Samantha Torrence – Outsourcing has affected every industry in America, and the writing industry is no different. American and European writers starting from scratch are having a difficult time building up a reputable portfolio to land successful jobs due to competition from foreign workers. Writers from the Philippines and other nations can produce articles for pennies on the dollar whereas American writers need to make much more simply to produce a viable income.
Websites that connect contracting freelance writers with employers, like Odesk and Elance, host writers from all over the world. The competition has forced people who should be working for at least $7.00 an hour to work for as little as $.57 an hour 40 hours a week. Typically these jobs will go to someone other than an American who is willing to work at these wages.
Writers not only have to compete with low wages but they also face a haphazard market to sell their skills. Websites like Odesk and Elance have made it acceptable for employers to low-ball and to swamp their website with job offers that are unsecured and unreliable. Writers have now become accustomed to being valued as sweat shop labor.
Writing mills have also made it difficult on professional freelancers to succeed. Places like Demand Studios/Demand Media offer seemingly competitive pay, but have inefficient editing staff as well as a high turnover rate. Often writers will be turned away from Demand Studios for frivolous reasons like a personality clash with on copy editor. The attitude is that they can be replaced.
Writing mill companies have flooded the system with so many articles that talented writers are lost in a sea of mediocrity. The practice overloaded the Internet with so much content that search engines like Google have rewritten their searching algorithms to place content from writing mills at the bottom of the search heap.
People who seek to make an extra buck without leaving the comfort of their home office have so far only had writing to turn to as the “easy” telecommute job. This created more writers than people have had resources to employ. Now that telecommuting has become in vogue people are looking for virtual assistants and telephone customer service representatives that have a stable computer connection and a quiet environment from which to work. Hopefully as more telecommuting jobs open up the freelance writing market will level out and again offer quality jobs.