A humerous look at my outsourcing adventures
They say that it is better to laugh than to cry. Taken to heart, this saying can be a sanity saver when you begin hiring freelance writers to help you meet your online content goals. When I started writing online back in 2010, I was more than satisfied to do it all myself.
Credit: laptop-crying-eye-contact-by-qubodup, https://openclipart.org/sharehttps://openclipart.org/share, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/It wasn't until I became serious about setting up profitable niche sites that I realized I needed help writing articles and product reviews. I have ordered content from many different sources; Fiverr, Textbroker, iWriter, Hirewriters, Freelancers, Zerys, Odesk and a few others.
As a client paying for content, I have noticed a frustrating phenomenon with the stuff I get back from these outsourcing sites. Some appear to be written by monkeys and parrots. Assignments are being scooped up by folks that have no business asking for money in exchange for what they give you.
Most of them fit into the 10 following writing styles listed on this page.
Before you ask me if I am choosing beginners and those for whom English is a second language, I can say no. I always place content orders with writers who have skilled, advanced, or expert ratings, lots of positive feedback and are versed in American English. That's the tragedy of it all.
Here they are folks; the skilled content writers out there waiting for your orders:
1. Polly The Parrot
I want a cracker, crackers are yummy, give me a cracker
Credit: By Duncan Rawlinson from Vancouver, BC (flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsPolly the parrot likes to write articles for money. Her brain operates much like a hamster on a wheel. It goes around in tight little circles of thought never venturing far beyond her original idea for your article.
If she actually had to think, she might fall off her perch.
Polly's Assignment: Create an article about velvet party dresses for juniors using fun, upbeat and trendy fashion terminology.
What Polly Writes: Party dresses for juniors in velvet are so pretty. Juniors look so good in velvet party dresses. If you want to look good at your next party, you can't go wrong in a velvet party dress. Velvet is perfect for parties.
My Response: Hey, Polly, thanks for the word-stuffed spam that will make Google LOVE this article. Go have another cracker and have Mom change your newspaper.
2. Albert Brain-Stein
Thinks that talking like an encyclopedia is engaging
Credit: "Albert Einstein Head Cleaned N Cropped" by Photograph by Oren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J.Original image cleaned/leveled and cropped by User:Jaakobou. - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division After dealing with the likes of Polly the parrot, you want to find a smart, articulate writer with brains. Seeing that one candidate had a Mensa membership, I figured I would get top-notch content. The problem? Readers need to relate to a flesh and blood human being, not a walking computer with a heartbeat. Unfortunately, Albert Brain-stein chooses assignments that are way out of his scope of understanding; emotions and tender feelings.
Albert Brain-stein's Assignment: Create an article about fake diamond engagement rings and how true love can be symbolized by many types of jewelry items, not just real diamonds. Express warmth and romance in your words.
What Albert Writes: The refractory elements of heat-treated chemical compounds like Zirconia provide exemplary examples of materials used for synthetic replacements of natural diamonds. Electing an approved nuptial ring based on just appraisal assessment is a detriment to the nexus of amorousness.
My Response: What? Are you kidding me? If this is your idea of warmth and romance, you are going to be single ( or cheated on) for a very long time. Please visit The Wizard of Oz for a new heart.
3. Sneaky Pete
Hires his own substandard crew to increase his profits
Credit: "Avarice" by Jesus Solana from Madrid, Spain - [http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasotraspaso/6953271968/ 29-52.Uploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avarice.jpg#mSneaky Pete is alive and well on many freelance sites. He lures in clients with his stellar profile which is beautifully written using perfect English grammar and sentence structure. Finally, a writer that knows how to write. You hire him expecting the same quality of English that you see on his profile and sample text.
Unfortunately, what you see is not what you get. Sneaky Pete has figured out that he can make more money by outsourcing the order you placed with him to some poor desperado from a third-world country.
How do they get away with this? Some content-for-hire websites let their highest rated writers take a lot of orders at the same time. If you give them 3-5 days to complete the assignment, it allows them time to hand it over to one of their middleman cronies.
Sneaky Pete's Assignment: Write a product review about the following Amazon sectional sofa using unique descriptions and your own personal viewpoint. Please do not repeat what is on Amazon. The link is provided below.
What Sneaky Pete Sends You: You Amazon sectional sofa can sits the familes for camfort to watches tv. Football can watch easy setting in Amazon sectional sofa. Foot ups in sofa are good for beers.
My Response: I've been duped and ripped off. Baited and switched. An immediate cancellation, thumbs down and the worst feedback for you, Sneaky Pete!
** Sneaky Pete then sends you a private message begging to have a chance at revision if you will remove the negative rating. NO!
4. Samantha Stale Cracker
Party pooper extraordinaire
Credit: "Souvenir Seller - Moscow - Russia cropped" by Adam Jones Adam63, cropped/retouched by User:Dcoetzee - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Souvenir_Seller_-_MNobody has the talent to turn a thrilling, exciting topic into a boring yawn-fest quite like Samantha Stale Cracker. Her words reflect the inner workings of her personality which appears to have dried up long ago.
