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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Beware the writing scams

It is said that, if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Using the Internet over many years, I have developed a 'nose' for a scam. So, then I went to WriteStreet.com (a site purporting to help writers) and saw that if I signed up for their free email, I would receive over $3,000 worth of writing related material and software for free, my nose definitely started twitching But, I felt the need to investigate - among the main draw cards was a picture of a software box marked "free writing software" and another picture of a software box marked "free mind mapping software". These were evidently some of the top listed items that I could have for free just by signing up.

So, I signed up.

Eventually I was sent an email with a link to a downloads page where I could retrieve my free goodies. Guess what - a scam. Most of the free items consisted or reprints of parts of books or short articles on writing. The material isn't rubbish, but nor is it worth even a teeny fraction of a decimal point of a percent of $3,000. It's all good advice that you can pick up any where on the net for free. Any time. No strings attached. And guess what? I already had both the software titles on offer; yWriter and Freemind. Both of these are free software downloadable at any time you like from the authors websites. Again, good software, but without a monetary value and, as far as I know, never sold in the type of box used in the pictures - you don't get a box either.

What the owner of the WriteStreet site (Mr Trent Steel) wants, is to sign you up to his email letter so that (a) he can get advertisers to place advertisements for writing related products which (b) you might purchase from him and earn him a commission. In short he wants to turn you into a statistic from which he might generate cash flow There are no $3,000 worth of goods. Its a scam. AND this isn't the only site of this sort; WriteStreet is one of a network of affiliated sites that cross reference each other. You might get suckered in through another site entirely, but its all part of the same scam.

What riles me about this is that it preys upon people who want desperately to become writers. Sites like this depend upon a naivete backed by a strong desire; they seem to offer help, but their interest is in their own pockets, not in the wannabe writer's success. Everything you need, to learn how to become a good writer, is out there on the Internet; free with no strings attached.

No one needs to get suckered by these con artists. Stay well clear.

It will be interesting to see whether the "Unsubscribe" link works. I'll let you know.

Posted by fordy at 8:05 PM
Categories: About writing