LogoBee posts for July

30 07 2013

LogoBee blog

I’ve recently rekindled my relationship with Canadian graphic design agency LogoBee – yes, although I am primarily a science writer, I do have a few creative bones in my body too, so I’m really enjoying blogging about logo design again! It’s nice to do something different once in a while!

Here are the links to the posts added to LogoBee in July:





Where did you say you were from?

16 07 2013

My name is Rachel. I’m a reeeeally good writer from India. Honest!

Although I haven’t actually used the site for a long time, I am still signed up to receive Freelancer.com’s project notification emails, which contain a summary of all jobs recently posted in my categories (writing and editing). I don’t often get time to sift through these project alerts (99% of the projects are a load of crap and I have better things to do with my time, quite frankly!) but sometimes, particularly when I am in need of a good laugh to cheer me up, I will have a look at who is posting what, and in particular, who is actually bidding on these ridiculous projects.

In checking out the profiles of my ‘rival’ freelancers, I started to notice a few patterns forming. I should have known really…on a site where pretty much every writing project listed is badly written, under paid, an outright scam or a  complete joke, it appears that some of Freelancer’s 8 million members are not what they seem either…Here are some examples:

Writingpool

‘Writingpool’ is allegedly from London, UK. She has been a member of Freelancer.com for over a year and in that time, to date, has amassed 59 reviews and an impressive reputation score of 4.8. She is a ‘verified’ member in that she has deposited money in her Freelancer account, her email address and phone number are all valid. However…

…I checked out Writingpool’s feedback – most of it is very good, but there are a few less than satisfied customers who seem to share my concerns that this profile is fake:

Writer is incapable of handling the project and have cancelled the project.

Seller claims to be from the UK but is blatantly not. Provided low quality work which I would assume was written with article spinning software, content scraped from wikipedia. Hire at your peril!

Really disappointing. The first batch were clearly just outsourced to other freelancers as the content style was very mixed, the content was terrible, full of very basic grammatical errors and completely unusable. This freelancer provided revised versions, but again the style of content was very varied so clearly these were not produced by the freelancer, but outsourced elsewhere. The content is still of a poor quality, full of poor grammar and not something I can readily use. Not sure who this freelancer actually is, but the quality of work definitely does not match the profile!! Would never use this freelancer again.

Furthermore, the language that Writingpool uses is not consistent with what I would expect from a 20-something Londonite with an MBA – her profile is riddled with grammatical errors that, to me, seem highly indicative of an Asian nationality, for example:

I am writing articles for last 16 years in local UK company and my goal is to provide excellent work to my clients.

Hang on a minute…did you say you’ve been working for 16 years?! Either Writingpool has found the secret to eternal youth (her profile picture suggests she is a young, blonde, white girl who can’t be more than 20-21 years old) or that is not a picture of her! Of course, it may be that Writingpool is based in London, but I have my doubts that she is not who she says she is!

elizabethouse

‘elizabethouse’ has provided Writingpool (above) with no less than 7 glowing reviews, all celebrating her as an excellent writer who delivers high quality articles on deadline (contrary to what some of the more negative reviews have said!). Yet despite Elizabeth Ouse’s very English-sounding name, and her (again) young, pretty, blonde, white girl profile picture, I’m pretty sure that she too is an imposter.

Those tell-tales are here again:

  • a handful of negative reviews expressing displeasure with the quality of Elizabeth’s work, and multiple very positive reviews from a few individuals (fake projects to bump up her ratings?)
  • she addresses herself as ‘Professor Dr Elizabeth’, something that a British person would never say
  • Her spelling and grammar are awful and again, littered with the kind of mistakes that an Asian English-speaker would make

Elizabeth is ‘honest’ about the fact that she is from Pakistan, but that’s probably the only true thing on her profile.

hotline69

Apparently based in London, hotline69 is yet another pretty young white girl (brunette this time, for a change!) who seems to have picked up a decidedly Asian accent in her writing…She has amassed hundreds of reviews and somehow has a rating of 4.7 which isn’t too bad, but if you sort her feedback reviews from low to high rating, you will find that the first 3 pages of reviews are all incomplete project disputes, and the next few pages seem to confirm my suspicion that she’s not British at all. Hotline69 has provided several glowing reviews for elizabethouse (above).

So what’s going on here? I strongly suspect that:

  • The profiles are deliberately written and designed to mislead genuine employers into thinking that these are native English speakers when in fact they all seem to be from Pakistan – the pretty young women in the photos, the Anglicised names,  the boasts of British university educations, etc.
  • The profiles are probably all operated by the same person or small group of people. To give the impression of a good feedback history, these fake profiles are all awarding each other projects – no work or money is changing hands, but they have instead left positive feedback for each other to bump up their ratings.
  • A combination of fake profile information and good feedback scores serves to dupe buyers into thinking that they are safe working with that person. However, when jobs are awarded, they are outsourced to other workers – accounting for the variability in quality that many of the feedback reviews mention. Because of the good feedback, the profile owner(s) can probably get away with selling articles for a few more dollars apiece than they paid for them, thus, given the volume of projects they are being awarded, this seems to be quite a profitable scam!

If I am right, this person or people is/are in direct contravention of at least 3 points in Freelancer’s code of conduct:

  • I will not falsify my own or any other identity and I will provide true and correct information
  • I will not create multiple accounts
  • I will not use the Site to generate false feedback

I’d hazard a guess to say that some of these fake profiles have probably earned a significant income through fake affiliate programme referrals too! I’m stunned that they have been members for so long – I’ve definitely reported these three profiles in the past and yet Freelancer doesn’t seem to have done anything about them.