However, for some reason, this writer chooses assignments that require action verbs, thrilling plays on words and topics that are meant to entertain and inspire the reader.
Engaging content is what Google likes, but Samantha's writing style leaves a reader blowing dusty, dry cobwebs out of their mouth after a few sentences.
Samantha Stale Cracker's Assignment: Create an exciting, action-packed article about Flamenco dancing for adults. Make the reader feel the hot, passionate vibes of the Latino culture in your words. Make the reader want to get up and dance.
What Samantha Writes: Flamenco dancing is a nice hobby. If you want to take adult classes, look in your local phone book or online. It's good exercise. You can lose weight. The costumes are interesting.
My Response: If this is hot and passionate wording, I would hate to see what you write when you are relaxed. Snoring Flamenco dancers are not what I had in mind.
5. Stonewall-Of-Text Jackson
Thinks line breaks are part of a country music dance
Credit: "Stonewall Jackson - National Portrait Gallery" by AgnosticPreachersKid - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stonewall_Jackson_-_National_Portrait_Gallery.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Stonewall_JaThis one creates a block of text so tightly packed it makes the great wall of China look like Swiss cheese. What is most maddening about Stonewall-Of-Text Jackson is that he will take your assignment with detailed instructions on formatting and totally ignore your needs.
You can tell this hard-headed writer how many sentences you prefer in each paragraph, how many headers to use and give him an example, but he ignores it.
The faster he churns out content, the more money he can make for himself in one day. Stopping to make paragraphs slows down this hard-charging word soldier.
I am not going to add an example here of what this type of writer sends back to a client because I am sure you have seen this all over the Internet.
My Response: You may be a decent writer, but your need to spew out articles like you're trying to win the battle of how-many-can-I-pump-out isn't going to get you the content medal of honor. Relax. Breathe. Format. Dismissed.
6. Timid Theresa
Unauthoritive and unconvincing stuff that will never get sales
Credit: http://mandolin77.deviantart.com/art/Beltane-Bunny-205576076, no modifications, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/Tentative and timid Theresa is running scared. Sometimes, she is even afraid to plug in her computer. However, because she likes making money online writing articles, she has to log in and check out available assignments.
Theresa the timid writer has no skill when it comes to writing compelling content to attract affiliate sales. Nobody told her that doing product reviews for clients doesn't suit her Milquetoast wording. Her style of content has no air of authority and lacks confidence. She will not be able to entice a potential buyer to click through for more details and will certainly never sell ice to an Eskimo.
Using her content on your affiliate website can only guarantee one thing; poverty.
Timid Theresa's Assignment: Write a compelling, professional product review about Pink Laptop #49. Discuss 3 benefits of the product that will entice the reader to click through to the order page.
What Timid Theresa Writes: Benefits Of Pink Laptop #49
- You might like this laptop a lot if you like pink things?
- Laptops are somewhat portable around the house I think?
- Maybe you would like the price better when it goes on sale?
My Response: I am not a heartless meanie. You are probably a newbie writer that lacks confidence. I was there myself once. However, clients can't afford to purchase charity content from inexperienced writers when they have business goals.
" You wouldn't want to buy this content from me then, would you?". Um, no?.
7. Larry The Lecture Guy
Guaranteed to make your readers feel insulted
Credit: Flickr.com, Larry the Cable Guy by Katrina J. Wlese, no modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/As a regular visitor of online articles and blogs , one type of content really turns my stomach; those that use a condescending tone towards the reader. I find this type of writing one of the most insulting ways to approach a visitor on your page or website.
Respecting the intelligence of a reader and using a tone that reflects those beliefs is very important to me.
If you need how-to articles, Larry the Lecture Guy jumps right on the assignments. He loves telling people what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it and how dumb they are for needing instructions to do it in the first place. He will make sure the reader comes away feeling like a dunce that needs to stand in the corner with thumb in mouth until time-out is over.
Larry the Lecture Guy enjoys making others feel like naughty toddlers. He is an egocentric bully, narcissist and plain old jerk. His attitude seeps out into his content. It permeates your topic with disdain towards the person reading it.
Larry the Lecture Guy's Assignment: Create an article about how to choose the right tires for a truck. Use a friendly, yet professional tone. Be helpful to the reader.
What Larry Writes: If you need truck tires you're probably a little too late, aren't you? I'm saying that because people who need tires shouldn't be reading online, they should be calling a tow truck. You're not going to get that thing back on the road unless you get your lazy arse moving, right?.
My Response: How DARE you talk to my reader like that and expect me to pay you. If this is the wording you use for a paying client, I would hate to see how you speak to your poor wife, kids and hunting dog.
8. Mafia Mike
You dirty rat, you better listen, or else
Credit: Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Gotti_Have you ever read an article online that had sinister vibes and threatening undertones? I don't mean websites that have that kind of stuff posted purposefully, but a basic , generic one. If you have, the chances are good it was written by someone just like Mafia Mike.
