Based on what I have seen on this site, I have no way of knowing that proposals are being sent forward. There is no acknowledgement of reciept from these clients and and certainly no feedback.
Am I just spending time writing these proposals only to throw them into a black hole?
How long should I allow a proposal to languish unanswered?
Is this all just some pay-to-play scheme?
Inquiring minds want to know
It's not a scheme, but many freelancers (including myself) do spend weeks and months applying before getting their first job and sometimes in between projects, and no, you almost never hear back from clients who don't want to hire you. Just make sure your profile and proposal game is on point and apply for positions you know you're perfect for, and then forget about proposals after you send them.