Today I read about a new Craigslist AC scam on the wahm.com forum and as many experienced freelance writers know, there are a lot of scams to watch out for. People lure you into applying for a gig when in reality they really want you to opt in to their email marketing list so they can sell you something. Or, people want you to write samples so they can spin the articles with their software and make them 'look' unique so they don't have to pay you a dime.
The most recent one involves sending samples to potential clients who aren't just looking for free content for their sites like some of us are accustomed to, but scammers who've figured out that they, too, can get paid to write so they sell the samples they receive to companies that pay upfront fees.
Writing on spec can be lucrative in certain markets such as freelancing for magazines but when it comes to writing for the web, it's best to follow the following guidelines when someone asks you for samples:
-Point potential clients to your online portfolio (if you don't have one, start writing for an article directory and build some samples that way or start your own website or blog where you can post samples.)
-Point them to links online of articles written in that niche (another reason why it's great to have a niche or two!) online on passive income sites like eHow and Bukisa.
If you need to write a fresh sample and you've taken the time to determine that it is worthwhile and the gig does appear to be legit, consider posting it on your own blog. That way, you are making it clear that it's posted online with your name on it. If the client wants to buy it, you can have it removed before it necessarily gets indexed and cached online.
*Craigslist is a free online classified site that relies on its users to flag inappropriate content so be careful when responding to any ad.
**AC is Associated Content which is an online article site that will pay writers for articles. US writer can get an up front fee plus revenue sharing. Non-U.S writers can write for their cost-per-impression program that pays pennies per X # of views.