Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Do you REALLY Get What you Pay for?

A recent post at a forum I belong to happened to catch my attention earlier this morning. I want to write about it not only to voice my opinion, but to get your feedback on the matter as well.

A writer was accused of plagiarism, and the webmaster who hired this particular writer was very unhappy. The rates were fair, he said, and the writer blatantly copied and pasted in an attempt to pass off the articles as her own (a very poor attempt, I might add.)

Now, according to the details of this post, the writer was contracted to write approximately 100 articles for this client. The rate he paid her to write these articles amounts to just about .02/word.

On one side of the coin, I have to throw in the over-used phrase, "You get what you pay for." It sounds to me as if the writer, forced to write over 100 articles for peanuts, probably burned out and ripped off other content to turn in the project on time, get paid and be done with it.

Does that make plagiarism right? No, of course not. Not only is that illegal, it's unprofessional, stupid, and honestly... this writer accepted the project on those terms. If the writer was unhappy with the pay rate, she should have negotiated or turned it down. Anything other than plagiarism, please!

Now, on the other hand - knowing the rates this client paid, does he really have a right to complain about the quality of his content? Forget the fact that it was plagiarized. What if it was original content, but poorly written? Did he really think he could get over 100, professionally written articles for .02/word?

Let me know what you think!

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At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I think the plagiatory thing should be only a rethorical question, meaning it's not right to do it under any circumstances other then, I'm exaggerating, saving someones life. :)

About the 0.02 per word ... Well, in my country, I think it would be quite a nice rate. If I offer someone 10 bucks for 500 words, I would could get some talanted people to write for me. No, I'm not from some 3rd world country, I'm from Slovenia. But, hey, 10 bucks for maximum 2 hours of work for some basic articles - that should really do it.

Ofcourse, if the copywritter must research alot, writing on some delicat stuff or something deep in details, that could/should rise the payment.

But once you agreed to do something, you should do it if it can't be negotiable. If you can, you can try to negotiate different price, but it's the clients decision wheter he'll pay you more or not.

Ofcouse, that's all just IMO. ;-)

Take care, Denise, and I wish you all the best negotiating fair prices for you! ;-)

Wait a minute, now I have a question for you: what is then a fair or a good price /word in your opinion? What do you charge then?

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Denise said...

The plagiarism question WAS rhetorical. I made it very clear that it's not acceptable in any circumstances :)

I would never agree to do a bulk project like that and write for .02/word. There have been times when I'll take a lower rate for a client I enjoy working with, but I usually charge much more than that.

I'm not willing to go into specific details about my standard rates, but suffice it to say that I have plenty of clients willing to pay them :) I'm never worried about negotiating a fair wage because if it's not acceptable to me, I pass on the project.

Ten dollars for two hours of work would equate to roughly 5 bucks an hour. That's well below the minimum wage in my state. Not only that, many freelancers (and clients!) fail to realize that we have to charge differently to account for self-employment taxes, overhead and other expenses.

I linked to a post about "Crunching the Numbers" in an earlier blog post. It's very useful in figuring out how much we need to charge in order to meet our annual income goal.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely understand your angle. Like I said, I think it's a market thing. If you can find someone on DP that will be very satisfied with 0.02/word AND will deliver on his promises, it's a win-win situation: you gain with good articles and your writer gains also - with, for him, acceptable price.

Well, we're down to the basic economy rules - "the invisible hands of a market place" ... ;-)

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Dana Prince said...

It's really sad that someone would resort to plagiarism. I've taken many .02/word gigs and even lower in the beginning of my freelance writing career and also struggled with large assignments and finding the ways to get creative. It's a bit of a learning experience. I guess that's why I'm making better rates now...because I got over that hump. It was a sacrifice with plenty of late nights and sore wrists but I know for a fact if I'd cut corners and didn't provide high quality work I'd never have gotten to better paying writing gigs.

Great post!


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