Freelance Round-up: This month in writing

Spelling mistakes ‘cut online sales’

In news that highlights the need for good writers and editors, an online entrepreneur this month claimed that poor spelling is costing online companies millions in lost revenue.

Charles Duncombe, director of the Just Say Please group, the company behind websites such as tightsplease and lingerieplease, told the BBC that it is possible to identify the specific impact of a spelling mistake on sales.

He explains how he measured the revenue per visitor to the website and found that the revenue was twice as high after a spelling error had been corrected.

Duncombe said: “If you project this across the whole of internet retail, then millions of pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes.” and are now crowdsourcing editors by promising to donate money to charity for every typo that visitors report finding on their site.

Student journalist develops interview recording app

A US journalism student has developed an iPad app for recording interviews which has been so successful that he was able to pay off his student loans and move into a West Village apartment

The $5.99 SoundNote app took just a week to build. It tracks what you type and draw while recording audio. When you play back your recording, just tap a word or image and SoundNote will jump directly to that point in the audio.

David Estees told Poynter that he came up with the idea by thinking about his own needs and what would make his journalism work easier. He says the app is now popular with lawyers and journalists, as well as being been used in some more innovative ways.

Writing for free is a “grey area”

A freelancer writing for the new UK edition of the Huffington Post has defended writing for free.

In her post, Kat Brown, who writes for publications such as the Times, Empire and Domestic Sluttery, argues that Writing For Free Doesn't Have To Mean Betrayal. She says she’s had a significant amount of criticism about writing for free for the Huffington Post, but says “writing for free is a grey area”.

On the question of why she writes for free, Brown says: “It's pressure off, it's the opportunity to practise something you enjoy and share it with people immediately. My pitching skills are sufficiently atrocious that, if I were only to write for money outside my main job, I would probably forget how to hold a pencil within a year. I don't want that, because I love writing and I need to do it.”

The whole post is worth a read, as are the comments, if you’re interested in the well-worn debate which still never fails to stir up strong opinion on both sides.

Here’s an explanation from the Huffington Post too on why they don’t pay bloggers...

The real freelance minimum wage

Newsweek recently carried out an experiment through Mechanical Turk, a freelance marketplace operated by, to find out the real rates people are willing to work for. The results are not pretty.


20th July 2011

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