Bidding Sites: Good, Bad or Just Ugly?

Are bidding sites useful or useless to freelance writers?

Image courtesy of Crisderaud at RGBStock.com

I think bidding sites are bad and ugly.

Naturally, you should form your own opinion.  But here's what helped shape mine.

The People Looking for Freelance Bidders
"You know we're sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?" Rockhound, "Armageddon" (1998)
People who use freelance bidding sites are looking for the cheapest labor they can get.  Of course everyone wants to pay a fair price, so don't confuse a thrifty, savvy business owner with someone who wants cheap labor.  Don't confuse someone who wants cheap labor with a savvy business owner, either. 

How do people treat the cheap help?  Not well.  You can expect headaches, outlandish requests (and things seem more outlandish when you don't feel you're going to be paid the rate you want to be paid) and you might even get beaned by a cell phone.

Why do people treat cheap help that way?  Because they can.  And if you don't recognize your talent and charge appropriately, the people contracting with you won't recognize it either... so you're just one of the herd.  Herd members are replaceable - and in a herd with borders the size of some of those bidding sites, very replaceable is more appropriate.

Starting with Bidding Sites

I often read a blog written by a lady who's a staunch advocate of bidding sites and revenue share sites.  I like her anyway.  She says you should get your start writing content for revenue sharing opportunities and move on to bidding sites, where you may or may not decide to cap off your freelance writing career.

I say no way to both ideas. 

The problems I see with using bidding sites to get started are that you may feel compelled to:
  • bid low
  • get stuck in a rut
  • view other bidders as your competition
If you bid low, you're going to be treated like a low bidder (see above).  Worse, you might get stuck in a rut getting low-paying gigs from these sites and not have the time, inclination or drive to get out while you still can.

And...

Other Bidders Are Not Your Competition

Image courtesy of TACLUDA
at RGBStock.com
If you want to make a go of freelance writing as a career, people who use bidding sites aren't your competition.  You're your own competition - and you need to recognize your talent and put yourself in the right pool.

If you can write, you don't need to be throwing yourself headfirst into the shallow end of any pool.  You need to get in the deep end on a floatie until you're ready to dive


Do you use bidding sites, or have you in the past?  What's your experience?

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© Angie Papple Johnston 2011.

Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.