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Don't Be This Outsourcer
Pre-2014

'Just as you'll hear some outsourcers complaining about lousy service providers, there are plenty of lousy outsourcers too -- ones you shouldn't touch with a barge pole.' That's a quote from an experienced service provider commissioned to contribute his feelings about work relationships gone south. The idea behind providing these quotes is to help you avoid making outsourcing relationships harder than they have to be.

The Guarantee Guy

This outsourcer guarantees a rating of 10 or Excellent. 'Bid for the job, and if I pick you, I, the great demi-god outsourcer will make your life complete by bestowing a '10' on your work.'

This is mint condition crap. It negates the whole value of a rating which is about the quality of work. A rating is all about how well a provider completed a job, met the deadline, polished the final product, communicated with the client, and so on. To announce that the winning bid will receive a rating of 10 before work is started, is wrong.

The Sloppy Joe

This outsourcer writes bid details with spelling mistakes and inexcusable grammar [sic]. Yet, they're the ones who make the point they expect perfect spelling and university endorsed syntax. If the outsourcer can't take the time to correct their own work, why would they expect the provider to do the same?

The Slave Driver

Now we all know about working long hours for appalling wages. But what has that got to do with outsourcing? Well, let's look at the rates of pay from some outsourcers. I stress some.

Say someone wants five 500 word articles, and states that the maximum bid is $15. Every job at vWorker, for example, takes 15% (or $3 -- whichever is the greater). The writer here, will get $12 for 2500 words. That's less than half a cent a word, or, if writing 1200 words an hour, about $6 an hour. Whichever way you look at it, that's slave wages.

The Threatener

This outsourcer warns that they will forensically examine providers' work, and if there is so much as a comma appearing in a book written by a tall, dark stranger on a rainy night in 1923, the lucky bidder will be hung, drawn, and quartered for perpetrating a heinous crime. Of course, there are lazy service providers who will copy and paste content, but pah-leese. This is going too far.

The Mind Changer

These are outsourcers who, after they've assigned a job, change the requirements. Providers will get something like, "How about you write an extra 500 words, but only use references two and three." If outsourcers can't be sure what it is they want, they're far more likely to get into a dispute.

What providers need is an outsourcer who knows exactly what they want, who explains the job in simple and clear terms, who sticks to the terms, and who treats providers with respect.

The Which English-er

Oscar Wilde, who was Irish, once remarked about Britain that "We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language."

Some outsourcers will fuss over which type of English they require. Certainly, there are words which the average American wouldn't use, but through spell checkers, US or UK English is available at the click of a mouse button. There's even Australian and African English. Expecting high standards is fine. Fussing is unnecessary.

The Non-Specific

Some outsourcers will ask providers to bid for a project, and use an expression like, "I want a bunch of text." This type of project has minefield written all over it. The outsourcer must be specific. Like 'a bunch of text,' a vague request is likely to backfire. Smart, quality providers won't bid for a job until they know exactly what's required.

The El Cheapo

There are some outsourcers who reckon all service providers are the same. They believe a project is easy, and thus, anyone can do it. The money paid therefore, should be as low as possible. These outsourcers will even say things like, "I have little money" or 'The lowest bid will win' or 'Keep your bids low.'

Offering low rates of pay is exploitation, pure and simple.

The Unfair Rater

Some outsourcers give a low rating without giving the service provider the chance to improve the work. That's unfair - especially when the work may not be 'correct' because of faulty instructions. At the very least, outsourcers should give providers the opportunity to fix what's wrong.