Here’s a brief account of an experience I had on the online marketplace Fiverr. This isn’t about ‘naming and shaming’ – I understand that you get what you pay for and when buying cheap you have to expect some people will try to get away with as little time and effort as possible. It’s important to remember that you’re still entitled to get what you order and you shouldn’t just accept whatever you’re offered.
Essentially, while setting up this website I was looking to get some articles by other people who are experienced at making money online. Given the website was too young and poor to be able to attract writers in its own right, I figured the best way to do this was to find pay someone through an online marketplace. Not only would this allow us to find someone who was willing and able to write a good article, it also let us select someone who is already reasonably successful selling their skills online and thus has knowledge of the topic.
We easily found someone who was successful in the freelance writing arena and provided this request:
I would like you to write an article about making money online. I would like an engaging, semi-formal tone (factual and professional but not too boring) that provides advice about one or several ways to make money online. This should be about something practical (e.g. freelancing) not trying to masquerade as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
Within the scope of my original request (making money online), I am happy for you to come up with a topic if there’s something that you know well. This could, for example, be about the pros and cons of freelance work, how to freelance online, comparing different freelancing platforms, how to spot scams, how to build your personal brand online, etc.
All up it was quite a simple, straightforward request – especially for somebody already making money online. So what did we get?
Here is the original, unedited article we were sent:
Making Money Online (Original Version)
With the advent of the internet came thousands of opportunities to make money online. You can sell your car or your dog (hey just your dog!). Or you can go legit and earn a few extra dollars with a bit of imagination. Often, all you need is your cellphone and an app. It’s in your pocket anyway, everyday, so why not make use of it. No time records to fill out, no boss to look over your shoulder, no office hours, and yet you make money on your own time, anywhere and while looking cool.
- Juno Wallet. Juno Wallet allows you to earn popular gift cards. After downloading the Juno Wallet or Bamboo Wallet app into your device via m.junowallet.com, you become eligible for rewards by earning credits. Earning credits require inviting friends, doing tasks, submitting photos or videos, or having fans. Rewards can come as digital gift cards from Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon, xBox Live and others.
- Gigwalk. Gigwalk’s system is similar to Juno Wallet. You first download the app, register you Gig account, register with Paypal, do some Gigs in your area, get guided on steps to take, and earn credits from $3 to $100.
- CheckPoints. There are a lot of options to cash out with CheckPoints. It requires only a simple interface called the CheckPoints app which transforms your cellphone into a reward card. You can earn rewards as small as $1 or one that is as expensive as a designer bag. By simply scanning specific products, clicking “in-store”, you gain points that become rewards.
- ShopKick. Whenever you are at the entrance of a listed establishment, you simply open your app, and voila! You make points by simply being there!
- ReceiptHog. By simply scanning the receipts of listed stores like 7-11, McDonald’s, Best Buy and many more, you earn coins. You earn more coins with bigger receipts. Even teenagers can make money from this app. All they need do is to ask their parents to keep their receipts in a container for her to scan.
You can also make legitimate money by offering your services online via websites that connect you to people who need your services. For instance, there are also many online tutors needed for teaching English especially in Asia. You can earn as much as $15 per hour. Aside from Freelance jobs, there are other ways to make money online, just browse, try each one and see what fits you and your lifestyle best.
On first glance, I thought this was an acceptable effort. It wasn’t an expensive service so I wasn’t expecting an extensive article based on in-depth research. I just wanted a basic overview which could serve as an introduction to the topic for novices. Sure, it needed some editing so that it didn’t read like a high schooler wrote it but I was after content not style. To be on the safe side, I checked through the recommendations… and I am so glad that I did.
The list is filled with services bearing overwhelming negative reviews, claims of fraud and a lack of updates or customer service for users. I seriously doubt the writer has used any of them – or at least not in the last few years. If so, where did the list come from? Was the core content plagiarised?
I contacted the writer about this and, to their credit, they didn’t contest my claims or object to rewriting the article. Here’s what they came up with the second time around:
Making Money Online (Revised Version)
Technology and innovation have changed the way we live, work and spend our leisure hours. But there’s nothing more disruptive among all technology than the internet. It has changed the way we work and do business. Unfortunately, making money online is easier said than done and we must take into account shady characters who promise to help us make easy money online only to end up with nothing but broken dreams or worst, leave us broke. First things first, to make money online, you must work for it online.
There are two types of income generating plans online, continuous work and making a little investment of time, effort and money for passive income. Here are five ways to make money online through continuous work or passive income:
- Build your own online store – The internet is the new marketplace with the great advantage of not having to worry about a physical store. Whether you want to make money through retail merchandise or specialized handcrafted products, there are different platforms to cater to your retail dreams. Shopify and Etsy lead the pack as online platforms for retail goods. What’s more, these online shopping platforms are easy to build and manage. The bulk of the work is the inventory and marketing.
- Establish yourself as a specialized blogger with special talents and proclivities to different hobbies and activities. Many pioneer entrepreneurs on the internet became successful in making money through specialized activities and hobbies. Building websites and blog sites catering to specific activities and hobbies such as weight loss, knitting, home improvement or cooking specialty foods are great places to start. Write blogs, make explainer videos and market these through social media and email. As your site/blog become popular and gains followers, you can endorse different products and get paid by advertisers for posting their advertisements.
- Be the next YouTube sensation. Doing something you love and are passionate about plus being real and making good, instructional or entertaining videos is a winning formula to become the next YouTube sensation. Making good, entertaining and educational/instructional videos is a way to make passive income.
- Work as a freelancer. This is one of the best ways to make money online, and there are different freelancer platforms ready to take in new talents to be discovered by employers and contractors. Upwork, Design99 and Fiverr are the top platforms catering to freelance work. You can work anywhere and anytime.
- If you have a house or an apartment in a prime destination for business or leisure, you can rent it out through AirBNB. If you live and own a property in a city or destination, this is the best way to make money online. You can rent out your property on a daily or monthly basis, depending on your arrangements with the AirBNB client.
Make decent and sizeable money online. Get started while you are still ahead and find your niche.
This was clearly a better article with (mostly) more reasonable and realistic ideas. Obviously not groundbreaking or particularly original but still a vast improvement and suitable for our purposes. The writer was paid as agreed, however, we certainly wouldn’t use them again or recommend them.
Ultimately, we decided not to publish the article by itself. Partly because we weren’t comfortable letting this writer’s content stand on its own without contextual commentary and partly because we felt that this article would be more interesting and relevant to our readers.