Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warning to Aspiring Writers: Don't allow people to take advantage of your talents!



I need to write about this now because it has been festering in my brain for months. I belong to a group called Book Exchange in Multiply. For so many times, I've been seeing a post repeatedly sent by a particular member who's looking for writers but she is offering such low rates that they are really, really insulting.

Earlier tonight, I once again received an email notification where the person has posted a new ad: "Looking for Medical Article Writers". As someone who has written articles for Health Today magazine, I know how hard it is to come up with credible writeups that would really be helpful to readers. One needs to interview valid resource persons and do extensive research to ensure that the information given are correct.

So I was really annoyed when I read her offer:

Qualification: Must have a medical background for easy understanding.
Rate: $1/500 words
Word Count - 1,000
Workload: Daily

This means that if you write at least 4 medical articles a day, you can earn as much as 420 pesos a day. I will prioritize applicants with medical background but if you're not, you can still apply as long as you testify that you can write medical articles. 

On her main page, she also wrote: "Though this is a rewarding part time job, I do not encourage everyone to apply out of dire need. This is not just a simple writing task. Every article we do is being posted to websites worldwide hence, a keen eye for "quality" is much needed. Patience and persistence in research is also required not to forget being creative.

If you want to venture in this job, you should accept the fact that you will loose patent to your originally written article the moment you submit it to the client."

Rewarding? Not a simple task? And lots of other requirements for the "very attractive" compensation of just one dollar per 500 words??? My goodness! That translates to just around P43.00! And for newbie writers, I doubt if they could come up with quality written work in an hour or less. But for the sake of argument, say you can finish a 500 or 1000 word article in an hour after much research and creativity. Are you willing to be paid P86.00 for that?!
This time around, I couldn't help myself. For the record, I don't know this person (she hasn't been indicating her real name in all her posts, just the pen name Pinaywebified) and this is not a personal attack. I am just criticizing her way of recruiting and paying people to write for her.

So I posted this reply under her post which I've been actually wanting to do for a long time:
"With all due respect, your rates are TOO LOW. Churning out words is not easy and it is insulting that you are only willing to pay that much for a 500 word article -- unless you don't expect good quality writeups.

Here in the Philippines, good articles go for P1.00 per word already. What you're offering people is P420 for four 1000-word articles?! My goodness, that is taking way too much advantage of people's time and efforts!

I know what I am talking about because I am a published magazine and newspaper writer and people in the publishing industry here don't take advantage of writers that way. Even students who submit articles to newspapers are paid fairly."

My point is, clients who give these kinds of offers and "writers" who allow themselves to be used this way are DEGRADING the profession. It sends out the message that "It's okay to abuse us. Use our talents, remove our bylines and copyrights, and pay us peanuts."

Darn it!

23 comments:

matanglawin said...

I can't agree with you more, Ruth. If that is her rate, I'd rather accept laundry from multiple clients, wash the clothes using my washing machine, and earn more than what this writer is offering! Given the time and effort it takes to write quality medical articles, it's impossible to produce 4 articles in a day UNLESS THE ARTICLES WERE WRITTEN USING SPINNING SOFTWARE. I can easily spot these kind of articles though. No matter what they say that there are high quality spinning software, no computer can ever copy what God has given us humans to stand out from other creatures and man made inventions on earth --- our creative human spirit! Creative human spirit is what fuels the capacity of writers to create fabulous writers than can make you laugh, cry, scared and in the end, a more informed and hopefully educated human beings.

Mauie Flores said...

Sadly, $1/500 words is the standard rate nowadays at least in ODesk.com, an online job site. Non-Pinoy writers accept it; other Pinoy freelancers have no choice but to sign up for the job.

ime morales aznar said...

