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To my fellow writers proving sample articles for free: Thanks a lot!

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
1 of 38

I was recently in discussions with a client about a job (that they claimed would be ongoing) writing research-heavy tech blog posts.  The client requested a free custom sample article based on a prompt/topic that they sent, saying that they would choose among the four interviewees based on which sample was best and would pay for the article if it was so good that they decided to use it.  I responded that I could do the sample for a small initial fee but not for free, and the client's response was: "About the free sample, unfortunately, I can't make an exception.Because other two writers doing the same assignment with no charge. There shouldn't be a problem with UpWork. They care if we do the transaction out of Upwork, which we won't."

 

To anyone who does this:  You're screwing over your colleagues by creating unrealistic expectations among clients. You're setting a standard where everyone has to do hours of free work for jobs they might not even get.  Now this client is getting two free articles to use on their company websites -- if they keep re-posting similar ads and "interviewing" writers in this manner, they might not ever need to actually hire someone!  Not working for free shouldn't be an "exception" or something clients think Upwork "doesn't care about." For me to research, write and proofread a 1000-word tech blog post that I'd feel comfortable using as a sample of my skills would take maybe a couple of hours.  I don't have time to do that for free because I have stuff to write for real clients who have actually hired me and agreed to pay.  If you think you DO have time for that, please rethink your approach to your work!

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
2 of 38

Nonsense. People who provide free work are hurting themselves, not the rest of us. No one is "screwing you over" because they made a different choice than you did. 

 

You're right not to do it. You're wrong that it's any of your business whether others do, or that they need to factor you into their business decisions.

kulkarni_ashish
Community Guru
Ashish K Member Since: Mar 1, 2016
3 of 38

@Tiffany S wrote:

Nonsense. People who provide free work are hurting themselves, not the rest of us. No one is "screwing you over" because they made a different choice than you did. 

 

You're right not to do it. You're wrong that it's any of your business whether others do, or that they need to factor you into their business decisions.


Disagree. Enough freelancers doing that will bring down the reputation of Upwork and its freelancers as a whole. Not to mention the loss in revenue for upwork, which affects us all. And, doing free work is against ToS for both the client and the freelancer. You dont want cheap clients telling their friends "You wont believe how easy it is to get free stuff done on Upwork, its full of stupid freelancers". Then we get a horde of other such cheap clients, and voila! the platform reduces to rubbish.

 

Completely agree with Emily.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
4 of 38

@Ashish K wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

Nonsense. People who provide free work are hurting themselves, not the rest of us. No one is "screwing you over" because they made a different choice than you did. 

 

You're right not to do it. You're wrong that it's any of your business whether others do, or that they need to factor you into their business decisions.


Disagree. Enough freelancers doing that will bring down the reputation of Upwork and its freelancers as a whole. Not to mention the loss in revenue for upwork, which affects us all. And, doing free work is against ToS for both the client and the freelancer. You dont want cheap clients telling their friends "You wont believe how easy it is to get free stuff done on Upwork, its full of stupid freelancers". Then we get a horde of other such cheap clients, and voila! the platform reduces to rubbish.

 

Completely agree with Emily.


I get what you're saying about the platform, but still have to take it with a grain of salt as I've been in the freelance writing business for 20+ years, and there's never been a minute of that time when a significant faction of writers weren't running around waving their hands in the air and predicting the end of the industry because those who wrote for cheap or free were setting a bad precedent and ruining it for all of us.

 

Consistently, across decades and different freelancing landscapes and new technologies (etc. etc. etc.) the net result has been that plenty of people are still making a good living as freelance writers--today, far more than were in the earliest days of the mass hysteria about being undercut. 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
5 of 38

THey're not screwing me. While they are dumb and writing free articles, I'm making money from clients in the marketplace that actually pay for my time.

 

I like when they do this so they can waste their time while I bid and take the good customers.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 38

I agree that the contractors doing free work are detracting from the platform for all of us.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
7 of 38

In what way, Preston?

yitwail
Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
8 of 38

Emily wrote, 'the client's response was: "About the free sample, unfortunately, I can't make an exception.Because other two writers doing the same assignment with no charge.'

 

And I say, clients can say whatever they want. For all you know, no one is doing it at no charge. It's not as though the client gave any proof, like an excerpt from the free samples. 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 38

Clients lie.

They say some crazy stuff to manipulate contractors. I get all kinds of stuff when they try to get me to come down in rate. Just ignore them. Move on. 

 

I get a little annoyed that they think I'm that dumb, but whatever. Tomorrow is another day.

jmeyn
Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
10 of 38

@John K wrote:

Emily wrote, 'the client's response was: "About the free sample, unfortunately, I can't make an exception.Because other two writers doing the same assignment with no charge.'

 

And I say, clients can say whatever they want. For all you know, no one is doing it at no charge. It's not as though the client gave any proof, like an excerpt from the free samples. 


John,

 

It actually happens. Even worse than what Emily describes. A friend of mine in IT published a job with a very detailed description of what he wanted. Half - I emphasize HALF - the proposals already had the complete solution attached even though he specifically pointed out that he didn't want that. He at least was fair enough, to pick the best solution and pay the provider peanuts for it. Everybody else was left empty handed.  

 

I would like to point out if requests like the one Emily had are brought to the attention of CS the job is removed. Unfortunately this mostly seems to take several days of escalatiing through CS and many jobs are already awarded by that time, often even completed. IMHO not only should the job be removed but the client be suspended for some time and also the freelancers providing the free work. Just suspending these freelancers for a week would probably solve the problem because the real problem is not the client, the real problem are the freelancers giving to the clients' requests.

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