Craigslist: The Grand Experiment

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on June 23, 2010 in Freelance Writing Jobs
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Do freelancers have a limit? I've noticed that there are a lot of crappy jobs posted out there, but I have always wondered if they actually get replies. So I figure you guys know me well enough by this point. What do you think I'd do?

Damn right I posted a fake job posting! Look what I wrote.

New exciting blog involving many differing toppics and we look for someone like you! We need writer who can make toppics on subject like:

  • Angelina Jolie Brad Pitt new babies
  • Louisiana gulf oil spill
  • Barack Obama healthcare
  • Sarah Palin Alaska hunter
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Justin Bieber YouTube

I am hoping you can get back to me! You work for us as intern but we pay well. Your article must be 100% original or we will not pay! You must writing perfect English. You must also not stealing articles! Article stealing is very not good. You work for us for 100% original articles. Words on article must be 1,000+.

Thank you! Please email!

I did not list a written rate because I screwed up–I had originally intended to list the rate as $1 per article. But the responses, oh, they made it worth it.


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See, I wish I could provide you with a list of comedy responses, but I don't have any. I had two Americans with serious job inquiries who live here in New York. I immediately confessed to them, and one has decided to become an AFW reader because she's frustrated with crappy Craigslist jobs (hi, Ashley!). Two other Americans called me out instantly, and one turned out to be a humor writer. We swapped a couple articles to make the other laugh.

I got five serious inquiries to which I replied with a "grammer test" where I listed the rate at $1 per article. Not a single person, as of this writing, thinks that's a fair rate. I had a couple people who I confirmed from other countries such as India who outright ignored my followup email, so it seems as though there's a limit to how little someone will work for. I've seen rates even worse than the one I posted, so it makes me feel great knowing that those jackasses aren't exactly awash in candidates.

Most people had a good sense of humor but I knew it wouldn't last. By 6 PM, I was flagged for removal for violation of Craigslist's terms of use. I don't know if I ended up offending someone or if my job demands disgusted someone, but either way I'm pretty glad the posting didn't even last 12 hours.

Where's the funny? I lied. There were a couple funny responses. Starting with this one, which was apparently sent to me by the guy who sits next to me on the subway and points at his own reflection angrily.

Want very much to blog for you. Have many axes to grind. One of them is the gun lobby. The other is Lady Gaga. For instants: Who does she think she is? She goes to a Yankees game with her pudendums showing below her bikini line, and you know for sure, she has been shaving that area and not using aloe on it afterwards. How do I know? With a common jeweler's loop, If you look through the large end, at the newspaper picture, you can see goose flesh. Is that attractive? (If you look through the small end, you can't see anything, so don't even try it.)

The next, we have the gun lobby. The only people allowed to carry guns should be inner-city white executives. They need to carry large amounts of cash on pay day in envelopes for their employees, so they should have prioritee. People don't understand this, because they don't understand infra-red-structure. It's what makes cities cities. Gun lobbyists want everyone to carry guns, and that's just bonehead. Here is an interview I personally conducted on the street of a major large city:

Question:   Would you carry a gun?
Answer:      Only if my life was threatened, or if I knew how to use it

So, I think that proves the average man/woman/man-woman (and their hard to spot, but they need to be represented, too) agrees with me, so I would have an excellent basis for a mandate to blog. The majority would be with me, because I speak sense and carry a big schtik.

Some doubted my veracity.

Is this real?

Others really doubted my veracity.

Are you the person going around Craigslist complaining about the jobs being offered?

Some failed to see why I needed to hire a writer.

That's not perfect English; in fact, much of what you write in your ad is not close to being perfect English.

Which is why I need a writer! This last one, though, kills me. Even though my posting was a joke, never, ever apply for a job with what this guy said. Ever.

Okay, I'm listening...

So the grand experiment is now over. What do you think?

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Clint Osterholz is a freelance writer who thinks he's awfully funny, and is surprisingly not a disappointment to his parents. You're always free to check out his portfolio if you'd like someone to be funny, or maybe write something a little more serious. Subscribe to my posts (only posts from this author).

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7 Comments

  1. Yo Prinzel
    Yo Prinzel June 23, 2010 Reply

    “She goes to a Yankees game with her pudendums showing below her bikini line, and you know for sure, she has been shaving that area and not using aloe on it afterwards. How do I know? With a common jeweler’s loop, If you look through the large end, at the newspaper picture, you can see goose flesh. Is that attractive? (If you look through the small end, you can’t see anything, so don’t even try it.)”

    WTF?

  2. Troy June 23, 2010 Reply

    I see these ads all the time on CL and I wonder what serious freelancer would reply to these ads? I used to think that the person listing the ad was just misinformed about typical rates and whatnot, but now I’ve come to think that these individuals are just trying to harvest emails for spam, mailing lists, and ‘make $1,000,000 an hour on the Internet’ scams. Kind of like chain letters of yesteryear.

  3. Thomas Wendt June 23, 2010 Reply

    Hilarious! I saw the first one yesterday and thought it was a bit goofy. If you would have included $1 per article, I probably would have died.

  4. Matt Willard June 23, 2010 Reply

    That Lady Gaga paragraph might be the best paragraph I’ve seen this week.

  5. Carol Tice June 23, 2010 Reply

    Craig’s List is a frustrating place for freelance writers. About 98% of their listings are utter crap. But then there’s that other 2%. Earlier this month I got my second very real, major client off a CL ad. I’m making $100 an hour.

    I wish we could convince all the real employers to stay off CL so I could stop having to look at the ads there…but every once in a while, there’s a gem.

    Hint: They never want someone to write about Lady Gaga.

  6. Wendy S. Johnson June 24, 2010 Reply

    I think you forgot the “Work From Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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