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Beware of jobs advertised as
"Hiring Freelance Writers"

Getting paid fairly as a freelance writer is no easy matter.  When you answer a help wanted advertisement for someone hiring freelance writers, make sure you get the answers to these questions before you sign on the dotted line.

Q: How much will you be paid?
  • Look for specific promises such as "$200 per article" or "50% of advertising revenue generated on pages your work appears."
  • If someone says "we will pay you a percentage of revenue for some of the ads on pages your work appears," then ask for a specific percentage.  Would you work for a late-night TV used car saleman who promised an "unknown commission?"
  • Some sites make very little money on  Google ads and make a great deal on "pay per view" banner advertising.  One web site owner said he was willing to pay 100% of Google ad revenue to writers because he wants them to generate traffic to display high paying banner ads.  In theory, a website owner could make good money with no readers and hundreds of writers viewing many pages daily to create content and moderate discussion forums between themselves!
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Q: How much do the top writers make? 
  • Will they tell you who the top writers are so you can verify what you are told?  Some prolific writers might have nothing better to do or write for exposure while you might want the job to put food on the table. 
  • It should be clear to you how much you will earn if you write a specific number of articles.  A top writer might have 1,000 articles making $1 a month to clear $1,000 a month.  Would you be happy with $1 per month per article? 


Q:  How often will you be paid?
  • What if the company goes out of business before they pay you? 
  • Getting paid right away is the best way to avoid someone owing you a large amount of money then going out of business or selling the business to somoene out of the country who won't feel obligated to pay you.

Q:  How will you be paid?
  • Do you get a check? 
  • Do you have to give them your Social Security number and Bank account information to transfer payments?
    • Do you want to give someone on the internet your social security number and/or bank account number before they have shown they will pay you with a check?  One solution is to ask for payment by PayPal
  • Do they have a threshold of earnigs before they send a check? 
    • What happens if they have a $10 minimum earnigns threshold, you write 5 articles and only earn $5?  Will they send you what you earned if you quit? Will they still pay you for advertising after you quit or are you locked in to a wringi more and more articles to get the future pay?
  • Do they deduct fees for processing checks?

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Q:  What additional duties are required by contract besides the articles?
  • Some places requre writers to moderate discussion forums for their articles.  If you sign up for this, make sure there are tools to block problem posters.  One person who does not like your opinion can become an infinite time sink making up fake names to harass you on the forum.  You should have the option to turn off comments if this happens to you.
  • Rememvber, some web sites make most of their money on banner advertising so they make more money if writers are kept busy trying to make a few troublemakers happy who just want the attention and don't care if they waste your time.

Did we leave anything off the list?  If you have others, then send us an email

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