writing and start getting paid today? No, no, no, no, and no.

See, what they're doing is suggesting that if you pay them $4.95 as an introductory fee, you will immediately begin a freelance writing career with no experience. Imagine that! What it actually is, is a resource list of websites where you apply and bid and take your chances, and if you're lucky and you can write, you can make money. So they get your money, and you get ..... nothing, particularly if you have no experience, apart from a list of sites that you can pick up anywhere free as air.

To elaborate: in their Top Jobs of the Month they list Suite 101 as a possible source. Now, at Suite, you need to apply and be accepted before you can start writing. They have a strict vetting process and not everyone gets in, so that idea falls flat on its back, out cold, and doesn't get up before the count.

So, let us return to the drawing board. What's this? "Get paid to write at eHow". Well, since Demand Studios owns eHow and supplies all the material, you're going to have to apply to Demand Studios. See above for Suite applications and add "ditto". Rinse, and repeat.

If I was a really, really cynical person I might suggest that these guys are fleecing people who  are desperate to earn money in the middle of a recession, by acting as a conduit to riches despite the fact that they're encouraging people with no writing experience. But I'm not, so I won't. That wasn't really me being cynical and wishing outfits like this weren't able to get their ads accepted so that people will get all excited about nothing and lose money in the hope that they will be instantly successful despite the clever little caveats on the site.I

If it was that easy, don't you think everyone would be doing it?