I just got back three of the reviews I did for rewriting. The client sent them back because they were “not written as if the person had any experience with the company except a quick look at the website.” Since all I had was a quick look at the website, that’s right on the money. The problem is that they want these reviews written as if they written by someone who has used, and loved, their services. I haven’t.
It honestly never occurred to me that the reviews on some sites could just be fictional creations paid for by the site itself. I guess I’m just naïve. It just seems so dishonest. I told the freelance company I have been working with to give them to someone else because of the dishonesty involved in the project. I also let them know I wouldn’t be taking on any more assignments from them. It may sound sanctimonious, but I just don’t want to do that kind of thing. I don’t mind articles or advertising pieces that are clearly promotional, but to pretend to be someone who has experience using the service is different.
People want to know what prior customers think so they can figure out if the company is reliable. If the company pays for the reviews, how is that helpful? I know that in some cases the website may be new and they just want to get the ball rolling, but that’s not the way to do it. It’s also just as likely that the company sucks and is looking to lure in new customers in any way possible. In all fairness, some of the sites I was to review looked awesome and I was disappointed that they were only available in the UK or other places but not here.
I’d like to think that I’ll be able to find real freelance work out there that doesn’t involve this kind of thing. Another problem I had with the job, right from the beginning, was that the sample “review” they sent me was, at best, barely literate. No capital letters and few complete sentences were involved. I couldn’t, on my worst day, write like that. Even if I was actually reviewing a site and writing very casually, I tend to use appropriately capital letters and mostly complete sentences. I don’t write things like “i luv’d this site!” ever. If that’s the way someone wants to write, that’s fine, but I cannot turn in a paid piece with that kind of…garbage. I physically can’t do it.
I’m still hoping the other freelance assignment (with a different company) will pan out. I’m in the re-reading and proofing phase, then I’ll be passing it back to the company for review. I’m hoping they are what they seem to be and this isn’t a waste of my time. Then it’s back to Elance to find more work.
I also really want to get started editing my book. I’d like to find out if it’s worth pursuing trying to publish it or if it’s complete rubbish and I should just start from scratch with a new idea. I do know I need to flesh out some parts quite a bit and make some of the characters more … well, more like people and less like cardboard cutouts. I’m looking forward to working on it.