Ruth, there will be a meeting on June 29 9am in UP Diliman re the proposed organization of Filipino freelance writers. I hope you and other freelance writers working in the Philippines can come. Email blubitel@yahoo.com for more details. I believe it's time for freelance writers to get together and change the sorry "standard rate" being paid to us for all our hard work. And by hard work I mean getting interviews, researching, transcribing, writing and editing. Some don't realize that A LOT OF WORK go into writing one single piece, so we don't deserve at all to be paid a few hundred pesos for all the work that is being put into one story. Plus, we pay for our own transportation, gas, telephone bills (for texting and calling), electricity (for use of computer and light), internet cost (for emailing and research), cost of use of recorder, batteries, etcetera, etcetera. Hindi makatarungan na bayaran ka ng kahit dalawang libo para sa lahat ng iyan. Kasi magkano na nga lang ba ang matitira pag binawas mo ang lahat ng expense?? Many writers have always been softspoken and shy and timid about this issue, I think it's time to speak up because pang 1980s pa yang rate na ibinabayad sa atin!

AlRitch said...

azz in super low talaga ang mga offer ngayon... :( nakaalungkot. Many American companies are earning too much from the works of the Pinotys pero ang offer grabe ang baba. Thanks for this post. Sana marami makaread nito.

AlRitch said...

Lalong bumababa na talaga ang rate ngayon if you search it on sites that offer jobs for Filipinos ganun na rin. Nakakalungkot nga eh. They are earning so much using Filipino's talents pero iyon lang binibigay nila.

Lai Marie said...

There are those who really take advantage and insult at one slap on the face.. And they are the ones who benefit from the articles submitted to them.. They would subcontract others with a low payout -- a measly fraction from the income they get from the real bosses.. A freelance writer should know his/her worth in articles is more than a dollar each..

niCey said...

That's because other asian countries would go as low as $0.5 for a thousand worded article.

It's really way too low considering,
-we pay our internet connection monthly
-we pay our electric bill
-we eat thrice a day
-all prices has inflated this 2011
-it's a time of crisis

So, yes, it's kind of insulting...

christine said...

what? $1 for 500 word article? and original pa? i do rewrites at $3 per hour... kinda insulting talaga....

maan pamaran said...

this fast-talking slang-slinging pinay called me on my phone to offer me a PR writing job, where the client was obviously a big creative firm in New York. She offered me 3 dollars per 500-word article, saying that i should be thankful that she is giving me a professional rate!

I submitted a sample just to make her jaw drop, then left her hanging. i think that just served her right.

Nana said...

My gosh! That rate’s waaaaaaay too low and totally unfair! But I remember being given roughly the same figure when I inquired about an online writing job some years ago. It's never going to get better as long as they find writers who are willing to do the job for that measly rate. Walang mang-aabuso kung walang magpapa-abuso.

Spanish Pinay said...

you did the right thing in replying to them. such an insult.

Spanish Pinay

Anonymous said...

Hi,

You might want to check this out:

http://pinaywebified.multiply.com/?edit_mode=true

Ruth said...

To Anonymous (or should I say, Pinaywebified),

I will reply to your post point by point IF you will reveal your identity. I find it pointless to argue with someone who's supposedly trying to make a point and making accusations but won't even level the playing field by stating her real name. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

what? $1 for doing too much work? is she stupid or what? sino'ng matalinong tao ang tatanggap ng ganung klaseng offer? kahit yata bobo or mahirap, hindi tatanggapin yan as bayad. if sa akin in-offer yan, malamang nakatikim din siya. sobrang pang iinsulto yan ha. at ang taas pa ng standards niya. sira ulo lang.

-- jeman

Nonoy said...

Ms. Webified or whoever you are,

First, you said hindi nabigyan ng “respeto” ang pagkatao mo . In the first place, hindi ka tao. You’re just an entity because you have been introducing yourself with an alias – PinayWebified. Kung legitimate yang job offer mo, you should have had the courtesy, or should I say, enough “respect” for your future clients to introduce yourself as a real person. Ruth has a name at may picture pa. In short, wala s’yang inapakan or dinisrespect na tao because PinayWebified is not a real person. Di ba, sabi pa nga ni Ruth sa post n’ya sa taas, hindi ka n’ya pinipersonal kasi hindi ka n’ya kilala dahil nga hindi ka naman nagpapakilala! She’s just exposing what you are doing because IT IS WRONG!

