The plague of the web

By Katharine Swan On Friday, March 03, 2006 At 5:42 PM


Thanks to Deborah Ng's job board, which I check daily, I was directed to this article about cheap content writing jobs.

I'm assuming the writer took this job with a story angle in mind, since I can't imagine any self-respecting professional who would accept $100 as a fair price for 50 articles. I know I avoid anything under $10, and even those I accept only if they are articles that can feasibly be written in 30 minutes or less.

Regardless of this writer's intentions, the article has a good point; I just prefer to look at it from a slightly different angle. The crappy-internet-content issue has to do with cause and effect: two dollars an article is just too little for a decent writer - one who will research and fact-check their material - to consider, so these types of jobs are left to writers who are not decent, who throw together a bunch of crap as quickly as possible. The employer certainly doesn't care that it's a load of crap, just as long as it pulls in keyword searches and sells ad space, so they have no incentive to pay the rates that would attract more conscientious writers.

So what do we do about this sort of thing? Well, nothing, other than avoiding these ridiculously low paying jobs ourselves. The internet is the epitome of what the United States of America was founded on: freedom of speech. And while I know that America is not the only country online - far from it - I don't believe that any country that claims to value the freedom of speech has any right interfering with what people publish on the web. True, some of it may be incorrect, poorly written, or offensive to some people, but that doesn't give us the right to censor it from everyone. We can sensor what we ourselves read, simply by choosing carefully which links we click on when using the search engines, but self-sensorship will have to suffice.

Having said that, I must admit that I am disgusted by anyone who would offer a couple of bucks per article, and I have been known to send irritated emails in response to such offensive job offers...

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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