Someone called Kaley Tuitele recently left a comment on another thread on my blog in which she sang the praises of this website, which apparently pays her to leave her poorly-punctuated spammy comments full of spelling errors on blogs like mine. She claims to write “content articles” too: I do hope none of them are about tautology. I’ll see if I can move Kaley’s comment to this thread so that you can all enjoy it.
The website she links to looks impressive. There’s a skinny woman wearing a severe suit and high heels (which is, I’ll have you know, exactly how I dress when I write my blog posts), a desperate plea for writers to sign up (I can tell it’s desperate, it’s got a big red URGENT stamped on top of it), and an official-looking seal in the corner which I thought would prove the site’s membership of some hallowed professional body. That seal actually reads “work from home–start now!” and I find it so extraordinarily pointless I have decided to use it here. I hope you like it.
But wait: there’s more! Not only is this website inviting me to work from home and start now (even though I already do and I started ages ago); it’s also offering me a whole boatload of money! Hurrah! Apparently, the website is going to help me do all of this:
- Get Paid To Write Articles & Stories Thousands of topics to write about! (Up to $100/article & $500/story)
- Help Improve Books & Movie Scripts Give your suggestions and input and get paid $$$! (Up to $25 – $45 per hour)
- Get Cash For Writing Blog Posts Create simple blog posts or comment on blogs! (Up to $25-50 per blog post)
And to think that in all these years I’ve not been paid a penny for all the blog posts I’ve written, or for any of the many comments I’ve left on other people’s blogs. I have been missing out! Where do I sign up?
The problem is that all links from the website Kaley linked to lead to RealWritingJobs.com, which Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware blogged about last November. In her article, Victoria discussed how RealWritingJobs.com makes money out of writers by charging them
a mere monthly membership fee of $47 (although if you don’t read the Terms and Conditions, you won’t know that). Don’t want to opt in without seeing what’s on offer? Good news–you can try before you buy. In fact, you have to try before you buy. Would-be members must agree to a 10-day “risk-free trial,” for the oh-so-negligible cost of $2.95 (credit cards only).
RealWritingJobs.com has changed its fee structure since Victoria wrote that blog post. Instead of a recurring monthly membership fee it now makes a one-time fee of nearly twice that amount, with another $4.95 on top as a “risk free trial”:
Membership includes a 7 DAY $4.95 risk free trial. During this time, you have the opportunity to cancel your membership with REALWRITINGJOBS.COM to avoid the one time fee of $77. You will be billed the $77 on the (8th) day after you sign up. If you would like to cancel your service, you can do so by accessing your receipt you received when you ordered. Click the ‘customer service’ link in the email and choose “Cancel” as your request.
That all sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? There’s now only one fee to pay (well, two with the seven-day trial fee) and you can cancel before that is due; what do we have to lose? A lot, if Victoria Strauss is right and this is being run as a recurring billing scheme:
In this common online ploy, a company uses a trial period to induce consumers to provide their credit card numbers. Once the trial period ends, cards are automatically billed for membership and other fees on a recurring basis (like RealWritingJobs, companies typically bury this info in their Terms and Conditions, where eager or careless consumers can easily miss it). Although consumers are promised they can cancel during the trial period, they discover that they can’t get through to the toll-free number provided–or, if they do get through, they can’t speak to a live person, but can only leave voicemail messages that are never responded to. (Here’s a sample complaint.) Once the recurring billings commence (which, if the consumer didn’t read the Terms and Conditions, may be a complete surprise), it is extremely difficult to stop them.
There’s no guarantee that this is a recurring billing scheme, though; and the advertised rates are quite ridiculously attractive. Might it be worth a punt despite these doubts of mine? Not once you’ve read RealWritingJobs.com ‘s disclaimer page, which states:
ANY CLAIMS MADE OF ACTUAL EARNINGS OR EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL RESULTS ARE NOT TYPICAL.
Ah. So they’re advertising rates which they know are not typical, and you have to provide your credit card details and agree to paying them their fees before you are able to see the jobs they’re offering, and the rates they pay.
And they’re spamming my blog.
I think I’ll pass.
And if you’re still tempted, don’t be. There are plenty of websites which are completely free to use, where you can find writing jobs on offer. Here’s one Victoria linked to, and you’ll find many more with a little light Googling.