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Old 03-22-2008, 09:24 PM
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Hi Everyone,

I'm not going to name any names but recently there was a blogging opportunity listed and it suggested that after unpaid training, offers would be made for editor or contributor positions. Normally I wouldn't do unpaid training but this looked like a great opportunity and I know companies like About.com have a similar policy.

I attended one week of training and was told I was the first to be offered an editor position but in my opinion, the terms changed. I was told I was being offered a partnership.

I saw a few red flags early on but hushed my gut instinct and approached warily. My first red flag was that everyone in the group of 20 seemed to be being offered editor positions. I saw a wide array of skills in the list of people and not everyone appeared to have the same level of experience so it surprised me that they were all told they'd be editors.

The company listed several scenarios in their job posting and in e-mails to me and I now believe that most of them were hard sales pitches to convince me to invest my time in an effort that might or might not pay off.

The original post said contributors would be paid $5-25 per post and now it seems that paid contributors are not the norm but rather a last resort and the company doesn't expect to need their services. Editors are expected to populate the blogs for commission only and can pay contributors if they want help populating the blogs.

Where rates were originally mentioned and paid training talked about, now the talk is of sweat equity, team work and seeing the big picture. Huge numbers are being thrown out there for earning potential and those numbers sound an awful lot like a MLM sales pitch. I'm all for team and sweat and that kind of thing if I can see that it appears really beneficial to me but in this scenario what I do see is that I had a carrot dangled and then was offered a partnership to run some blogs and share in commission that may or may not ever happen. I already have blogs where I make 100% commission.

I wish everyone who continues on with the training success and I hope the company thrives. Some day I might see a bunch of you making killer cash while I realize that I walked away but I do feel that the terms changed part way through the process and that makes me uneasy.

Perhaps it wasn't blatant deceit but just mostly to protect proprietary information and get people really enthusiastic but in my opinion, it wasn't entirely honest.



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Old 03-22-2008, 10:19 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. I remember the post and didn't get in before they were done hiring. It said they would post again for a new "batch" of writers. Your information is very enlightening as our time is valuable.
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:00 AM
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Thank you so much for the heads up! I am new to the forum, but I have lurking for a few weeks. I think I know exactly what which posting you refer to. I am also new to freelance writing, and I am amazed at how easy it is to waste your time thinking something is legit just to find these companies are asking you spend a lot of your valuable time doing something for nothing. You really have to watch it. It is great that you shared your experience. Thanks again!
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:59 AM
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Hi Dana,

I remember the original post and when I kept seeing how so many posters were being given the editor position, it seemed kind of strange to me too. The opportunity sounded prettygreat, but if the terms of the position have suddenly changed, then I'm thinking like you are--seems like a red flag...
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:34 AM
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I read that post also and realized that I did not know anything about the company, so unpaid training was out of the question. About.com does the same thing, but that is a company that everyone knows about.

I would have been very upset if I would have got in on the deal and found out things were dofferent than stated.

Thank you Dana for posting this information. My instincts were right I guess.

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Old 03-24-2008, 03:13 PM
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I was offered an editor position and accepted. I don't think this is a scam or that my hard work will be for nothing; nor do I think the terms changed ... they have been consistent and honest, as far as I can tell.

As for the unpaid training, I am learning techniques and style that will help me in the future regardless. I am growing as a writer, which is worth quite a bit.

Sometimes you just have to try things to know how it will work out. That's what I'm doing, and I hope it pays off.[img]smileys/smiley1.gif[/img]
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:59 PM
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I am going though the training as well, but I did have the red flags fly as well. I'm not sure what will happen with it, but would hate to know that I had a chance to do something and didn't take it and then it be what I wanted.
I've been scammed before and if it happens agian I guess I'll just live with it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:23 PM
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Just for the record, About.com does not do unpaid training. They have a 2-week prep period, which is more like a tryout (for lack of a better word) and then may offer the job to you. Once you are hired, you are paid; there's no continued work for no pay. I don't think that sounds like 4 weeks of unpaid training to me, especially since your About work is not going live during the training period, and you retain all rights to it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:29 PM
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I am in training and don't feel it is a scam. I'm investing nothing but a few hours of my time a week, which is no big deal, so if it doesn't work out I have nothing to lose. Frankly I find it very unprofessional for writers to badmouth employers/clients, past or present. To those taking her word as gospel, try to remember there are two sides to every story.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:34 PM
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About.com's prep is not for the faint of heart . You are expected to drop everything and spend 2 weeks doing nothing but their required prep work, (while competing against 5 other people). Seriously, they tell you to "clear your schedule" for those two weeks. They expect a HUGE amount of work. If you have the time and can produce lots of quality content, it's worth it-they pay quite well!
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