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Well this is my first ever blog so I might as well start by chucking myself in the deep end and get off to controversial start.  Let’s talk about scammers.  My comments are made from my own experiences over the last few days, I have drawn my own conclusions, you make up your own mind.

The Confession on Directfreelance.com

English: confessional Italiano: confessionale

To start off I must confess to being a mature man with plenty of life experience, yet not for the first time I have allowed myself to be parted from my money because something caught my eye; please believe me when I say greed is not a factor, I was just looking for something a bit different to write about and no fee was advertised.

When you subscribe to websites like Linkedin, as many of us do, you kind of expect to be entering an area of safety as companies like this have well deserved good reputations, believe me when I say this blog is not having a dig at Linkedin or any similar companies but I am definitely having a dig at the sophistication scam companies go to in order to legitimise themselves by their use of companies with good reputations.

The Bones of Directfreelance.com

Although I have been a member on Linkedin for several years I never really used it; now due to outside factors I find myself having to find work through alternative routes, Linkedin was suggested as one of those routes so I have increased my activities there.

I have joined several groups hoping to meet like-minded people, receive and give advice and ultimately find some reasonably paid work; I even found my brother in one of them and still haven’t quite recovered.

One such group is simply entitled ‘Writing Jobs’ and although the group has 3000+ members and operates as any other group their logo includes the words Verbumsoft and Directfreelance.com.

Scam Writing sites

Screenshot Directfreelance.com

Their ‘Promotions’, there is only one, is for the above website.  Like a lot of people looking for work I went off to explore and discovered a professional looking site and free registration; so I registered.

Jobs were a bit thin on the ground and the details of them sparse but some of them sounded quite interesting projects but $59 seemed a very high price to pay so I left it there.  Sorry I forgot to say you can’t bid for a job unless you’ve paid; yes a warning bell should have been thundering away in my head it probably did but I couldn’t hear it because of the tinnitus. Honest!

Arriving back at the site a few days later, more by bad luck than bad judgement, I looked through more jobs and got hooked on one that I really thought looked challenging, interesting and doable; I applied then I realised I needed to join.  Well I don’t know what type of day I was having and not to make excuses but I had some money lying around in PayPal so why not; Yes I still have the bruises from kicking myself.

I put my bid in and needless to say 3 days later I had heard nothing nor was there any other activity on the job.

I went to the group page and found a discussion where a member had asked if anyone knew anything about Directfreelance.com there was one reply pointing out it may be a bit dubious so I added a couple of my own, not to harsh but relating my experiences. http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Writing-Jobs-2645481.S.80207564?qid=1c4808d9-78c6-4924-8dc0-66b269f338c1&trk=group_followed_item_list-0-b-ttl

A few minutes later I refreshed the site but could not see my efforts.  Oh! they’re in the pending folder awaiting approval; no they’re not, they’re in the ether as they are not on the discussion board nor in my pending file.  Hot off the press I can see that the facility to comment further on this discussion has been removed.

I emailed Directfreelance.com regarding a cooling off period so I could reclaim my money, the reply I received is quoted “Unfortunately, we do not have cool off period for the full membership.”  I think the phraseology in the sentence says everything.  Wandering around the ‘Help’ area shows glimmers of the same type of grammar.

But it didn’t end there. within half an hour I had received an email saying there was a new project available assisting someone to write a document they’d researched but didn’t have the ability to write it concisely; there was no ‘area’ ‘defined’ i.e. it didn’t have a country of origin.

Suprise, Suprise Directfreelance.com

PISA BELL © Nestor A. Grinbank  - Verbumsoft

And the bell starting ringing again! - PISA BELL © Nestor A. Grinbank

A bell was ringing, not the tinnitus this time.  Whilst going through the available jobs the night before this same job was amongst the available jobs and had been there for a few days; with the location listed as Nigeria, I remembered because I chuckled.  Just for devilment, I’d already resigned myself to my lost money by now, I went back to the site to read the posting and found the original one had gone and the new posting had Nigeria as being the defined location.

Conclusion on Directfreelance.com

I feel quite strongly that I have been ‘scammed’ and lost some of my hard-earned content mill writing wages and some of you can quite rightly say it serves me right for being stupid or gullible but if I fell for it how many others have.

I know my conclusions to this little episode, I will leave you to draw your own.

Obviously I won’t be able to post this to the ‘Writing Jobs’ groups website but will post links in other Linkedin groups and report my feelings to Linkedin.  I aim no criticism at any of the members attached to this group.

I would like to conclude by making some honourable sweeping statement along the lines of ‘sacrificing myself for the greater good’ but I will be honest and just accept I’m a ‘door knob’ minus the door.

Speak soon

*****UPDATE***** Checked back with site 14/02/12 and job was never awarded and no reply was ever received to my message.

nigelld of wrapcloth