29 Jun

Am I wrong to be annoyed?

Four years ago, I was happy to have a mooch around on People Per Hour (and Elance), for the odd job that might fill out my portfolio. I was building a new portfolio from scratch, so any work was welcome.

I soon got tired of using PPH, and – to be frank – didn’t need sites like that any more.

There were other things that irritated me, but I’d forgotten all about them… until yesterday.

I kept seeing this ad on Facebook:

PPH copy

I found this strange, as I know that the ads you see are based on your browsing history… but I couldn’t remember being on PPH for quite some time.

The advert piqued my curiosity and I decided to see what PPH was like these days.

The answer: infuriating (certainly for those selling their services).

Here is an example of a job posted on there for copywriters to apply for:

PPH1 copy

If you click on the picture (for an enlarged image), you’ll see that this buyer is asking for a copywriter to write 10x 800-word blog posts, which will need researching…. for £51.
That’s 8,000 words, if you discount the time spent on research.
Even if you typed the word ‘and’ 8,000 times, it might still take a whole day to complete the task.
Let’s say you just typed any old rubbish, without researching the subject first, it’d still take a couple of days to write 10x 800-word blog posts.
Now let’s say you bothered to research these posts (so they’re unique, optimised, come across with authority on the subject matter), the whole project might take four days.
Now let’s assume the buyer would like a couple of edits for each blog post. All in, you’re looking at around six days’ work.
The lowest rate for a professional copywriter (one who’s trained, through a course, and/or had real life experience working on brands: agency side or client side) is £180 p/d.
6 (days) x £180 = £1,080.
… and this buyer wants to pay £51 for that work.
He’s taking the absolute p*ss.
He’s either never worked with a copywriter before, or just doesn’t value the service – seeing copywriters as overhyped typists who can use a keyboard and know what a comma is.

Here’s another example (again, click the picture to enlarge):

PPH2 copy

This person wants a copywriter / content writer to write 7x 400-word articles per day (it says 300 – 500 words, so I went with the middle ground) – so 2,800 words per day – for an entire month, for £300.
Let’s say there’s 20 working days in a month: 20 x 2,800 words = 56,000 words… for £300 … not even 1p per word (although most copywriters don’t charge per word anyway. They charge for time spent producing the work).
This doesn’t take into account – again – any research that would have to be done.
That’s not even a p*ss-taking price. It’s just insanity.

Aside from that, you’ll also get people selling their services in the following fashion:
‘I have spoken English since birth, was good at English at school, have an English A-Level, and have written some poetry’
… so have just decided to give myself the title ‘copywriter’.

You’re right, I don’t have to look on this site and keep getting annoyed, but I find the whole thing infuriating.
It demeans my brethren – genuine copywriters, with copywriting qualifications and experience of working on large brands/live projects – and highlights a whole host of buyers who either don’t know how to hire a copywriter, or see it as unskilled work that any fool could do.

Worse than that, paying such low prices attracts those who aren’t really good/skilled copywriters (or just someone who ‘once wrote a good essay at uni’), who’ll take any old work, at any price.
Pay peanuts = get monkeys.
These individuals then go on to do a poor job (or maybe just an adequate job) for the buyer, fuelling the buyer’s view that copywriting isn’t really a skill, and ‘any idiot can do it’.
I’ve actually had clients come to me after someone masquerading as a copywriter has butchered their copy. The client is loathe to spend any more money, having already been screwed over, and they come to me with a fairly low opinion of copywriters overall… all thanks to some idiot who wasn’t qualified to do the job, but just gave themselves a title.

It drives me mad.

But tell me, copywriters and clients: am I wrong to get annoyed at such things?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *