Writerlance complaint: Owes writers money, gone AWOL

By Katharine Swan On Friday, April 04, 2008 At 11:49 AM

In a comment on an older post, I received a comment from someone who had some disturbing news about Writerlance, a freelance bidding site: Evidently Writerlance owes writers money and isn't paying up. Even worse, the site is down and the owners have gone AWOL.

I've won bids through Writerlance a couple of times, so I know how it works. Clients have the option of paying their writers through the Writerlance system; once paid, the balance updates on the writer's account page. Writers have the option of withdrawing the money from their Writerlance account via PayPal or check.

I haven't bid on Writerlance much in the last year and a half or so, because the site has become home to ridiculously low-budget projects — and even more ridiculously, writers who will compete to see how low they can get their bids in order to write for these jerkoffs. I rarely even check the site anymore, so imagine my surprise when a reader told me Writerlance has gone AWOL, still owing writers money!

I did a little research, and so far all I can find is this Writerlance complaint. Evidently the writer was paid about $675 to her/his Writerlance account, and when s/he tried to get Writerlance to issue a check, all s/he got was the runaround. Finally, the writer threatened to contact the BBB, and her/his account was subsequently deleted from the system.

The same person appears to have posted his or her complain all over the Internet, so I'm not sure if there are really others who have had the same problem. I did find this complaint, but it may be just a less detailed version of the original complaint.

Note: If you know of other (different) Writerlance complaints, please leave links in the comments to this post.

Of course, the fact that the site is suddenly down is highly suspicious. The Writerlance WHOIS information indicates that they still own the site until January of 2009, so that isn't the problem. Unfortunately, Writerlance uses private registration, so there's no way to get direct contact information for them via WHOIS.

I sent an email to all of the Writerlance addresses I have to ask when the site was expected to be back up, but I haven't heard anything back yet. I'll post again if I hear anything further from or about Writerlance.

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Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

Writers who go unpaid should also contact the state's department of labor.
www.coworkforce.com
Colorado may not be strong when it comes to workers rights, but the state is actually very good about going after companies that don't pay their workers. Last year they went after a company that didn't pay illegal immigrants their wages in an effort to collect and send the checks to Mexico. If they stick up for non-citizens, then they'll probably be responsive to Colo. citizens, although they may run into a problem with companies that are based in other states. At the least, it's worth an email or phone call to the state who will give the non-paying co a headache.

 
 
Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

The freelance-bidding sites are rife with clients that have no intentions of paying, but the sites themselves not paying? Well, that's a new one even for me.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Anonymous,

I don't know how many of the victims live in Colorado. I live in Colorado, but I'm not a victim -- I'm reporting on something I've heard as a service to other writers.

Kathy,

No kidding, huh? Blows my mind.

By the way, my emails to Writerlance bounced and the site is back up.

 
 
Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

I just recently (July 2008) started a project on WriterLance and accepted a bidder. When I deposited money from PayPal (which I have the trans ID etc for), it did not update my WriterLance balance!

After many emails and attempts to contact them via the contact page script - nothing so far. It has been about 2 weeks now.

Something dodgy is going on.

 

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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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