Well here’s an amazing opportunity that doesn’t come up every day!

Dear To Whom It May Concern, Who I Assume Is Hannah Judd of hannahjudd.com

Regarding your amazing TradeMe advertisement: I am applying for the position of Travel & Tourism Article Writing at – well, you don’t actually say what the company is. Your advertisement mentions a “boutique marketing company.” Cool! I worked for a boutique marketing company when I was employed sending out emails on behalf of the Prince of Nigeria. You don’t get much more boutique than that. So I’m sure I’ll be familiar with the work environment.

Right. Your article begins with the question: “Want to get paid for writing about awesome travel destinations and adventure tourism?” At the risk of being overenthusiastic: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DO WANT THAT I WANT IT SO MUCH. Now to read more of your advertisement.

“We’re looking for someone to write weekly articles describing some of the amazing tourist activities and locations within New Zealand, Australia and the USA…” Alright, brilliant, with you so far, where do I sign, now to continue reading… “You don’t need to have personally visited the locations or even have taken part in the activities.”

YES. This is the opportunity I’ve been after my entire life. I’m happy to report that I hate actual traveling, but I love Imagination Traveling. I have a super-active imagination. As I write this, I am imagining myself bouncing from a bungee in Queenstown, losing grip of my laptop on which I am writing while I bungee, watching it plummet towards the turbulent waters, SPLASH…

Damn. Lost a perfectly good Imagination Laptop. That’ll set me back like $1500 Imagination Dollars! Okay so that was slightly crappy Imagination Journalism but I’m sure I’ll do better next time. You say you want 10 articles a week minimum? Sure, I’ve got nothing better to do with my time. You want them to be 500 words a pop? You want to increase to 20 articles a week over time? Sure, that will only require about 80 hours a week of incredibly hard work. A bargain at that price! Wait, what is the remuneration? I’m sure it’s generous! Allow me to skim-read the rest of your ad. Hmm… primary skills Blogs and Journalism… yep, got that, I’m blogging right now, and I write for newspapers and magazines… ah, here’s the moneyshot!

“Our rate is $15 per 500+ word article, which we would like to see you spend about 30 minutes to research the topic and then 30 minutes to put your copy together and submit to us. Initially we need 10 articles a week, every week, this will very quickly grow to 20-30.”

Wait. 3 cents a word? OH MY GOD! I’ll be able to buy at least four packets of instant noodles a week on that kind of money! Now admittedly this is about 30 percent of the lowest freelance rate paid by the lowest-paying newspapers in New Zealand according to this handy EPMU survey, but I won’t let that stop me. Nor will I worry about the fact that the idea of allowing only one hour to research and write a 500 word non-plagiarised article makes me laugh and laugh and laugh until I snort my precious instant noodles out my nose. No. I am keen. Sign me up right now. I’ll Imagination Journalism so damn hard that it will be like I was really there and being paid actual money for it.

Postscript: I had a quick squiz at hannahjudd.com and hot diggity damn but that is a legit website! Four lines of HTML text? That’s some serious postmodern minimalism right there. Oh, look – you’re the “owner of the New Zealand candidate blacklist report used by thousands of NZ agencies?” I have no idea what that is, but it sounds serious. I’m sure it’s every bit as legitimate as your website and job offer. The fate of God knows how many New Zealand jobseekers in your hands? More power to you!

8 Responses to Well here’s an amazing opportunity that doesn’t come up every day!

  1. JJW says:

    Stop stealing the jobs of hard working real New Zealanders, Josh.

  2. Paul says:

    Sounds like straight out of the script of Gulliver’s Travels (the Jack Black version)

  3. Elle Bee says:


    This Hannah chick must take the best kind of crack if she thinks that’s legit.

  4. Lucy says:

    These kind of ads piss me off so much. You want top-quality work, lady? THEN PAY SOMEONE PROPERLY. At these rates, she’ll be lucky to get a uni student who dashes off some empurpled prose about the Grand Canyon at 3am, beer in hand. Or a stay-at-home mum who hacks away in between nappy changes and feeds.

    The sad thing is, this is completely normal in the freelance writing world. It shows a complete lack of respect for the craft (as elitist and wanky as I know that sounds), and feeds the impression that typing is the same as writing.

    I’m used to seeing that kind of shit on elance (one reason why I looked at it a couple of times when I started out then fled) because it’s pretty much aimed at people in developing countries who can actually live on that kind of money, but it disheartens and saddens me to see it on Trade Me.

  5. Elle Bee says:

    My cover letter when applying (actually):


    I am a writer very interested in applying for this position – with one requirement: that you pull your head in.

    To even consider the possibility that you’ll get genuine, well-written articles for the sum of $15 per 500 word article shows the complete lack of respect you have for writers and their skills.

    Essentially, you are asking people to write 5000 well-researched words a week (for $150 per week, which wouldn’t even cover my rent), moving up to 15,000 words per week (for $450 a week, which isn’t even minimum wage). That’s the length of a graduate dissertation. You must be on crack to think that you’ll get anything written and researched in an hour (for FIFTEEN DOLLARS) except copy/pasta.

    Quality work takes time. Quality work deserves real compensation. People like you are the definition of the low-wage problem. Writers are not trained monkeys. They are talented people doing a job you’re not able to do yourself.

    Sort it out, already. Pay a real wage. Ten articles a week is a 40 hour-per-week job at the minimum. You should be paying at least four times this much (and even then you’ll look pretty cheap, but you couldn’t be more of a joke than you currently are – see Twitter for details).

    I’ve even spotted a few punctuation and grammatical errors in your ad. I hope it annoys you when you try to find them.

  6. Donna A says:

    Touche, Brotha!

    That is just PERFECT, Joshua. I love this – Reminds me of all the “Draw This!” ads in comic books where if it comes out looking like Rin Tin Tin, you’ll make zillions.. LOL

  7. Bev Robitai says:

    Love your work, Josh! I just discovered you while I was Googling the name Joshua Drummond to see if I could use it for a character in my next book. Guess I’d better find another name as you seem to be making excellent use of yours. Really enjoyed reading your posts. :)

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