A writer friend mentioned that she had read an article about a website, and she was horrified. The website is BlogMutt, a blog writing service. Their headline says “Weekly, all-original content for your business blog for $79 a month.” Sounds good. As you can tell by the (in)frequency of my blog posts, I could seriously use a service to add useful content to my blog every week.
So what’s the problem? At the bottom of the home page is a link to information for “Freelance writing jobs.” Follow the link and learn about “… a whole new breed of an opportunity.” BlogMutt sums it up in 2 sentences: “You write posts for businesses. If they like and use those posts then you get paid.”
If they LIKE AND USE THOSE POSTS THEN YOU GET PAID.
Ok, so the bottom of the pay range is $0 per blog post.
The top? I used a contact form to send a question asking about the pay scale. I got an answer back right away: they pay $8 per post. BlogMutt claims that 90% of posts are accepted, so there is only a 10% chance you won’t get paid at all. If 90% of your posts are accepted, you’re averaging $7.20 per post written.
BlogMutt has a point system for writers which can eventually qualify writers to earn more. But if my businesswoman hat fits properly, I calculate that a writer can never be paid more than $19.75 a post (minus whatever business expenses BlogMutt has per post), or BlogMutt would be losing money. Clients receive “all-original” content, so BlogMutt can’t sell each post more than once (which would be SEO suicide for businesses anyway).
Googling revealed that the required post length is usually 300 words. This is 300 words right… here. So posts are short at least. Some clients might ask for longer posts, or require more time for research.
At $8 for 300 words, each word is worth 2.6¢. Not a lot, but (sadly) more than some sites pay. A writer could probably earn more than minimum wage if they write fast and if all of their posts sell. Still, you’d need to write 13 posts to (possibly) earn more than $100.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the median pay in the US for writers and authors was $55,420 per year. Let’s see: to earn that on BlogMutt, you’d need to write about 27 posts every weekday for the entire year.
And before someone brings it up, you must be located in the US to write for BlogMutt. So much for the $8-a-post-is-good-pay-in-some-countries argument.
You might think that being a paid writer via BlogMutt will pay off in experience and clips to show to future clients or employers. The site pushes that angle. But if you are speed-writing short blog posts, will you be proud of the writing? Will future clients read them and appreciate your talent? Will you have time to hone your craft? Unlikely.
I want to hate the site, but really I’m ambivalent. On one hand, it devalues the work of professional writers who charge enough to earn a living wage (and are worth it). Fast and cheap posts probably won’t be well-written posts. And there is a chance that a post won’t sell, and the writer won’t get paid. That’s spec work, and I want to hold up garlic and a wooden stake and chase it away. On the other hand, it’s not as bad as some sites and might be a viable alternative to a part time minimum wage job for some people.
What do you think?