Even if you're not a natural cynic, like me, a good rule to follow if you're a writer is "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." Case in point: Freelancehomewriters.com, a website that promises easy money for your writing.
"Why not stay home and get paid for typing on your computer?" the website asks. Freelance Home Writers are needed immediately to make blog posts for up to $15 per hour, write "simple articles" for up to $45 per hour, and write fiction or nonfiction stories for $450 per tale! It's "A Great Job even if you're not a 'natural born writer.'"
Let's say I'm Jane Everywriter, and I'm intrigued by the possibility of getting paid for my scribbling. Or maybe I'm Joe CouchPotato, and I'm excited by the prospect of making money by sitting on my butt. Hey, I wrote a few papers in high school. All I have to do Get Started Now is to provide Freelancehomewriters.com with my first name and email address.
I'm whisked to the job description page, where I learn that "Thousands of smart people just like you are are [sic] already brining [sic] in an easy $1,000, $2,000...even as much as $5,000 every single week just by doing this easy writing in their spare time...and now it's your turn!" I'm so excited now I can hardly stand it. With bated breath and pounding pulse I read down the page...websites are starving for content...I can make as much as $10,000 a year writing as few as 3 articles a day...yes, yes...the jobs come to me...I don't have to have a resume or writing credits...Oh boy! Oh crap. I'm at the bottom of the page and I still haven't found out how to access this fantastic opportunity. So I click the "Complete Registration" button.
And I discover there's a catch.
This wonderful world of easy writing money can be mine...for a small fee. A $2.95 Special Risk Free Trial Membership Fee, to be exact (normally $69.95), which gives me access to the Freelance Home Writers system for 7 whole days. There's also a monthly membership fee of $47.00--hmmm, a bit more than I bargained for, but as the website reminds me, just a fraction of the boodle I can make with this wonderful system. And hey, if I'm not happy, I can cancel anytime. I'm going to do it. Yes I am. I'm going to take the plunge. Just have to heave myself off the couch and get my credit card. And a bag of chips.
Writers, don't fall for this. Freelancehomewriters.com is the writers' version of the familiar work-at-home schemes that are the subject of warnings from the FTC and the BBB. These schemes tempt you with promises of easy money, but require you to spend money first in order to access their "systems" or receive their kits. Much of the time, the materials or leads you are given are substandard, or the company misrepresents the demand for whatever business you're supposed to be establishing, or it's not revealed that there are substantial additional costs. Consumers have lost thousands of dollars to these schemes.
Freelancehomewriters.com isn't the only website of its kind. There are others--some more subtle, some more crude. Cultivate your inner cynic, and never trust anyone who offers you an "easy" way to sell your writing.
(If you get as far into the site as I did, and try to leave, a little "STOP! DON'T GO YET! message box appears on your screen. If you click it, another little box implores you not to leave empty handed, and offers to send you a "make money success kit" for FREE! Yes, delivered to your door absolutely FREE [you pay only shipping and handling]. What a deal.)