Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pro's and Con's of Sealed Bids

Alright - I said yesterday that one of the best things about Guru is that the bids are sealed. I don't know whether that's the proper term, but what I mean is that you can't see what other writers are charging for the project.

Why I like that:
  • Especially for new writers, setting prices can be kind of an emotional thing. Many of them have serious doubts about the value of their work. The logic is this - if something comes easy to you, it must not be worth much. So it's often hard for new writers to believe their words are worth more than $2 for a 500 word article. With an open bidding system, it'll take a whole lotta intestinal fortitude to bid 10x more than what other writers are bidding. Better not to see those low bids.
  • Open bidding systems seem to create a kind of undignified atmosphere. It feels like a meat market, with each writer trying to under-bid all the others. "Come on! Choose me!! I'll write your entire autobiography for a buck!"
  • A bidding war tends to devalue the whole profession. Once clients become accustomed to paying peanuts, it's pretty hard for them to stomach paying a living wage. I can always tell the clients who post on Guru who are used to finding really cheap writers - they have this huge long list of requirements and project specs, and say right up front that they're paying $3 per 800 word article. I don't know about you, but that's not exactly my dream client.
The downside of sealed bids:
  • Well, I know you're not supposed to use bullet points if your list only has one item! But the only downside I can see is that it might be helpful to see what other writers are bidding - at least when you're just starting out.
But maybe not! What do you think?

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