Wild Musing

Writing – Diary of a Budding Freelance

Guru Update – Is It Writing Prostitution?

Forgive the emotive title, I have just finished my first Guru assigned writing gig. And I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it is, if everything goes to plan, going to bring in a much needed fast cash injection. On the other the work was very repetitive and not very exciting. The pay per activity was not very exciting either actually, or the topics for that matter. It basically entailed writing four articles on the topic of real estate and then spinning each one twice.

For those of you who have never heard of spinning, as I had not until today, it has nothing to do with Tony Blair’s labour party. It basically means going back and changing enough about your article so that it appears original to whichever site the client submits it to. The idea being to attract potential clients to their sites so they can sell their product. Apparently a 30 percent difference should be enough. You can get spinning software but clients are unhappy with that because it basically goes through the article and replaces random words with one of its equivalents from the thesaurus. I had a friend who used to do this to his high school English essays so I can well imagine the results, hilarious. Anyway, humans are much better at this process than computers (except my friend of course). Score one for us.

The work is not difficult I will say that for it. A tiny bit of knowledge on the subject is enough to generate a couple of articles and you can always research a bit on the web to find out more. But it is boring and not very well paid. If you can do an article and two re writes in an hour it works out at just above minimum wage (for this particular employer).

I did question the ethics of the process for awhile, until I decided that really it was just a modern version of advertising and the debate about the ethics of advertising has been going on around me ,unheeded, for decades. I don’t plan to start taking notice now. As for the ‘rewriting’ issue, I have made a decision, I will never re write another writer’s work, that is just wrong. But so long as the work I am re writing is my own I figure I am the only one getting ripped off and I can live with that.

On the bright side while this type of work is common on Guru it is not the only type that is available, there are other better paid and much more exciting projects on there. When you can afford to be choosy it is a very good resource. Just for the record (and for the benefit of Guru employers I point this way) I can’t always afford it. So I will continue to accept project like this and complete them to a high professional standard. Maybe that will reap rewards. Here’s hoping.


December 30, 2008 - Posted by | Elance, Getting published, Guru, Writing | , , , , ,


  1. The key to success on the freelance sites is to find work that you enjoy. I tend to stick to eBooks, and almost always to topics that I like.

    Comment by eBookGuru | December 30, 2008 | Reply

    • Yes, I think in the long run that is exactly the answer. At the moment I cannot afford to be choosy but hopefully in the future I will be able to.

      Comment by michellejbuss | December 30, 2008 | Reply

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