Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

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Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Taking control of the industry, Part Two: Removing the rot and reaping the rewards...

This is Part Two...

Another reason why freelancers are dealing with lower rates is because of bad apples that have tainted our collective barrel. Plagiarists, scrapers, those who "took the money and ran" and other less-than-stellar freelance content writers tend to depress prices for legitimate providers. You might think that in a sea of nefarious sharks the honest dealers would be more likely to prosper. However, the perception of freelance content writers is marginalized to the point where establishing trust in the industry is complicated.

What do those of us on the good side of the ethical divide do? Unfortunately, not very much. We tend not to be vocal in our criticisms of cheating writers. We tend to overlook some of the mindsets and circumstances that continue to coax the bugs out from under their rocks. We don't do enough to differentiate ourselves from the bad guys,

Every day that freelance writers plod along without trying to take a stand against those who contribute only decay to the industry are focusing on completion of that next project to the detriment of providing themselves with long term stability.

All freelance content writers should consider making it a point to take a zero-tolerance stance against those whose actions give customers cause for concern. We should be willing to maintain an uncompromising position and to be honest in our assessments when we see things being done "the wrong way."

We should also focus on explaining the value of professional service and quality to the marketplace and reject claims that being a quality writer requires nothing more than a keyboard and few idle hours. The people enticed by these claims invariably turn out to disappoint their few customers and harm the industry.

Those writers who are serious about their work should make a point of differentiating themselves from the low-quality providers. Demanding more money has long been touted as one way of doing that, but market limitations make the efficacy of that strategy questionable unless it is simultaneously buttressed by other efforts demonstrating professionalism and quality.

Every day, I read complaints from writers who are insulted by low offers. They believe that they receive too little respect and are unappreciated. They feel trapped in a global economy that may prefer half-cent per word gambles over those of the nickel variety.

Part of the problem is the supply/demand imbalance that has forced all of us to be as lean and competitive as possible. I am sometimes considered an apologist for low rates because I am willing and able to take jobs that others wouldn't touch. I don't think I am... I tend to believe that I am trying to remain competitive while offering rates that make sense to my prospective clients.

However, one of the reasons those rates have to be a bit lower than even I would like sometimes is because of concerns that are not so much related to supply and demand as they are to quality and honesty. Based on my experience, webmasters will pay more for content when they know their writer is reliable, honest and produces quality. Those who are unwilling to extend a penny per word are as likely to be past burn victims as cheapskates. After a few unsuccessful and disappointing rounds in the freelance content ring, they are convinced the fights are rigged against them. They may be willing to gamble on the cheap, but a serious investment just doesn't make sense based on their experiences.

By taking actions to clean up the freelance content biz, writers can make things better for themselves and their clients.