I found a link to this discussion board that illustrates very starkly both why you should be skeptical of very low-paying ads for writers on Craigslist, and why you shouldn’t write samples specifically for a job unless you know who you’re sending it to: Getting Free Professionally Written Articles.

You’re welcome.

Update: Looks like they figured out people were looking at the discussion, so here’s the how the “sample scam” works:

  1. Scammer posts ads on various Craigslists saying that they are start-up needing content, and offering to pay $10-20 an article.
  2. To apply, they ask you to send a resume (to seem “authentic”) and write a sample article on a given topic. Usually with some specifications.
  3. When they start getting apps with the nicely written articles that just happen to be the right length and perhaps full of keywords too, the “employer” turns around and posts them on whatever content site they’re affiliated with, and collects the money for the pageviews or fees.
  4. And the original writer never sees a dime, nor probably has an idea what happened to the “job” they applied for.

Wow, I sure do wish I, too, could be free of soul, conscience or ethics. Just gotta watch out for the ones who are.