Second, your job offer is just one of hundreds of others that deliberately exploit the writing community by offering abusively low rates. And when they encounter offers such as yours, writers like her do not get second thoughts about exposing those bad practices so that they will serve as a warning to others, who, sad to say, are still sucking up to these kinds of social injustices. In many cases, such writing jobs were already dubious in nature. Many newbie writers have fallen for them and get paid such measly amounts, they’re not even enough to cover the person’s electricity bill and internet connection. Some were not even paid at all.

So yes, it’s a good thing na isara mo na yang “writing” business mo because, to begin with, kahit saang anggulo tingnan, hindi tama na mag-exploit ng pagod, oras, at talento ng ibang tao.

Lastly, kahit ipagpilitan mo na hindi ka nange-exploit ng writers, clear pa rin kasi na nagpapagamit ka sa mga kliyente mo na nange-exploit ng talents ng mga Pilipino.

Anonymous said...

My God! Sino ba yan! Hindi niya na isip by lowering the rates iisipin nang ibang bansa na ganoon ang "bigayan" sa Pinas! What a selfish human being! Hindi muna nag iisip! Anong palagay niya sa mga writers! Show some self-respect will you kung sino ka man. I came from two SEO and Web Developemnt Company. I write articles for linkbuilding purposes, web content and so forth...pero degrading yan 1 dollar per 500 word count na article! I hope no one would reply to this person, no matter for the fact that we are living in such desperate times. Maganda talaga if we do have a freelance writers organization, so para ma standardize yong rates and to protect all writers from those....I don't know what "adjective" anymore to use to describe such person or persons.

I believe said...

Very very good article Ruth and very brave too. Yes, I don't ever write even for 5 or 10 dollars for 500 words. In translation 500 words is already 35 dollars if you get the right clients. So I'd rather translate and earn and enjoy my writing. That's roughly 1435 pesos at the lowest dollar exchange of P41. So keep this up and hopefully more writers will realize how much they have already compromised the profession.

Glaiza said...

I remember a friend who came up to me and told me that she was doing a writing job. I told her it was great for her to do so because I know how good a writer she is. But when she told me that she was paid P50 per article. I told her not to accept it. It wasn't worth it.

As far as I know, the standard rate in the Philippine is at least a P1000 to 1500 per article, and the article is not that long, 800 to 1000 words.

We, writers, don't do mediocre jobs. We give our all, heart and soul, in every word we put in our article. All that efforts and talents should be properly compensated.

hypermom said...

Ignore, ignore, ignore such offers! There are a lot of other opportunities for gifted writers :)

Maan said...

Ruth, i am aghast that she even had the gall to be indignant! You simply did a service to all other writers out there who might have been tricked into accepting a mind-numbing job that pays peanuts -- er, PEANUT SHELLS!

Be on the alert though, fellow writers, like Voldemort, she will not give up easily. she might close down this site, but simply open up another one like it. mas madali nga naman mag exploit ng pinagpaguran ng iba eh.

Joy said...

Ate Ruth, it's very brave of you to make a stand and I applaud you for that! I hope that other freelance writers like you realize that what they're doing is worth something and not degrade themselves in accepting such measly offers. Somehow it's really sad that there are people who abuse the talented ones. I think it must take one to be courageous enough to say NO to such offers so that they would run out of business and finally give in to paying the right fee.

Denise Calnea said...

Naku, Ruth. Baka naman middle-man lang siya tasked to find writers; tapos malaki yung actual pay pero $1 lang per 500 words ang ibabayad tapos the rest kanya na. Hayz! Mahirap magsulat ha, lalo na pag scientific or medical yung tema ng articles.

Farrah said...

Hanep! Pinay siya? At may background ba siya talaga sa writing to have the gall to offer that rate?