The worrying times for freelancers continue. Last year I made the mistake of contributing a few articles and pics to a new website, (which rather disturbingly has just won some website of the year award – presumably awarded by an organisation that considers it perfectly legitimate for freelance travel writers to be paid next to nothing for their work).

The way the site works is that you contribute material, for free, go through a tedious and time consuming editorial process to which no-one responds at Simonseeks, and eventually receive payment based on the number of hits your articles get.

Having some time to spare I thought I might as well give it a go – now I realise that was a waste of said spare time, having recently received £3.49 for my three features (well, I’ve requested it, haven’t actually had it yet).

To be fair Simonseeks do advise quite clearly of their policy, but what it effectively amounts to is a situation where idiots like me populate their website for virtually nothing, they then get advertisers on board, and go on to win awards and no doubt develop a healthy bank balance on the back of the suckers who provide the material.

And they clearly see nothing exploitative in this arrangement, actually boasting in a recent newsletter that some contributors are receiving as much as £40 a month. Whoop-de-doo!

I guess people like me only have ourselves to blame though. If we professionals simply left it to the amateurs and wannabes to provide copy for these sites they probaby wouldn’t last too long; but in our continual desperation to make a living from writing we grasp at straws like this only to actually make things worse for everyone since the Internet now seems to be a happy hunting ground for websites keen to post material provided free or for next to nothing.

And what’s worse, they seem to think there’s nothing wrong in this whole situation. Well, I don’t care how Simonseeks tries to justify its policies, in my opinion they’re simply exploiting people and from now on they can go and feckin seek somewhere else for work as far as I’m concerned.

Seriously, if you’re a fellow writer, give these websites short shrift – in the long run they’ll kill off the profession of real travel writing – and quite possibly many other types of writing too.



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