I wrote a couple of months ago about signing up for Elance, and promised to let you know how that was going. I had great hopes for it, especially as it came recommended by someone I know. However, a couple of days ago I stripped as much of my information as I could out of my Elance profile. I’ve quit.
I took the basic – read free – membership, because I wanted to see if I could make any money at all before putting any money in. I read all the literature the site posted for newbies. Elance is a bid-for-jobs site, so you read the job description and, if you decide you could do it within their budget, place a bid to say how much you will do it for. Most bids are sealed; in other words, you can’t see what you’re bidding against.
I bid, altogether, on sixteen jobs in two months (which was all I could do with a free membership). Twelve of them went to much lower bidders. One ghostwriting job went to someone whose style the job poster liked better – she wrote me a nice little note, thanking me for my bid. One bid was declined because the poster wanted an experienced contractor to write a series of home renovation articles. (Good luck with that.) The final two jobs I bid on are still sitting on the board. The bidding has been closed for two weeks, and there’s no indication that the job posters have even looked at the bids.
Here’s one I bid on: text for an online Tarot game. The job poster wanted a description of each of the seventy-eight Tarot cards, the meaning of the card when upright and when reversed, and an overview of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. It had to be all original work, not cut-and-paste from an existing reference. He wanted a sample writeup for one card as part of the bid. Budget: under $500 for 20,000 words.
I bid $350.00. That’s under $5.00 per card, with the overviews thrown in. I have thirty years’ experience with the Tarot, and could do an excellent job. It’s not as much as I’d like, especially considering my level of expertise, but I could do it, I figured, in two days.
The job went to someone who bid $100.00. My other experiences were similar.
I also found online complaints about work done and pay not received, and work paid for, but not done. Put “elance.com scam” into Google and some interesting things come up.
I’m not saying that all these sites, or even Elance itself, are scams. What I am saying is that they seem to be a race to the bottom.This is not the only site I’ve tried. One woman who recruited me to write articles wanted five-hundred-word articles at $3.50 each. I turned her down. When I mentioned this on a writers’ site, another writer told me that was more than he was getting.
You can have it quick, or cheap or good – at most you get two of the three. Me, I’m already good, and as far as I’m concerned, good doesn’t come cheap.
Maybe I’m just bloody-minded, but if I’m going to be underpaid, I’m going to be underpaid for writing what I want to write.