The Truth About “Bidding” Sites

Writers deserve fair pay and respect. Unfortunately, certain freelance job websites promote the opposite: Horrible pay, and almost no respect for the writer, or the writing. For these sites, it is a race to the bottom.

I am writing this to finally answer the question so many of you have asked: Why don’t we review more bidding sites? This should also address the specific sites so many of you have written to me about.

Many writers assume that the reason more bidding sites have not been reviewed is simply because I haven’t gotten to them yet. That is unfortunately not the case. So far no one has asked me about a site that I had not heard about. That doesn’t mean I’ve heard of them all, I’m sure there are some I have missed. So feel free to ask. It’s just that most bidding sites have evolved to work in essentially the same way so they end up being a good deal for clients and a horrible deal for writers.

When the first bidding sites appeared years ago, they were great. Clients needed writers and because everyone involved was essentially from the North American/Western European/ Japanese market, writers were paid top dollar and clients were given outstanding work. As the Internet grew and the infrastructure in other nations developed to give them access to the Internet, the market shifted downward.

Bidding sites now are generally set up to allow the client to get substandard work for the lowest possible amount. I have personally seen bids that promise to “do for you to experted lovely job fastly I wrote greatest english.” The job that this person bid on was as follows: 300 500-word original articles in English. They won the bid and contracted to do the job for $25.

No one in the United States can work for that and I have serious doubts about other countries. When bidding sites allow these types of transactions to take place they harm all writers. Now the above quoted writer may be an outstanding writer in their native language. I’m certainly not denigrating them and I hope no one takes it that way. The person is simply not fluent in English. As a result of those transactions, the good clients left and other sites were formed.

The bidding sites I have reviewed avoid these problems by requiring language proficiency tests. This is great because it automatically disqualifies those who can’t write professionally in the target language.

Guru.com is a great example of using proficiency tests to ensure that only those who are fluent in a specific language can actually bid on the jobs offered. This keeps good clients coming back and helps writers by only forcing us to compete with other qualified candidates.

The second thing that the bidding sites I have reviewed all have in common is that they screen the clients to eliminate ones that want writers to essentially work for free. Some abusive job postings get through and sometimes the bids are low for various reasons. Overall, however, they do their best to make sure writers are paid at least reasonably. It’s because of this that the good clients migrated to these sites.

FlexJobs is prime example of good clients going to a better and tested pool of writers. At FlexJobs you can take skills assessments in a variety or areas and those scores appear to clients looking for writers in those areas. This translates into top dollar being offered to writers and low paying clients avoiding the site.

If you have visited some of the bidding sites I have reviewed you may have noticed that some clients are requesting writers from specific geographic locations. That is often a client that is looking for a native speaker of English ( or another language) and figured that they are more likely to find one in a nation where speaking that language is the norm. It’s simple enough to add into your proposal that you are a native speaker from whatever nation you hail from even if you are living abroad. That along with your proficiency test should suffice.

Sometimes clients want a specific location because they think they can get away with paying less. This is often obvious when they want English articles but prefer someone from a nation where English would be a second or third language at best. They are often flagged and removed from their respective systems quickly. The good sites are on to that trick and they rarely get away with it.

So why do some bidding sites allow substandard work for horrible pay? It’s all about the money. Most of them either require a fee for posting the job, a percentage of the final project fee, paid subscription for the writer or some combination thereof. They don’t care because their job is to run the website and collect money. They aren’t actually writing articles for anyone. They are certainly not writing 300 articles for $25.

You are free to work on any site you wish but wasting your time working for a few cents when you can be marketing your freelance career or working other job sites that pay a decent wage makes no sense to us. We don’t review or endorse those sites because they are anti-writer. We are unapologetically pro-writer here and if the site allows writers to be treated poorly then we aren’t going to review them. To be reviewed here the company has to be a generally positive place for writers to work.

So where should you write? Any place that pays you well and treats you with respect. We have reviewed a number of great places to work and if you are new you might want to take a look at some of them. Start with my top 5 list and go from there. There are many great sites to work with and if you get involved with several of them then you can tap into different topics, use your writing skills in various ways and have fun while earning a living as a freelance writer.