The emerging business of ecommerce has leveled the playing field for many small businesses to have a chance to compete in ways that would have been prohibitive in the past. No longer do you need to spend thousands of dollars on overhead for retail stores.Build a website complete with an e-store and you are ready to go.
This is quickly becoming the way many operate a business. With all of the good opportunities that come with this new business model, there is also the downside. One disturbing trend that is growing is the way online companies obtain their web content.
When you have a website, one of the driving factors that rank you on search engines is continuous fresh content. This means someone will have to write articles, ads, and other verbiage on a continual basis in order to keep you on the front page. If you don’t keep adding new content, your site can quickly lose its place on “page one” from an organic search, especially when there is a large amount of competition in your field. Your website is static and new traffic (customers) no longer comes to your site.The disturbing trend that is taking place springs from this need.
Most people who own websites are busy “doing business”. They do not have the time, or the skills quite often, to write their own content. To solve this problem, they turn to others to write web content for them…a potentially costly business expense as writers…good writers…are skilled at what they do, educated accordingly and deserving of their pay.
Lurking in the shadows of these professional writers, however, are predators that steal their work and “spin” the articles so they can offer “fresh web content” for literal pennies. Consider the following ads taken from a freelance writing site (misspellings and all) that has a section titled “Article Rewriting Jobs“:
“My company has handled many content writing assignments and has handled them well. Our team specializes in rewrites and fresh articles. Having an employee base of 16 in India, Philippines…”
“I need 2 rewriters who can work at the rate of $0.80/500 words rewrite articles“
“Hello freelancers i need two serious article re-writers. Time is of the essence and if you cant deliver the work on time then dont bother bidding. The articles will be 250 words each. My rate is $0.20 per article. I have over 3000 artilces that need to be written so the chosen providers will be assured of a regular flow of work from me.”
A skilled writer, pumped full of caffeine with the creative juices flowing like a river would not be able to meet these demands at this rate of pay, and survive (at least not in the US). To write 250 words for twenty cents…you do the math.
Rewrites are growing in popularity because they are cheap…really cheap…make that really, really, super cheap. Of course, it is possible (but not very probable) that the rewrites are from original content owned by the writer doing the rewrite. That is simply good business on the authors part. For less than a dollar an article though, it is almost certain to be a questionable source.
This begs the question that if a business is willing to gain content that has more than likely been plagiarized (stolen), what does that say about their other business ethics. After all, while they rip off hard working writers, will they treat you, the customer, with the same set of standards?
As a consumer you may wonder how to detect this type of web content. The best evidence will be the content itself. If you are on a site and the words do not make sense, or words are used in weird ways, misspelled frequently, out of context, poor use of English, or have a strange flow, these are clues to look for.
Article rewriting in-and-of-itself is a standard business practice among freelance writers who own the original content and do a professional job. People stealing writer’s work and flipping words around, is not a fair business practice. This may speak loudly about the ethical standards of businesses that are willing to buy these articles and may serve as a strong warning sign to the consumer to shop somewhere else.