Scam Alert – Getting Professionally Written Articles For Free

Getting Free Professionally Written Articles seems to be not only easy, but no big deal to some people.

This thread was posted on Facebook, then Twittered, and apparently that was too much scrutiny and has since been shut down. However, I’m sure the scam continues so I’ll post what I remember from the original thread (I should have copied it, but I didn’t. Ironic, no?)

The subject was how to get professionally written articles for free. You know, because evidently it’s better to put more energy into figuring out how to steal content than writing your own material.

This “ppatil” person posted a very “helpful” black hat tactic of ganking professionally written articles by placing a free Craigslist ad (in the suburbs, not the city listings; there’s a $25 posting fee for posting in the big cities and this was too expensive for our intrepid friend) looking for professional writers. The ad read like it was a legitimate opportunity; ppatil advised asking for a resume also, “to make it look more authentic.” The ad asked for a “sample” article written for a specific topic, and a choice of five topics was given.

Further instructions included word count (400 minimum) and other parameters common to article writing. A pay rate of $10 – $15 was offered. (Smart, this. Not so high, not too low, right in the middle.) More work was promised if the writer met the expectations. Applications submitted without the article would not be considered.

He received 20 decent responses, with samples attached. “ppatil” then took those articles and posted them at Associated Content under his own account, and he stated he had earned $35 so far.

Other contributors to the thread added refinements to this process, such as asking for subjects that weren’t the “same old same old” subjects of weight loss and such. Again, it was reiterated to target small cities and suburbs, where it didn’t cost anything to place such an ad.

It has been my practice not to write articles on spec. I’ll point prospective clients to content already published, and provide live links to work I’ve done on the web. I’ll provide references, but I won’t submit a sample article written to their specifications UNLESS I’ve checked out the company and I’m assured they’re legit. I realize this might put me at a disadvantage for some jobs, but I have to cover my ass.

The moral of the story? Due diligence, my friends. Yes, you’re trying to land a gig. Yes, the client has every right to see work you’ve done. BUT, it’s way too easy to get ripped off by unscrupulous sharks that inhabit the Internet Pond. The best way to combat this is to investigate the client, which you should always do before sending any unpaid work, if you decide to submit unpaid work at all. Another solution is to have an online portfolio, whether it’s your own site or hosted at Helium, Associated Content, or Constant Content. And, keep track of your articles you’ve written — see where they end up.

These guys get my Phucktard of the Month award. And that, friends and neighbors, is free.

Anything else is not.

****

ADDENDUM: Here is the original posting as it appeared. (Thanks, Tara!!)

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#1 (permalink)
Old 03-13-2009, 04:18 PM
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Default Getting free professionally written articles
Heyya peeps, haven’t been on in a long while since the hack attacks, but got into this AC thing. So far its shit cause they’re real big bloody assholes about what kind of articles they want; kinda like a little kid who picks at his food.

Well I guessed they couldnt turn professionally written articles down so here’s what I did short and simple. I went to craiglist put up a job listing in suburbs and shit like that (since the cities cost $25), it was for a writing position on how-to’s and guides. I instructed them to send me a newly written sample 500 word article on a topic that I chose for each ad. I also asked for a resume to make it look more authentic.

Took about 4 days, but I got maybe 10 to 20 articles on good subjects that I submitted to AC and got paid a good $35 bucks total for the articles since they were very nicely written.

Try it out and enjoy!
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#2 (permalink)
Old 03-14-2009, 12:00 AM
wscn007 wscn007 is offline
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
smart idea.
my situation is i got lots of 0.99 for each article,that sux a lot!
im moving to other sites..
fu*k AC

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Old 03-14-2009, 02:57 AM
Rkelly Rkelly is offline
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Not a bad idea. Might try this over the weekend. AC has been getting slow on paying out though.

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Old 03-14-2009, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Yea, if I were you I’d leave AC and use articles to actually gain SERP for your own sites.

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Old 03-14-2009, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
which cities u posted ? care to share ?

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Old 03-14-2009, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Any rural or suburb will work, cities won’t because, well you have to pay $25 per post and it’s simply not worth it.

Few ideas, Ottawa, Worcester MA, etc.

Writers are everywhere, just pick a region that CL doesn’t charge for and post
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Old 03-14-2009, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
AC is awful imo

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Old 03-18-2009, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
is there any way that they could sue or should i put a disclaimer at the bottom of the craigslist ad or at the bottom of the email that assigns their topics.

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Old 03-19-2009, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
have posted an ad on kijiji, will update as to its success. I posted it in New York City by the way

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Any update on your side mrblackhat ? I am about to try this myself..

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:25 PM
FreeTheTV FreeTheTV is offline
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Yes, Associated Content is not writable without the words Ass and Con.

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Old 03-22-2009, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
I posted ad on kijiji in the job section but strangely my ad didn’t show up, i’ll try posting it locally and i’ll be back to update, i’ll post on craigslist aswell.

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Old 03-23-2009, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
This is a great idea. I’m going to try it right now

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Old 03-23-2009, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
People are just too straight forward and bland.

