David Kirkpatrick

July 27, 2010

One small step toward better internet content

And a giant leap for content producers (like myself, for instance.) The freelance writing world has been in crisis for a long while now, in part because of high unemployment. Anyone who’s taken freshman composition in college can suddenly declare themselves a freelance writer. The problem is you have to have clips to get work for the most part, and the easiest way to get clips is to work for nothing, or almost nothing, and go from there. Couple that dynamic with the internet’s need for content and unscrupulous business people who are more than happy to exploit people who want to write and you find a situation where companies are literally offering a penny-a-word or less for so-called SEO internet content. For writers, good luck on even finding the one-time bargain basement dollar-per-word rate for marketing communications. My current rates are down and my client list is a lot smaller than even a couple of years ago. Glad to see there’s some push back against this trend from places that might actually make a difference — search engines.

And if you’re looking at getting into freelance writing, I strongly, strongly urge you to avoid Demand Media, Suite 101, and the other content mills out there who are only going to exploit your talents, not pay you an even remotely a fair wage, and in the end leave with with clips that almost any legitimate media outlet will reject as more than worthless.

From the link:

Gabriel Weinberg, creator of upstart search engine Duck Duck Go (DDG), says that some time ago users requested that he remove from results from eHow.com. The site is owned by Demand Media, a $200 million a year “content farm” that produces 4,000 articles a day by playing freelance writers to churn out articles at bargain basement rates, based on what people are searching for and how much ads those search terms are worth.

Knowing little about the site and the discussions swirling around the quality (or lack thereof) of its content, Weinberg wasn’t moved to act on those requests until he discovered evidence that Demand Media, which owns eHow.com, was buying up domains for legitimate businesses and redirecting them to their own content.

“It pushed me over the edge,” says Weinberg.

May 11, 2010

The Facebook Effect

No, I’m not the David Kirkpatrick who authored the upcoming book on Facebook — The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World — but if you enjoy social networking, social media, the Facebook experience in general or just interesting tales from the world of business, hit the link and pre-order a copy.

There is some confusion because I do blog fairly often on social media/web 2.0 and occasionally blog about Facebook specifically, and I’ve been a professional freelance writer for many years. The David Kirkpatrick who wrote “The Facebook Effect” has most recently been a senior editor at Fortune magazine, and to add just a little more murk into the mix there’s yet another David Kirkpatrick who’s a reporter for the New York Times. Most recently that David Kirkpatrick served as the Washington DC correspondent and I understand he is to transfer to the Cairo bureau sometime soon.

So there you go. Do continue to enjoy this blog, pick up a copy of “The Facebook Effect” by one of the other David Kirkpatrick’s out there and keep on reading yet another in the NYT.

January 23, 2009

Scam ads that scream stupid

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:20 pm

I regularly scour the web for professional blog  job posts (corporate ghost blogging is one of my commercial specialties) and I found this howler.

Clearly English is not the first language here, and on top of that it’s also very clearly a scam — read: ” … will get paid through a prepaid card that I will have you sign-up for!”

But the entire idea is just hilarious. This purported “employer” wants someone to build a highly successful blog with advertising on the page and then just hand over 50% of the profit. Heh.

If you’re a blogger I’m sure you don’t need any help with something like this, but please, please don’t get taken.

On a more serious note, if you’re a freelance writer — or a prospective freelance writer — don’t work for free unless you really need the clips and the outlet is very solid. Not just any website that needs content and offers you exposure. Also don’t work for outrageously low rates such as $0.05 per word (or less in may cases).

And almost never provide a free “sample” of what the job poster is seeking. Send clips, send samples of similar work, but don’t provide work-for-hire at no cost to hopefully get a job. That just won’t happen.

It’s not uncommon for an unscrupulous publisher to advertise for an editor, then make the editorial test an edit of a chapter or section of the work in question. Twenty chapters and twenty (or more) applicants later and the entire work is edited. Albeit poorly and with no coherent voice or style, but it will be edited by well-meaning suckers who each took on a chapter for no pay.

Writing is a profession and a hobby. Don’t confuse the two if you’d like to become a freelance writer.

And now that crazy, crazy ad:

I need a good blogger to write some post for me. There is big business in advertising. Here is how it works:
1.A blogger writes a good blog.
2.That blog has been viewed many times and the counter shows that.
3.The blogger post a spot for advertising.
4.Someone pays the blogger for putting there ad on the blog.
 Now that does not sound very hard, but you have to have advertisers and some way to get your blog noticed.
 The Blogger get paid 50% of whatever profits we make.
 I need a very good writer (blogger) to make some good post so advertisers  will notice the blog and add there ads to it!

 Anyone can be a blogger, no matter of age or gender!
If you take this job will get paid through a prepaid card that I will have you sign-up for!