In an economy where layoffs occur often, magazines are folding and other publications are downsizing, the journalism job market is becoming increasingly more competitive. This means that journalists must work harder to stay employed and keep up with the influx of work as they take over what their laid-off co-workers left behind. It also means that editors want to still be able to produce great stories, without breaking the budget or overwhelming their already busy staff.
Here is where writingbids.com comes into play; a Web site where whoever wants to write a particular story–and get the paycheck–depends on who can work for the cheapest rate. It’s like a freelance writing auction… reversed. To some people this is seen as absurd and inappropriate, as networking or having expertise in an area should (in their eyes) be the way you earn stories.
So how does writingbids.com work? If someone needs a piece to be rewritten, or wants five travel articles, etc. they put a post up on the Web site requesting someone to bid on the assignment. A post often has a description of what the person needs, the budget of what they can afford to pay and a job start date, in addition to other job particulars.
Here is an example from the site:
“I need ten 800-word articles on inflatable boats to promote my new website. Topics to write about include inflatable boat fabrics, boat design and construction features, buying tips, repair and maintenance, inflatable boat FAQs etc.”
Three bids have already been made on this article request that was posted today. The person who made the request wants a writer to “start immediately” and has a stated budget of under $500.
Are we missing out on the highest quality of writing because an editor wants to save a few bucks? Or are we instead getting to hear from journalists who–before this Web site–had unnoticed talent due to a lack of connections? Also, what do you think–is this Web site something that will benefit or hinder the journalism industry?