In between extorting his neighbors and throwing his enemies into the river wearing concrete shoes, Mafia Mike likes to write articles for freelance sites. He may be writing your content out on parole, probation, or under house arrest.
He needs something legal to claim on his taxes and somebody to intimidate . You can instantly recognize him by the carefully bolded innuendos of impending danger and domination in his words.
Mafia Mike's Assignment: Create an article about the history of cupcakes.
What Mafia Mike Writes: Listen up. You want info about cupcakes? I'll give you info about cupcakes right now. First of all, respect Mama in the kitchen, capeesh? You mess with Mama, you mess with me. You wanna know where cupcakes come from? Sicily.
My Response: Save my knee caps by leaving a 5-star rating. Close my account, move away and join the witness protection program.
9. Ivan The Inspector
Two thoughts forward, three thoughts back
Credit: Flickr.com, Eye See You Two by Chrlsbb@prodigy.net, no modifications,https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/For some maddening reason, Ivan the inspector has a deep need to check and recheck his progress with words as he goes along writing your article. As you read his sentences, you will slowly find your blood pressure rising and feel as though your feet are stuck in heavy concrete.
Ivan's writing style never moves the topic along smoothly. The herky-jerky back and forth motion of his thoughts make a client dizzy and will guarantee your reader will need motion sickness tablets to get through the content.
Ivan's Article Assignment: Create an article about the popularity of Futons with college students.
What Ivan Writes: Futons are very popular with college students for many reasons. Like I mentioned, they are popular for many reasons because, for one, they are cheap. Like I said before, college students like cheap seating. As I stated earlier, anything cheap is great for college; why not concentrate on studying instead of going broke? Like I just said, college is for getting good grades, not for going broke as I said previously.
My Response: I am not paying for this. Like I mentioned before, I am not paying for this. As I stated earlier, you will not be getting paid.
10. Babbling Betty
The tongue that never rests
Credit: http://tears2roses.deviantart.com/art/They-tape-the-truth-71276049, no modifications, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/One of the characters that you see a lot on outsourcing sites are people like Babbling Betty. There is one thing a client can be sure of if Babbling Betty takes their assignment; getting content that exceeds the requested word count by hundreds of words.
Some clients may like the fact that they are getting a lot more words than expected. There is only one problem; those little dots called periods. You have to edit long and hard to chop up Betty's article into sentences. Babbling Betty has the ability to write a 700-word sentence in 5 minutes.
We can only imagine the flames and smoke that come out of her mouth as she babbles 1oo mph in real life. Her husband and kids probably keep her taped down so they can get some peace and quiet in the evenings. It is during these taping episodes that Betty heads off to Zerys.com or Elance for a babble fix.
Babbling Betty's Assignment: Write an article about the benefits of sofa beds.
What Betty Writes: Owning a sofa bed is a smart idea because they have so many benefits when compared to regular couches like having extra space for surprise visitors or even the grand-kids that want to spend the summer hanging out but need their own little sleeping spot like kids do but many people end up buying a regular sofa which they regret because they just aren't as comfortable for sleeping on long term which a sleeper sofa is because you can get them with air mattresses and cozy pads for happy guests which is the main goal of any hostess.
My Response: Thank you for the period; I was looking forward to it! May I suggest decaf?
There Is Humour In The Truth About Outsourcing
I am so glad that I can see the irony and humor of my experiences as a client on these outsourcing sites. I understand that people have their own unique personalities that come out in the way they write. However, that doesn't mean that I am not getting weary of spending my money for content that lacks heart and soul.
I have spent anywhere from $5 to $30 for a single article expecting better content as I spend more, but that hasn't happened for me.
Freelancers need to feed their families, but no writer can be great taking on every single topic under the sun. Because they need to make money, content writers choose topics, tones, styles, target audiences and subjects they don't relate to.
A serious-minded chemistry-professor-turned-writer trying to produce lighthearted, witty content about fun, flirty 1950's poodle skirts? Believe me, it isn't pretty.
There are many more content-creating monsters out there besides the 10 featured here. What a scary thought. By now you have probably realized that some of these characters must be related to each other and may be breeding out there in record numbers.
Is There A Moral To This Story?
I guess I'll retire when I expire
First of all, I want to thank anyone that actually made it to the end of this page. It was cathartic for me to vent and I appreciate your time. Like many have said before me, absolutely nobody cares about your website content more than you do.
No matter how much money you pay a freelancer, the words cannot exude the same passion for your topic as they do when you write it yourself. I am going to reassess my early retirement dreams and content goals and let my websites grow slowly over time.
Writing well is truly a gift. It is an art form that becomes lost on greedy outsourcing sites where money is the name of the game. Will I stop outsourcing? I don't know. For now, I am taking a long, long break from ordering anymore content. As you can see, I seriously need it!