Pet peeves

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, August 12, 2010 At 8:15 PM

Yesterday, when I was browsing Craigslist, an ad I've seen before caught my eye. It was for a website with a list of locations and reviews of Denver area dog parks, so I decided to check it out.

The site was awful. It looked like a free site, for one thing, and the layout sucked. But the content was also really bad. One of my pet peeves is overuse of keywords, and this site had it in spades.

Feeling nice, I clicked on the email link in the Craigslist ad and sent a nice email, saying that someone had clearly given them bad advice on how to handle keywords, and offering to give them a few tips on how to make the content better. Know what I earned for my generosity? An email asking me to donate my services to rewrite the pages, since of course, it's a "nonprofit website."

Enter another one of my pet peeves: People who try to get free work out of writers by claiming they are a nonprofit. The really annoying thing was that the website had ads plastered across the top of every page, so it's not unprofitable for lack of trying! Failing to earn any ad revenue doesn't make you a nonprofit, honey.

I responded and let them know in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to be taken advantage of, but that the offer for some advice was still open if they wanted to take me up on it. Did they? No, of course not.

Which brings us to my biggest pet peeve of all: People who put crappy content on the Internet, know it's crappy, and don't care.

What are your biggest pet peeves?


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Anonymous Wendy Says:  

I agree with the non-profit one. Since when does non-profit mean that they don't have to pay someone to provide them with a needed service?

My biggest beef with the job board ads is when they use the phrases Work From Home or great for Stay at Home Moms as a job benefit. It's like saying, "We won't pay you much, but it's okay, because you get to Work from Home!"

Blogger Unknown Says:  

Isn't that DS's model? LOL

Seriously, I agree with you. Don't try to earn money then call yourself a nonprofit. Doesn't work that way!

Had a conversation with a client recently in which my price made them say, out loud "Yea, we'll need you to back off that a little."

Really? I didn't realize you were dictating my terms. Wow. Here I was conducting business ALL ALONE for years. Silly me!

Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Wendy, that drives me crazy too. Almost as annoying as the ads that say they don't offer any payment, but "This is a great opportunity for someone who loves to write!" As if those of us who want to, you know, EAT every day somehow don't love to write?

Lori, I hate that passive aggressive type of response, too. It's how they say it that makes it so bad. Saying, "I'm sorry, we can't afford those rates," is one thing. The way your client said it, however, is so... belittling, without being confrontational. I hate that.


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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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