When you’re looking to start or even advance your writing career, you have to be careful of scams. There are thousands of websites looking to sell you advice, which 9 times out of 10 is regurgitated BS that tells you nothing but the bare basics. Below is a list of things to look for to tell whether you’re looking at a possible writing scam.
- One long webpage full of site promotion and testimonials followed by several links advertising special time pricing. These are either straight out scams or a complete waste of your time. This are typically sites that tell you how to create duplicates of the website you’re viewing. Never give your money to these sites, no matter what they promise. If there were such professionals, they’d have a professional looking website.
- Asks for personal information. If you have to give over your name, address, phone number, and any other personal information just to visit a site, then the site is a scam. The only things you should be required to give in order to register on a writing website is an email address, password, and a name to write under (only if you’re actually writing for the site). For most sites, PayPal is used to pay you, so providing your PayPal email address is the only other requirement you need to fulfill to be paid. There are some writing sites that require tax information if you make over a certain amount each year. By the time this information is required, you should trust the site.
- Asks for work before you’re paid. There are writing websites and forums where users post requests for writers to do certain projects. Always ask for some type of reference from anyone you want to work for. Many users take your work and don’t pay. Before joining a site and taking on a project, be sure you’ll get paid. Look through forums on other writing sites to see if anyone else has experience on the site you’re looking to use. Associated Content provides a great forum for Other Online Gigs to help you find which sites work and which ones don’t.
- Asks you to pay to work. You should NEVER EVER pay to work. You can pay for information, access to writing tools and software, and website and blog hosting. However, if you have to pay just to access a list of available assignments or pay a membership fee just to write for the website, don’t do it. The site is a scam. You won’t make your money back. A true writing site makes there money from a preset amount from each sale or ad revenue. They’ll make money off you simply by you writing for them. They won’t deter members by asking for membership dues.
- Asks for free or cheap services. Never short sell yourself. If an ad or website asks you to write an article for far less than it’s worth, odds are, you’re getting scammed. They want to buy your work for little or nothing, take away your byline, and sell the article elsewhere for profit. If you retain rights to your work and keep a byline, it’s okay to sell an article for less than it’s worth. For instance, you can sell a 400 word article at Associated Content for $4-$5, place it on Helium for page views and $.50-$2.50 depending on the category, and then again on Constant Content for around $6 for usage rights. All of these sites let you retain full rights over your work. If you’re asked for exclusive rights, no byline, and less than .02 per word, don’t even consider it.
- Make money for nothing. This one should be obvious, but I’ve seen so many people fall for it. One email I recently received had a subject line saying I could make $5000 a month by writing a few articles per week. I’d love to make thousands a month by writing a few articles and marketing the hell out of them. Guess what, that’s not going to happen. The research required to write extremely high paying articles takes time. Far more time than the few hours a week those types of scams advertise. You’ll only waste your time and loose money by missing out on legitimate opportunities if you try to take the easy way out.
These are just a few of the typical scams you might find. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stay safe and save your skills for real writing jobs. Legitimate sites will help you advance your career for little or no monetary gain. That’s what ads are for. Use common sense and writing communities to avoid becoming the next victim of a writing scam.