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Old 03-12-2014, 01:52 PM
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Default content farm / $VERYLARGECOMPANY articles

I've written some articles for content farms (before I knew any better) and now I'm doing some things for a $VERYLARGECOMPANY. They're not giving me a byline, fine, they own the articles, fine, but they're remaining tight-lipped on my requests for the links to the published articles.

They say what I've written is very good, but they're still just paying me $8 an article, which is barely worth my time, considering I put in anywhere between 2 and 4 hours to each article. I expect to get faster, but still.

I'm retaining my copies of these articles for my portfolio, and I've not signed any contracts with these people, so I'd like to ask you good folks - what do you do in this kind of situation? What do you do when you're barely getting anything aside from writing and research practice out of a deal, not even credibility or a byline?

I'd at least like to be able to put some of these articles in my portfolio and not sweat it.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:10 PM
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For me, if it's an online portfolio:

I would not keep copies of those articles on my online portfolio. Duplicate content can still hurt from an SEO standpoint. If you have a site you're trying to get traffic to, don't publish those duplicate articles on your site.

My advice anyways.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:01 PM
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If you've signed over all rights to the articles you can't use them for your portfolio unless they give you permission to.

If you want article for you online porforlio there are a few things you can do:

1. Start you own site and publish some articles (but not all clients will accept work from your own site)
2. Do some guest posts on blogs that are in niches that are your specialty.
3. Write on a couple quality article sites where you can display your bylilne (again, not all clients will accept these).

IMO guest posting is your best bet.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danasurvey View Post
For me, if it's an online portfolio:

I would not keep copies of those articles on my online portfolio. Duplicate content can still hurt from an SEO standpoint. If you have a site you're trying to get traffic to, don't publish those duplicate articles on your site.

My advice anyways.
my portfolio is not online as yet - although I plan on putting online soon enough. Right now it's a collection of Evernote links.

Regardless, what I'm getting out of your reply is that I'm wasting my time doing these articles, aside from the measly 8 bucks I'm getting out of them. Arguably, that's 8 bucks more than I'm getting now, but that time could be better spent looking for higher paying gigs.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmcgaw View Post
If you've signed over all rights to the articles you can't use them for your portfolio unless they give you permission to.

If you want article for you online porforlio there are a few things you can do:

1. Start you own site and publish some articles (but not all clients will accept work from your own site)
2. Do some guest posts on blogs that are in niches that are your specialty.
3. Write on a couple quality article sites where you can display your bylilne (again, not all clients will accept these).

IMO guest posting is your best bet.
I haven't signed anything, gratefully, digitally or otherwise. Indeed, upon reviewing the emails with my contact, they've said there's no contract involved. Also: "Portfolio building is certainly fine and good but $VERYLARGECOMPANY would retain the publishing rights to the articles so they can only be posted once." which I must confess to not fully understanding. The two halves of that sentence seem to be at odds with each other.

I then offered to include "(c) 2014 $VERYLARGECORPORATION" at the end of my portfolio post, if it ever went that far. They never directly addressed that offer, but did say "However, I have to emphasize that these must not be published anywhere else."

SO I guess including the articles in the Evernote based portfolio I mentioned before would not be technically publishing them, whereas putting them on my online portfolio would be.

I should also say that the articles I'm writing are not exactly my specialty, but I think they're at least pretty good. Their editor says he loves my work. And the other writer they had working on this project absolutely tanked, for whatever that's worth.

Tell it to me straight - am I wasting my time here? I thought $8 per 600 word article was dodgy from the start, especially when they started taking up between 1.5 and 4 hours apiece.

Last edited by jponorato; 03-12-2014 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jponorato View Post
I haven't signed anything, gratefully, digitally or otherwise. Indeed, upon reviewing the emails with my contact, they've said there's no contract involved. Also: "Portfolio building is certainly fine and good but $VERYLARGECOMPANY would retain the publishing rights to the articles so they can only be posted once." which I must confess to not fully understanding. The two halves of that sentence seem to be at odds with each other.

I then offered to include "(c) 2014 $VERYLARGECORPORATION" at the end of my portfolio post, if it ever went that far. They never directly addressed that offer, but did say "However, I have to emphasize that these must not be published anywhere else."

SO I guess including the articles in the Evernote based portfolio I mentioned before would not be technically publishing them, whereas putting them on my online portfolio would be.

