Welcome to the internet. Sucker.
Scams are nothing new and at this stage neither is the internet. Whether it be someone offering to enlarge your penis – in the porn sense, the dating sense, the dysfunction sense, or the extra inch sense – or someone encouraging you to hate an out-group, the internet appears to be filled with scammers.
It was only this morning I received a very convincing looking invoice for a large order of books from a publisher I have been known to buy books from. Fortunately, I know some people in high places, like my friend the Nigerian prince, and they were able to warn me that I hadn’t actually ordered any books this week and should probably not click on the link to pay for them. Targeting readers and writers with scams are where I have to draw the metaphorical line in the metaphorical sand.
Most writers are hobbyists, writing because they love it. The handful that do get paid enough to be full-time writers are few and far between. So targeting writers with scams means that somewhere a monkey at a keyboard is not being fed today.
Let’s dissect a writing scam to see if we can spot the tricks used to part you from your potentially hard-earned money. This article was for a New, Amazing, Adjective, program that promises to give you the tools to write a 400-word article in 7 minutes. My comments are in blue.
Dear Fellow Article Writer
TA: This is a strong start. It creates kinship from a cold open. It wouldn’t read as well if they just called you a mark or sucker. Unless your name happens to be Mark. Or Sucker. But why would anyone call their child that? I mean, no offense to any Marks, but it’s a terrible name.
Did you watch the video above? It’s hard to believe so many people would send me such raving, unsolicited testimonials about my product, “How to Write an Article in 7 Minutes or Less“.
TA: I haven’t included the video but it is amazing how many unsolicited video testimonials appear to be shot with professional lighting and cameras.
If you did watch the video, you saw with your own eyes how I was able to take people who spent more than an hour writing an article down to as fast as 5 minutes per article!
TA: 5 minutes? I thought you said 7 minutes. Does this mean I get a 2 minute abs program as a bonus?
Would you like to experience the same results, without risking a penny? If so, then let me extend to you this unusual guarantee:
If you don’t cut your current article writing time down by at least 65% in less than a week after trying my methods, then not only will I refund every single cent of your purchase…
I’ll Give You DOUBLE Your Money Back!
TA: Cool, cool, cool, cool. But what if my average article writing time is 30 minutes and you only manage to bring it down by 65% to 10 minutes? Do I get 65% of my money back?
All you have to do is show me three articles you’ve written using my simple “7 minute formula” and tell me honestly that it didn’t at least increase your article writing speed by 65% while still maintaining the same quality and…
I will give you double your money back.
TA: This, folks, is called a caveat.
Also, if for any reason at all you are unsatisfied, you can always ask me for a refund — no matter what — and I’ll promptly and quietly return every penny you paid in full.
TA: Is anyone else’s cynicsense tingling?
Either way you can’t lose.
How I Stumbled Upon the
Secret for Writing Articles Quickly!
Not too long ago I earned my keep ghostwriting for internet marketers.
If you read articles, forum posts or follow the “gurus” in anyway, chances are you’ve read something ghostwritten by me.
I have written thousands of articles for my clients, and along the way discovered a simple process for generating content quickly for almost any topic.
TA: Notice that this pitch pretty much precludes any allusions to quality writing.
Here’s how it works.
- Open my 3 special research sites. TA: Wikipedia?
- Use my “skim and grab” research technique to find your
3 main points (Takes about a minute). TA: Yes, because reading comprehension is for suckers.
- Outline each main point with two “sub points.” (another minute here). TA: What if there is only one point?
- Use the “opening paragraph” template to quickly create the first paragraph (About 30 seconds). TA: Insert generic filler paragraph, got it.
- Use the “main point” template to write paragraphs for each of your three main points. (2-4 minutes total time) TA: So, standard writing….
- Use the “conclusion paragraph” template to quickly create the conclusion. (another 30 seconds). TA: Insert generic filler paragraph at the end.
- Proof read your article, and then submit it to the appropriate directory. (1-2 minutes) TA: Click spellcheck and hope it doesn’t miss anything.
The cool thing about using these templates is you never have to pause to think…but… you also enough leeway so each article remains 100% unique, and of the highest quality.
TA: Yes, why would you want to actually put any thought into your writing. Highly overrated for quality content. This approach screams quality writing.
Don’t worry: My method has nothing to do with plagiarism!
TA: Of course not, copy and pasting clearly takes too long.
Anyway, you can learn all about my 7 minute article technique by reading my special report, “How to Write an Article In 7 Minutes”, and by watching the videos I made showing step by step how I do it.
But that’s not all… TA: Steak knives? Please be steak knives.
My first thought upon seeing the claim that you could learn to write an article in 7 minutes was that it was bullshit. The fact that people would find this plausible left me a little stunned, a little thirsty, and thinking about having a nap. Clearly, some people are going to be taken in by these kinds of scams. So I want to just illustrate my critical thinking process and how I avoided being scammed for $37 (I know, huge amounts of money).
Drawing from personal experience, I know that I’d spend more than 7 minutes just copying in the links to the research I’d be citing, let alone reading the 3 magic research sites. So the first check is to understand just how long certain tasks actually take you. This scam works on the idea that you don’t really measure the time it takes for common activities. You may know how long you spend on a full article or day’s writing, but not on the little parts, like one paragraph or one sentence. So when someone presents you with some figures, you are bound to think, “Well, I do spend a lot of time staring at the screen and checking my Twitter feed.” Suddenly you are partly receptive to the con.
Let’s have a look how long writing actually takes the average person. Being a science nerd, I like to have a few figures around on writing, reading, average number of Facebook posts per hour; you know, important stats. The average person has a typing speed of 60-100 words per minute, which gives you 400-700 words written in 7 minutes. The page claims a 400-word article with 5 minutes of actual writing time. So the claim is physically possible. Just. But that is typing speed, not writing speed. Typing is just mashing a bunch of keys in the correct order, writing requires a little more thought as to what those mashed keys actually communicate.
What about editing? Nothing is perfect on a first draft, nothing! So even if this is a 400-word article written in 5 minutes, you still need to edit. Reading speed is not the same as proofreading speed, with average speeds of 180-200 words per minute. That’s another 2-3 minutes.
Aaannnddd, we’re out of time. Sorry, folks.
Just the physical act of writing and reading your new article chews up the time allocation. Unless this program comes with a Deloren or Time Turner it is unlikely to have you churning out 8 articles an hour.
But what if the program can reduce my writing time by 65%, I hear a brave new bridge owner chewing on brain pills ask.
Well then, send me $40 and I’ll send you some templates that I guarantee will improve your writing by 69%, add inches to your IQ, and make Nigerian royalty give you money. Trust me, no-one lies on the internet.
4 thoughts on “Scamming writers”
…”you never have to pause to think”
This is the crux.
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I kinda wonder how many things slip past our critical thinking and fact checking. Scams are usually obvious if you think at all about them, but so many other tidbits are thrown at us daily.
I saw one reporter for Sky News justifying not fact checking a claim made before airing it during the milk crate stabbing. They couldn’t see the point of reliable information. From a “news” organisation.
Writing scams have always been a fact of online life, but we need to be especially careful these days, as economies experience volatility and people become desperate.
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Especially given that there are so many writers fighting for attention. They’ll look for some edge to set them apart.