Color us just “shocked,” really…freelance writer Oliver Pelling describes an experience he had with a company that offered him freelance writing work that turned out to be not exactly the glamorous life he’d envisioned.
It started when he received an email from a magazine he’d interned for the previous year, asking whether he’d be interested in writing freelance product reviews for £6.25 an hour.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but Pelling says he was currently earning minimum wage, a little less than what the magazine was offering, so to him, it sounded like a great deal.
“I got another email….They wanted me to write about products I would never see, touch or feel, let alone test. I had no prior experience or expertise with any of the products and I was expected to research them on the fly. They would email me a list of product names every few days and that is all the information they would provide me with. They wanted me to lie…That’s not even the good bit: they wanted me to write an average of 30 reviews a day.”
Pelling inquired whether that number was a mistake (after all, that works out to 15 minutes per 300-word review, not including time to muck around with SEO) and was told that “the rate of pay and workload had been welcomed ‘with open arms’ by other writers…My email friend also felt it necessary to repeatedly tell me that this was a ‘great opportunity to get published’ and to develop my own writing style. I had never felt so patronised in my life.”
He turned the gig down.
But unlike most content farm stories, this one has a happy ending:
“A few weeks later, I checked the job section on the company’s website. They were seeking ‘writing interns’ to write 250-300 word product reviews with an immediate start. The internships were billed as: ‘A great way to get published and develop your own style of writing.’ I wondered where all the other writers that took on the job ‘with open arms’ went.”
Now you may color us quite pleased.