I should also say that the articles I'm writing are not exactly my specialty, but I think they're at least pretty good. Their editor says he loves my work. And the other writer they had working on this project absolutely tanked, for whatever that's worth.

Tell it to me straight - am I wasting my time here? I thought $8 per 600 word article was dodgy from the start, especially when they started taking up between 1.5 and 4 hours apiece.
It is pretty low but if you could get a testimonial from the client with his professional website to link to it might be worth doing for a little. But unless you really need the money - no, you're likely not helping yourself much.

If you have a day job and/or spouse that can carry some of the financial burden, definitely try not to fall into the trap of low paying gigs. It's hard to get out of. What niche would you LIKE to write in? What would you LIKE people to hire you to do? What sites are you reading in those niches? Contact them via the contact form and ask if you could do a guest post for them. Explain that you are only interested in creating a name for yourself so you don't even need a backlink (I think you said you don't have a site up and running yet?) and they will likely be more than happy to consider your post.

There's a young guy that built his entire freelance writing business on this model...can't remember his name but read this page on his site: Guest Blogging: The Secrets to Successful Guest Blogging It's well worth the time. At 16 he was making more money than many other writers I know of!
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jponorato View Post
I haven't signed anything, gratefully, digitally or otherwise. Indeed, upon reviewing the emails with my contact, they've said there's no contract involved. Also: "Portfolio building is certainly fine and good but $VERYLARGECOMPANY would retain the publishing rights to the articles so they can only be posted once." which I must confess to not fully understanding. The two halves of that sentence seem to be at odds with each other.

I then offered to include "(c) 2014 $VERYLARGECORPORATION" at the end of my portfolio post, if it ever went that far. They never directly addressed that offer, but did say "However, I have to emphasize that these must not be published anywhere else."

SO I guess including the articles in the Evernote based portfolio I mentioned before would not be technically publishing them, whereas putting them on my online portfolio would be.

I should also say that the articles I'm writing are not exactly my specialty, but I think they're at least pretty good. Their editor says he loves my work. And the other writer they had working on this project absolutely tanked, for whatever that's worth.

Tell it to me straight - am I wasting my time here? I thought $8 per 600 word article was dodgy from the start, especially when they started taking up between 1.5 and 4 hours apiece.
$8 per 600 words can work for a relatively quick writer who does not have a great deal of research requirements, but no, it's definitely not worth it if you're spending 4 hours on each article.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:58 AM
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$8 per 600 words can work for a relatively quick writer who does not have a great deal of research requirements, but no, it's definitely not worth it if you're spending 4 hours on each article.
I'm pretty sure a fast writer could knock out two of those articles an hour. Taking longer than an hour to do them is a waste of time. People are better off working part-time hours at Walmart instead of working for $2-$4 an hour.

The OP seriously needs to reconsider what her time is truly worth.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:06 AM
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$8 for four hours (or even one hour) is not worth the effort unless you are desperately in need of money, in which case it might be worth it, temporarily.

Even if you don't have a contract, the company owns the content that you have written for them. You are not allowed to publish them at all... that's basically the industry standard unless you have a contract that says otherwise. Your byline is not on them, so putting them in your profile is really not going to be very helpful to you anyway.

Like others have suggested, I would recommend writing unique content for your portfolio. Do guest posts or put them on your own website. Charge rates that are in line with what other professionals charge if you want to be taken seriously... clients have the "you get what you pay for" mentality just like everyone else. Good luck!

Last edited by beanandpumpkin; 03-13-2014 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mini View Post
I'm pretty sure a fast writer could knock out two of those articles an hour. Taking longer than an hour to do them is a waste of time. People are better off working part-time hours at Walmart instead of working for $2-$4 an hour.

The OP seriously needs to reconsider what her time is truly worth.
I agree, and I hate to be the tough love bunny around here, but agreeing to do 4 hours of work for $8 isn't dong the rest of us any good either. Good writing is a craft, and I know you want to gain experience, but third-world wages aren't that helpful.

That said, I have some clients that want me to write very simple articles for a couple of cents a word, and I'll do it because I can shoot them out quickly. I also do it because these clients really helped me when I was getting started, so I feel a sense of obligation.

But I had a prospective client offer me $8 each for what he claimed were hundreds of articles, but they looked too difficult for the money, so I said no. In that case, I could do better picking and choosing in the mills if I had downtime, and so could YOU.
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