Back in September, we thought Prefix magazine's freelancer rates of $6 per day were about as bad as it could get in a desiccated media landscape where writers are exploited like the railroad workers of old. Today, a company out of Portland, Oregon, is making Prefix's rates look downright extravagant.
We don't know the company's name—we've emailed them and will update this post if they respond—so for now we can only give you its wildly brazen Craigslist job listing for freelance writers, which demands candidates with "excellent" research skills, an ability to meet deadlines, and "excellent grammar and an engaging voice."
That's all pretty normal. But things get a bit strange when they say anyone hired will have to complete "30 to 60 articles per week." Huh? Add to that the numerous hoops one has to jump through to even properly apply for the position:
If you wish to apply for this job, please email us regarding your experience, education, days and hours you wish to work, and about how many 500 word articles you can complete each day/week. Also, please follow the instructions below to write a sample article so that we can judge your ability to follow instructions, write, and to get a feel for your voice. Please also brainstorm a list (see details bleow) of topics so that we can judge your creativity and ability to come up with content independently. Attach your application assignments to your email. We will not respond to applicants who do not include the sample assignments. Feel free to attach any other work and/or links to work, but these other works cannot serve as a replacement for your sample.
Find a current news article regarding background checks and use it to write one 500 word news article in your own words. Please paste the link of your source into the bottom of your article. Use Calibri Font size 11, with a Bolded Size 14 title. Please also bold the following keywords used in your article: background check, background checks.
Come up with five potential article titles/topics that focus on increasing social network fans/followers.
Now for the million-dollar question: What should excellent, creative, deadline-driven, ambitious, quick, detail-oriented, prolific, and skillful writers expect to be paid if this pain-in-the-ass content farm hires them? Why, "between .009 and .02 per word," of course. Literally fractions of pennies. In Portland, where the living hourly wage is $9.42, according to MIT's living wage calculator, that would mean low-end earners would need to write about 1,047 words per hour to keep their head above water. That's easy, right, professional writers?
The end of the ad notes, "ANY RESPONSES TO THIS AD CONTAINING INAPPROPRIATE, INFLAMMATORY, OR HATEFUL CONTENT WILL BE FLAGGED, SUBMITTED TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES, AND PROSECUTED ACCORDINGLY." Know how you can tell you're an exploitative prick? When your job posting has to ask people to not call you an exploitative prick.
[Image via Getty]