This practice really bothers me because I pride myself on being honest, open and transparent. When a client asks me to work for them, they expect to pay ME to do the work – they don’t expect me to sub-let and claim that the work was mine. I’m the one with the skills, I’m the one with the reputation, and I’m the one that they want to do the work. If I need to outsource, for example if the client requires a service that I cannot offer myself, I ALWAYS tell the client and check that they are happy before proceeding – it’s just good manners!

Here are a few more profiles I found of freelancers whom I suspect are not quite what they seem. I’ve no doubt there are others!

  • Consultingfirm – Another pretty blonde from ‘London, Pakistan’, according to her profile picture, yet the photo on her Portfolio page is a completely different person…
  • sarasmith – Yet another pretty blonde from ‘London, Pakistan’!
  • Writingspirit – feedback suggests this user is not from the UK as profile says
  • Silverhope – feedback suggests this user is not from the UK as profile says
  • Universalwriter8 – feedback suggests this user is not from the UK as profile says
  • Rachel902 – “i am doing my best for all project..” says brunette “Rachel”. I ran her profile picture through Tin Eye and it turned up 4 results – this picture is apparently of an American college student named Nyla Patterson who entered a beauty contest in 2005. Wonder if she knows she is also a really bad writer living in Mumbai?
  • Contentwriting87 – quick! Someone get Hello! Magazine on the phone! Kristin Stewart is moonlighting as a really bad writer on Freelancer.com!

Please comment below if you have come across any other ‘fake’ freelancers! A member of staff at Freelancer.com now follows this blog and has been looking into some of your complaints – hopefully he will investigate these profiles too!





More Academic Writing Woes!

10 07 2013

There I was, just finishing up for the day, when an email pinged into my inbox.

Subj: Academic Writing work offer

Readers, you know that if there is one thing that REALLY gets me riled, it is academic writing.

This email, from a Mr Russel Awal of Acmmos Consultancy Services Ltd – who proudly informs me that I can check out his British-university-educated credentials online because he has written a book* – OOH A BOOK! – positively blinded me with amazing statistics:

  • They’ve had a 94% success rate! (So six in every hundred students pays for an essay that eventually gets them a fail? Nice one. Really selling it here.)
  • They have 3 office locations totalling a whopping 2100 square feet in area! (So that’s three pretty poky offices then, yeah?)
  • Four full time consultants! Twenty full time writers! OVER THIRTY freelancers! (At least 54 people who are more than happy to help students CHEAT!)

There was more self-congratulatory back-patting, but I wasn’t impressed, so I skipped down the page. What (as if I couldn’t guess) did they actually want me to do?

Well, funnily enough, they didn’t really say. A whole list of their services was included in the email – Assignment, Reports and Essay Writing, “Sample” (emphasis mine!) Dissertation Writing, Plagiarism removal (GRRRR!!!) and proof reading service, etc (sigh) – but for a company that seems to specialise in writing, the email was very poorly written with lots of fluff and waffle. There was a confusing section called ‘Price and Payments’, in which they proudly declared that I could be paid by bank transfer, PayPal – even payment in person! – and yet didn’t tell me what I could earn, but nowhere in the whole email was I actually asked, directly, to work for this company, nor was it clearly explained what they actually wanted me to do. I can guess, of course, but JEEZ! If anything, I hope Mr Awal reads this and has a better crack at his sales copywriting!

Right at the bottom, there’s this disclaimer:

Service provided by ACSResearch.co.uk and its associate companies, serves as model papers for students for guideline to their work as a sample work, these work must not be used for any academic gain.

SERIOUSLY?! AARRGGHH!

I took great pleasure in replying to Mr Awal on how I felt about him and his company (and his appalling spelling and grammar!) and somehow managed to refrain from the use of expletives – thought I’d better retain a modicum of professionalism! I wonder if he will reply?!

Has anyone ever come across Mr Awal, or indeed his company Acmmos Consultancy Services? Has any of my readers ever worked for him, or a similar company? I’d be very interested to know how this issue sits with you – I know, I know, technically these companies aren’t doing anything illegal, but I find them completely morally and ethically wrong. It makes my blood boil!!!

* a book that nobody seems to have read, judging from the lack of reviews, and, reading between the lines, was probably ghost-written





July Update

4 07 2013
Note to self: Keep fingers well away from blender blades!

Ouch

It’s been a little while since I last posted so I thought I’d give you an update as to what I’m currently up to! This post has taken me a little while to type out due to accidentally sticking my finger in a blender the other day – I don’t recommend it!

For the last 3 months I have been working as an acting Knowledge Transfer Manager at the Horticultural Development Company. When a member of staff was whisked off by Defra to be seconded to food security project, I happened to be in the right place, at the right time, at short notice to temporarily fill her shoes!

Having had a mostly biomedical communications background, I really enjoyed this opportunity to explore a side of science that I hadn’t really come across before. One of the highlights of my time at HDC was the chance to visit a couple of farms and hear first hand how HDC-funded research is helping to make a real difference to British growers. It has also opened my eyes to some of the issues faced by growers, and how mean supermarkets are!!

I really enjoyed this secondment cover position and I’m sad that it has come to an end – but, onwards and upwards! I’m now enjoying a *little* bit of breathing space and working on some small freelance projects, including some more work with Fixstation in Australia to project manage the development of a business portfolio brochure, and editing/writing for Blackmore Group in Japan, Calico Marketing and Health Guidance in the US.

I have an exciting new venture on the horizon too…I haven’t signed on the dotted line yet so I can’t say too much about it, but I am really excited to be starting another new chapter in my career at the end of July!








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