There are many fraudulent schemes in the work-from-home, freelance writing niche. One of the most popular is what I call the "writing sample" scam. While it usually does not cost you any money, what it does cost you is time – which is your greatest asset as a freelance writer.
You could wind up spending a whole bunch of time working for free. Following is what this scam is and how to avoid it.
How the Freelance "Writing Sample" Scam Works
The way this online writing jobs scheme works is, a company will place an ad seeking articles or some other type of content (eg, blog posts) on a certain topic. When you apply, they will ask you for a writing sample.
"Great," you may be thinking, "I just wrote an article on this last week, I'll send it in as my sample."
But, they'll get back to you saying that the article must be original and they want to "judge your writing ability and for you to adhere to their guidelines" or some other such jargon. They'll usually promise that there will be ongoing work "if your writing sample is accepted."
So you think, "Hmm, a chance for ongoing work. It's only 300-400 words; I can knock it out in an hour or so."
So you do and send it in. You'll either never hear from them again, and / or if you do, they'll tell you that your writing sample "did not pass their guidelines so they won't be able to use you.
"Fine," you think. It sucks that you spent the time writing the article, but you have a few other sources you can pitch it to and probably sell it.
One day while doing some mindless web surfing, you come across your article – on their site – verbatim. Only, it does not have your name on it. They've stuck their name on it and are using it – and they haven't paid you a dime!
If this happens to you, you've been scammed.
The reason behind these types of online writing jobs scams is simple – the company / person is getting original content without paying for it. You see, they probably have fed the same story to hundreds of freelance writers who fell for it. So, they're getting hundreds of pieces of original content – for free.
Why This Online Writing Jobs Scam Is So Prevalent
The reason they do it is because content costs and they're either too lazy or too stupid to produce it themselves. Many behind these types of scams are internet and affiliate marketers with hundreds of websites.
To pay someone to write original, informative content for their sites would run them thousands of dollars. So, they prey on unsuspecting web writers who are new to the industry to produce the content.
How to Avoid These Types of Online Writing Jobs Scams
It's surprisingly simple. Don't write original content for free. Legitimate businesses will pay you to write a sample if they're considering using you. Most often though, they won't even require it. The samples you already have will work just fine. So, remember this.