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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-05-2014, 12:42 PM
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Default Do you write Free sample articles when requested?

I notice that a lot of the Craigslist ads seeking writers ask for an unpaid sample article on a specific topic.

They're not satisfied to judge your skill by your online portfolio -- they want you to write a free article for them.

Recently one gig I applied for replied that I was in the running (along with 7 other writers) and they wanted a sample article from me. If I was hired, based on the sample, they would then pay me for the sample. I politely told them "no way."

These requests may be legit -- but they also seem to be a GREAT way to simply get free articles. Who knows -- the "prospective client" could just be another writer on the other side of the world, getting native english speakers to do their work for them!

Generally, I don't write free samples, although I must say, I've gotten repeat work from a client the one time that I did.

My past work represents the quality I can deliver, so my online portfolio is generally the only "free sample" prospective clients will receive from me.

How do you guys handle all the requests for "free samples"? Please tell me that you turn them down!

Last edited by *In*2*Win*; 12-05-2014 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Removed fully capitalized word usage in title line
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:35 PM
Jonelle's Avatar
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I would not write free samples.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:26 PM
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No. If a client wants free samples, they can see some of my earlier work. If they want a sample, they have to pay for it.

It is a pretty common scam, as you suspect.
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:21 PM
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I've started writing samples and posting them on my blog where I have my "portfolio" set up. I try to create something for every niche but occasionally there's a job that I really want and so I'll create a new sample article for on there then send it to the client to show that I can write well within their niche. I wouldn't just hand out free work, especially if they're telling you what they want and how they want it.
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:47 PM
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Nope. They can get a good enough idea from my portfolio. There was one really awesome job that I applied for where I did a sample. He was upfront about the fact that the hiring process was going to be a bit of a competition. He supplied the full blog layout and everything. He would pick his favorite writer from the submissions, pay them for the post, and give them an ongoing job.

I did this one because 1. It paid well. 2. He provided the format, and it was the same for everyone. I doubt he was planning to reuse hundreds of submissions on the same topic. 3. He was upfront with all of his information. I knew his name, profession, location, etc.

I didn't the job, but he was very upfront and polite through the whole process. I did search for my submission through google, just to make sure he didn't use it later. He never did, so I think the whole thing was legit. Plus, I've talked to other people on forums who applied for the same job.

I'm not sure I'd do it again, though, unless I just had a lot of free time on my hands.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:12 PM
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The only time I write samples is:

1. I do not have an article published online under my name in the niche
2. It is going to pay regardless of whether or not I am hired for the position.
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:49 AM
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I have done it on occasion, but I do not make a habit of it. Like a previous poster said, it might be okay if you have extra time on your hands. Putting samples on your own portfolio is a great idea, too; it allows you to say, "don't bother stealing this," without actually saying it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:14 AM
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I don't do it. I refer prospective clients to my portfolio on my blog as well. That should be sufficient for anyone to determine if you are capable of doing the job. I've provided way too many "free samples" when I first started in freelancing, and I've regretted each and every instance. Now that I know better, I do better.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:22 PM
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There is no point in doing it. You can always show your previous work or simply prepare a couple of "demo" articles and show them to the clients who ask for examples.
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:57 PM
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I try not to, but there are exceptions. I have been doing this a decade and have hundreds of clips online, so a client can get a feel for how well I write. But sometimes clients still ask. If it is a high paying job and I can verify they are legit, I may do it. I had one I did that turned into a $200 an article job for three years. They ended up paying for the sample. But the deal was, if it was not good enough, they were not going to pay.

I look at it like this: if you were trying to get an office job, you may spend time driving to the job location, interviewing, and driving home, all unpaid. So if I can do a sample in a reasonable amount of time and it is a decent job, I still do them after 10 years.
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