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The Word Philes 7

May 4, 2009

Today’s episode of The Word Philes is subtitled “How Not To Advertise Your Job” and is brought to you courtesy of a freelance buyer who repeatedly makes the same mistake.

A little background: most freelance job sites are like trendy nightclubs on a Friday night – they’re meat markets. While there are some classy individuals who are there to meet people, dance and enjoy themselves, the majority of attendees are lounge lizards who are out hunting. They target young, single women – fresh, naïve, probably a little drunk and willing to accept lower quality (if it’s wearing Armani).

In freelancing terms, the classy people are the ones who post full job details, offer a reasonable rate of pay for the work required and are willing to push their budget a bit when they find someone with remarkable talent.

The lizards, on the other hand, want the best they can get for the smallest outlay. New freelancers and offshore workers are the best targets: enthusiastic, unfamiliar with reasonable pricing and as naïve as a college fresher on Spring Break. (Not that I’d know, of course.)

Here’s the job advertisement in question:

I need a lot of writing done – I don’t have a big budget.  I need about 1 articles / blog to be writen between today or tommorow .  Most of the articles will come from transcribing about 15 hours of audio / video material.  your job is to write me a  1 article.  more information will be given in interview. I only have about $10 to pay for this work, I am trying to help a client so I hope you can provide this.  I don’t really do upfront payment.

I should add that a very similar ad has appeared almost every day for a week. The most noticeable change has been that the buyer now wants “about 1 articles”, whereas he originally wanted 47 for the same price. Yes, forty-seven.

I have the following to say about this (incredibly bad) advertisement:

  • Payment of ten dollars
  • 15 (note, fifteen) hours’ transcribing as research
  • TEN dollars. TEN.
  • Completed by tomorrow
  • Ten. 10. One Zero. Dix. Zehn. Tien. Dieci. Dziesiec.
  • No up-front payment.
  • $10/15 + hours = roughly 65c per hour

I don’t need to explain what we can learn from this, do I? Thought not.

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