Why Places like ODesk are killing the writing industry. Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly…


Odesk. Elance. PPH, or PeoplePerHour. If you’re a writer, like I am, you’ll have heard of these sites.

They’re a great way to get started. You learn how to deal with clients, learn how to handle projects, and multitask like you’re a mother with 11 kids.

But, and boy is it a BIIIG but.

Places like these degrade and demean writing. Let me explain. If you’ve ever been to one of these sites — or if you’d like to go and look now, I’ll wait — you can very quickly see what people are offering to pay, and what people offer to work for. And let me tell you — it’s not much.

There are writers out there working for cents an hour. And what’s worse, these writers are fighting each other for these jobs; they’re applying and bidding over these jobs. It makes me a little sick to see what people will work for.

Now, in all honesty, a lot of the ‘writers’ aren’t writers. I mean, they say they are, sure. But I ran a test ‘job post’, and many of these so-called writers couldn’t even string a coherent sentence together. Yes, they’re foreigners, and I’m not suggesting everyone should speak English — how boring life would be with culture and differences.

What I AM saying is…if you’re prancing around saying you’re a writer, and you can’t WRITE…well, you’re just wasting your time, and making the rest of us look bad.

Not only that, those of us who work hard and believe we’re worth more than cents, have people approach us who end up saying (once we’ve given them a quote) ‘Woahhh, hold on there cowboy! I’ve got a writer here whose charging 1 dollar for a 500 word piece! Why would I pay that outrageous sum?!”

And then we’re left with two options:

  1. ) Try and explain that our writing does that we say it does; sounds good, looks good, and makes people buy (or at least read what we’ve written!).
  2. ) Give up and find clients who understand the importance of great content (and great copywriting — sales copy is what I mean).

Option two is the wise choice, if you don’t want to go to bed with a headache tonight, that is. Now, am I writing this expecting things to change? No. Am I writing this with the intention of crusading like a white knight across the internet for writers around the world? Hell no, I don’t have that kind of time.

But if just one potential client or a writer who charges pitiful sums reads this and agrees, or I change their mind, hell — I’ll call that a win.

Written by

Ben Palmer-Wilson

Ad Copywriter, Marketing Consultant, Leicester Tigers Fan, Nerd, Book Worm – I am all of this and more!

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