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About.com: bowling, mountain biking, rodeo, scuba diving. . .

Discussion in 'Freelance/stringer help wanted' started by andyouare?, May 7, 2009.

  1. andyouare?

    andyouare? Guest

    This is an established site. Although, the "sports" they list aren't the usual fare. Still. . .


    Company: About.com
    Position: About.com Seeks Sports Journalists
    Location: New York, Telecommute
    Job Status: Freelance
    Salary: Commission/Contract
    Ad Expires: June 11, 2009
    Job ID: 625412
    Website: http://www.about.com

    Are you an experienced sports writer? Do you want to help others learn more about an activity they love?

    About.com, a subsidiary of the New York Times Company, is currently expanding its sports channel and is seeking writers to cover a number of topics, including bowling, mountain biking, rodeo, scuba diving, table tennis / ping-pong, and waterskiing / wakeboarding.

    Writers should provide a friendly, yet informative, voice that provides easy to follow articles, tutorials, and reviews for users either interested in learning a new sport or who want to expand their understanding of a sport they're already involved in.

    To become a Guide (our name for our writers), you’ll need to be a journalist with published writing experience in the sports area. As a Sports Guide, you would create original content that covers topics like how to get started in the sport, tutorials on techniques, how to find a good coach/instructor, and equipment reviews. You’ll also be responsible for a blog that showcases your unique writing style, a discussion forum where you act as community leader, and a bio page that highlights your professional and personal expertise.

    All About.com Guides are considered freelancers who set their own schedules, giving them the flexibility to log on from anywhere in the world to work at their own pace. There are no timesheets to fill out, so working for About.com gives you the flexibility to write when you want, allowing you to work around a full-time day job. Compensation is based on page views; the more traffic you get, the more money you’ll make. All Guides in their first two years make a minimum of $675 a month, and the average Guide makes $1,000 a month.

    Want to know more? Visit http://beaguide.about.com to learn more about About.com, see a full list of available topics, and to submit an application.
  2. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Don't get me started on About.com. Their training process is ridiculously tedious. They offer little help and don't pay you. It's like hours of setting up keywords for search engine optimization.
  3. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    Yeah the previous poster is right. Don't fall for this crap it's bordering on "scam." Somewhat similar to Examiner.com. Don't waste your time.
  4. platini

    platini New Member

    Thanks for the heads-up. Seems to be a lot of these types of scams nowadays.
  5. jackmac

    jackmac Member

    I recently went through the process for one of their specific sports sites and became a so-called finalist.

    There's not a lot of direction other than vague specifications about you being an "expert" on a particular subject. And there is a fair amount of unpaid work you have have to do to prove yourself worthy.

    If you have time to work for free and make it through their gauntlet, this might be a worthwhile gig. But I wasted two weeks that could have been better spent seeking paying work.
  6. Roscablo

    Roscablo Member

    I have experience, good and bad, with About.com. I wouldn't go so far as say it's a scam since it is a well established company more than a decade old and owned by the NYT, and if you get hired you do make at least $675 a month. But the training process is tedious, without pay and little other info regarding where you stand or if you are even competing against someone else. Also, don't be fooled by some of their claims that you only have to publish a few pieces a month, can do it on your own time, with little editor interference, etc. They expect you to work as much as possible and publish as much content as possible. Editors are also getting more involved to make sure you are busting your butt. This makes the total compensation a little less appealing. It is different than Examiner in that they guarantee some pay and have a tougher hiring process, but both are of similar publishing models and virtually content mills. Still, if you have the time and desire to put forth that effort, it does have the potential to pay fairly well.
  7. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I made it through about two weeks of the gauntlet to become a track and field guide before I told them to go fuck themselves. I was spending four or five hours setting up keywords and metafilters. I don't even know what the fuck a metafilter is or was.

    They also wanted to provide an outline of everything I ever wanted to write about. This was on the first day.

    That'd be like the sports editor telling you on your first day of work to tell them everything you wanted to ever cover. Then down the road, if you didn't set your page up for that, you couldn't cover it because it didn't fit the outline.

    On top of the keywords database you had to create you also had to create topics to put the stories under. After every story, (I think you had to do one a week, plus two blog posts (all unpaid)) you had to tag every keyword.
  8. Roscablo

    Roscablo Member

    I also made it through and became a guide. I think some of their processes have changed, but they haven't changed the amount of work they expect of you. I didn't have to tag keywords or do anything like metafilters --agree, what the hell are those? But writing as much as possible with the proper SEO sprinkled in, managing how the page looked, doing newsletters and managing the forum all take up tons of time. Realistically, this is easily a full-time job the way they have it set up.

    I was pressured constantly for an editorial calendar for the year, writing four stories a week and three to five blogs weren't enough and was actually told that my SEO and meta data focused too much on my topic. Hmmm, I wonder why? I also was told to change the focus on my content to something I didn't feel really meshed with the topic at all. See, interference when they really seem to advertise that you do this on mostly on your own. In the end I started to feel that it didn't matter what your site was about, what the focus of content was or how your meta data was set up as long as a buttload of people visited the site.

    I do think if you get into some kind of groove, which we've shown is hard to do, you can have success at it. But I think I ended up making far less than $10 an hour on the site while I was doing it.
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