Saturday, January 18, 2014

Push Comes to Shove

It's finally happened: I've thought about pushing back at some of the lowball job board offers I've been grousing about the past year-and-a-half, and I finally did it.

Why now, and why this job? There have been plenty to choose from. Others have had the same laborious explanation of work-for-hire rules; almost all have the "Copyscape will be watching you" warning. I guess maybe it's because this one, in addition to having one of the longest lists of requirements I've seen, shows a price range of $20-$150. That's a helluva spread. What are the odds of it paying the $150?

So I used up a bid to post a reply. Notice I don't say  "wasted" the bid. Pursuing the job would have been a waste; this at least was good for some amusement.

The reply to mine was pretty venomous. All I did was ask a civil question and offer some advice. I don't expect unsolicited advice to be received well, but I must have struck a nerve. I suggested that paying better would attract writers who wouldn't need to be warned about plagiarism and lectured on the meaning of work for hire. My recommendation was called "whining drivel."

But the question was the more intriguing part.

The wording of the job description was virtually identical to a lot of other lowball job offers. There was one improvement: where earlier descriptions say the job is VERY EASY for a great writer like you so bid low, this one called it "trivial" for a great writer like you, so bid low. Much of the rest was boilerplate identical to that found on many other job offers. I asked if someone was selling a template to buyers.

I didn't get an answer to that part. That leaves me to consider the other possibilities. Discounting mental telepathy, either all these buyers are connected, or some of them are guilty of plagiarism themselves.

The thought of a whole network of bottom-feeding "employers" is frightening, and not entirely unbelievable. The idea of massive plagiarism on their part is amusing.

I must also say this for the reply I received; I do believe that the offeror has had no trouble hiring professional writers with her job specs and pay rate. (Anyone who is paid anything for work is, by  definition, a professional. Look what happened to Jim Thorpe.) And that's the pitiable part; I think there were something like 19 bids on that job -- people who didn't know if they were bidding for $20 or $150. But that's the mainstream of the business today. I'm not in it.