Craigslist has a reputation for being a haven for scammy types. The truth is, it’s no less scammy than other job boards. In fact, with its flagging system many of the scams are dealt with in a swift and efficient manner. There’s a problem, though. Because of the same flagging system, a lot of the good opportunities disappear too. In fact, many of the jobs flagged on Craigslist aren’t even scams at all. Some are terrific opportunities but are flagged for a variety of different reasons.
Many of the freelance writers who use this blog network to find work each day express disappointment when they see a gig that’s right up their alley only to click and learn it’s been flagged. Most automatically assume it’s a scam. The truth is, the Craigslist flagging system is flawed. While the intentions are honorable, any old Joe off the street can flag for any variety of reasons and after three clicks the job is out. No one really comes back to check to make sure legitimate opportunities aren’t receiving flags.
Before writing off an employer or a gig as spam or a scam, consider some of these reasons why freelance writing jobs are flagged on Craigslist.
1. They’re Scams
There really are scams and spammers on Craigslist. For example, anyone who tricks you into clicking a residual link for a writing site is a spammer. Anyone who tricks you into thinking you’re applying for a job, when you’re really being directed to a paying site, is a scammer. Writers SHOULD absolutely flag unsavory leads.
2. Someone Else Has Made a Decision for You
Many writers flag jobs they don’t approve of. For example, I know of one writer who flags jobs paying under $50 because she doesn’t feel writers should be paid less than that per article. I know of another writer who flags anything from residual sites because he doesn’t approve of them. These writers are flagging based on their own beliefs and experiences, even if those experiences aren’t the same for everyone.
3. Competition Flagging
Sometimes a writer doesn’t feel confident enough to compete with others for a job and will flag a gig several times over so it will be removed and other freelancers can’t apply. It’s not that it’s a bad gig, it’s that the other writer doesn’t want anyone else to be considered for the job. Confident freelancers shouldn’t be afraid of other writers applying for the same opportunity. If you’re the best fit, you’ll land the gig regardless of the competition.
4. They’re in the Wrong Spot
Sometimes ads are flagged becasue they’re in the wrong place. For example, if an accouting or Virtual Assistant gig is in the writing section many people will flag. Many times non-paying opportunities are flagged because they’re considered volunteer opportunities and should be classified as such.
5. Disgruntled Writers
Sometimes ads are flagged because disgrutled writers want to make it more difficult for their ex-clients and employers to hire other writers. They feel they’re hurting this client by not making the opportunities available to other writers.
Have you ever flagged a freelance writign job listed at Cragislist? If so, why? What are your thoughts on some of these practices?