AC can pay decent per article, just stop writing articles on boring topics which have been discussed 1,000 times over and over.
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Join Bukisa – Fuck AC! Get Paid To Submit Articles/Audio/Videos. They Don’t Have To Be Original Either!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
Today I posted 10 job offers in different cities in California. I received around 10 responses, on the first day, but only 4 articles. 4 of the postings were also flagged and deleted. Hmm…

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Old Yesterday, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Getting free professionally written articles
You have to be very convincing in your ad, this is one of mine:

Quote:
We are a new start up that specialize in providing niche content to online publishers and webmasters. We are seeking candidates that are well versed writers who can write flexibly and on many unique subjects. We are looking to acquire content that is not time sensitive, so we will generally prefer writers who are best at creating guides and how to articles. We pay very competitive rates that are around the $10 to $15 per article range. We also compensate by the hour if so desired and will take care of the telecommunication required. Articles that you write must have proper grammar and syntax and should also be more than 400 words in length.

If you wish to be considered or wish to show interest please reply with resume attached. ALSO, as a quality sample please write and attach an article on the any of the subjects specified below. 400 Words MINIMUM:

Subjects:

Airsoft (Equipment and Sport)
Investing
Guitar playing
Household Cleaning methods
Study habits and time management

A niche and unique subject of your choosing will also be accepted as long as it displays flexibility and wide general knowledge and research skills. This means no weight loss/ pet care content or content on subjects already widely available on the internet, we focus on building a unique library of high value content.

REPLIES WITHOUT A RESUME AND AN ARTICLE THAT IS NOT PRE-WRITTEN WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED

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#queryfail

I’ve thought long and hard, and I just have to weigh in on this. I’m fairly certain my opinion isn’t going to make me popular among some, but I’ve never given a rat’s ass what people thought of me, anyway. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as it’s kept professional and respectful.

Therein lies the problem.

Last week on Twitter, a few NYC agents came up with a brilliant idea to have a “#queryfail” day. The hashtag gives the subject its own Twitter  “stream”, similar to a group chat. Keep in mind the “group chat” reaches thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions, who knows? Anyway, the point of this chat group was to “educate” new writers what exactly causes a query to an agent to fail. Thus, “#queryfail”.

It sounds good, in theory. Didn’t go so well, in practice. You see, even though “identifiers” were not used, actual excerpts from the failed queries were. Snarky comments were made by not only agents, but other writers. Jokes, sniggers, and mocking were also known to have happened. (And before you even ask, yes, I Twitter, and yes, I read the stream. Some have accused those not such fans of #queryfail to have not read the stream.) What started out as a simple “education” process soon started to feel like recess in an elementary school, where the “cool” kids make fun of the “not-so-cool” kids. It got ugly, to the point one of the hostesses has recieved threatening letters.

How did it go so wrong? Well, to be sure, there were good things about it. I’ve edited hundreds of stories, a few novels, and even did stints as a guest editor for a couple of ezines. I can understand how frustrating it is for an agent to receive 26 queries only to find 24 of them didn’t follow guidelines. I can understand the need to vent, and the need to educate. What I fail to understand is the need to humiliate people in a public forum (and Twitter is about as public as you can get) and hide it under the term “educate”. Sure, names were not used, but the actual excerpts from the letters were, bringing up another issue of public domain and copyright. The snarky comments started slowly, then built up a head of steam resulting in a train wreck.

In order to be in this business, you need a thick skin. This is a given. Some aspiring writers are clueless, and while unfortunate, this is also a given. However, this was not a chat among agents and writers in a private room; this was in full public view, and I would hazard a guess it revealed a LOT more about the participants than it did about the poor hapless writers who have problems writing a query letter. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what is done in public, what the hell goes on in private? But then, it’s private and I don’t have to know. I also wondered if these agents, who took time out of a busy day to skewer the hapless writer, ever took the time to contact the writer and tell them, in private and in a professional way, just what it was that made the query fail. Feel me?

It stirred up a hornet’s nest. There’s one faction that defends the practice, and another which is horrified and outraged, and worse yet, another faction that thinks sending “hate mail” or threats is the way to handle it. I think this may be an instance of good intentions paving the way to hell. There are just so many other constructive ways this could have been handled, rather than holding anonymous writers up for ridicule, even if that wasn’t the original intent. Even though I don’t have a query currently making the rounds, I was really shocked and horrified at some of the comments made. I wonder too, if agents start out like this or do they become burnt and bitter after years of people ignoring the guidelines and submitting to inappropriate markets?

Will there be another #queryfail? I don’t know. Probably. It seemed to be very popular. Which makes me very sad, not just as a writer or an editor, but as a person. There’s already enough negativity out there to wrestle with, and I was better off not knowing the darker side of people I had come to respect and admire. Not to mention elementary school is many years behind me, and rightfully so.

Or maybe… I wasn’t better off. Ignorance might be bliss, but it blisters your ass when you’re not looking.

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Laundromat Etiquette

Soap Opera Laundry
Image by Brent and MariLynn via Flickr

I realize this has nothing to do with writing, but I really need to get this off my chest.

I’m a veteran of the laundromat. I think I started about the time I was tall enough to reach the knobs on a washer and dryer, so I’ve been around the laundromat rodeo, feel me? There is a certain protocol that must be followed, lest someone lose a limb or other body part.

This is aimed at single guys who come to the laundromat with no clue of how things work.

1. Open the door for people, willya? You see that little gramma lady struggling with two baskets and a Walmart bag full of laundry soap, go open the door for her! Yes, i realize the sports part of the noon news is on, but jezuz wept, whatever you miss now you can catch at six. I promise.

2. Wait your turn. Listen, bubba, don’t think you are EVER going to beat a veteran at the laundromat wars to the washers or the dryers, because you will lose a kidney at the very least. Yes, I realize the noon sports is on….*sigh*

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