I wrote an original writing to use as a proposal about a month ago in order to apply for writing gigs. After a while, something gave me the feeling as if I needed to make sure my work wasn't plagiarized. I just did a check of my work and found very similar work on another website as alerted on the plagiarism checker, this concerns me because I truly believe in being honest in business and life in general! As a new freelancer, I've made quite a few submissions, and my work isn't protected. In other words, you can write an original piece, someone can go on Upwork , and place an add requesting writing proposals on a particular topic, and then plagiarize the submissions. Has anyone else run into this issue?
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Do not submit original, custom samples to clients!
Instead, create samples you can use over and over. Next, publish those samples on your own website or on Medium. The reason is most shady "clients" who want free or cheap content also want original content. They are less likely to use your sample if it is already published.
Next, include the sample on your Upwork portfolio. You can't link to your own website per Upwork's TOS, instead post a screenshot of the work. If a client asks to see, examples refer them to that work.
Credible clients usually won't ask for free, custom samples. If they do, politely inform them you are busy with other client projects and do not have time to create unpaid samples. A decent client will respect that after all they are probably not doing free work for their "clients." A shady one might persist in trying to persuade you. Just say no and move on.
You can be honest in business. But sadly, you also need to be aware that there are a lot of dishonest people doing "business" on the internet. Learn to recognize and avoid them. It will make your life easier and more pleasant.
I truly appreciate your response and I am so grateful, I don't have a site, maybe this happened so that I would be more apt to do so. I will take your advice in respectfully declining to share an original piece and just refer them to work I've done on other websites. Thank you!
You can send a takedown notice (https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/what-is-the-dmca-notice-and-takedown-process/) if your work has been stolen. But, as the previous poster mentioned, what happened in this situation is that you fell for a scam. Look at the profiles of other writers on Upwork for ideas on how to present your skills. And, read the posts in the New to Upwork section of the forums to learn about other common scams.
Freelance platforms, including this one, are not a safe place for those who trust to quickly. Yes, there are good people who follow appropriate business practices using such platforms but there is also every other kind of person. 😔