Sorry there haven't been any new posts from me in a few days but I was in some training (along with my already busy schedule) all week for what looked like a great opportunity.
A rather juicy carrot got dangled and 20/20 hindsight tells me I should've been more careful. A few things happened along the way and I continued to give the benefit of doubt. The benefit of the doubt is now reserved for friends and loved ones alone going forward!
I've spent a big chunk of the last few days examining the offers, examining the original job postings and talking to a few writing friends who were also in the training about what happened and there will likely be more to come once I catch my breath.
I've posted a little warning to other writers and those still going forward with the training in question on a WAHM forum post where, in a nutshell:
-What looked like an established company posted a blogging opportunity for bloggers for pay per post + revenue sharing in blogging and editing positions on a new blogging network
-The deal was open to 20 chosen people for 4 weeks unpaid training and either a blogger offer or an editing offer with paid training after the four weeks
-After the first week I was offered the first editing position and asked to help teach the rest of the classes. Excitedly I waited for the compensation plan part of the offer. I was rather shocked when I found out it wasn't revenue + salary it was a partnership position of 60% commission only. The company would keep 40% for hosting the blog and putting up ads. No guarantees but lots of talk of 6 figure incomes and sweat equity and talk about sipping pina coladas on the beach later on together. Is a commission only or revenue sharing offer ok? Yes, in the case where that is offered up front.
Revenue sharing alone is certainly not what the original e-mails and postings suggested....
In fact, it came out that anyone who didn't decide to become an editor could choose to go on a reserved list of writers who might be employed in future by editors for posting but the editors would pay for the posting, not the blogging company.
-After re-examining everything said and posted on the original forum, the training forum and in e-mails, I now believe I was pitched in a way that a classic MLM scheme might have been done. Well, at least I didn't buy a $200 kit of soap and I wasn't asked to refer 20 family members.
I don't see the value and what I do see is deceit. Maybe they'll do well and maybe their editors will get wealthy but there are no guarantees and at this time, all my non-paid efforts are going to go to either my own websites where I can continue on my own at 100% commission or to an area to help me as a writer for getting more gigs. I was signing up for salary + revenue sharing, not pies in the sky.
Some of the other red flags were:
-All 20 writers were told they could be editors
-The process was done informally and no contract or written agreement was offered prior to the training.
-The company didn't answer a e-mail with key questions just before the first week of training. I should've halted then instead of carrying on figuring my questions would get answered later.
-Many of my questions were not really answered. Double talking and skirting seemed to be happening and talk got more pitchy and MLM'ish as time went on.
-My last e-mail before quitting the training didn't get answered. Instead the owner put a clarification on the forum. Lack of addressing me directly after blowing that much smoke was a strong case of poor form.
I am always careful about scams. I don't think the company in question was trying to exactly scam anyone but they certainly were not forthright and I'm rather perturbed about the time I wasted. I am guessing they are from the typical school of hard sell sales pitching. They said they were intentionally vague to protect their business plan but the way it was done was not vague, in my mind, it was intentionally misleading writers into thinking there were guarantees when really, I think they wanted to psych everyone up and then drop the bad news after you were already convinced it was a great company and great opportunity. This way you'd take a chance and not want to miss out on 6 figure blogging incomes and beach side drinks with the other wealthy people.
I am sure I'll gain some knowledge from this whole experience because life and scams always teach you a valuable lesson and I will chalk it up to experience but must admit I am still seething a little from it.