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PLEASE NOTE: The information in this blog post is dated, particularly that relating to the wages paid to copywriters.
You may already be aware of the Copify.com debate - if not then it's been summed up at Unmemorable Title.
Copify is a Lancaster-based firm which advertises itself as a way to "source content quickly, easily and cost-effectively". It is a platform via which businesses seeking content (both online and offline) can find copywriters and vice versa, to write press releases, articles, website content, anything.
The crux of the debate is the rates the site pays its copywriters - for a 'standard' copywriter 0.02p per word, for a 'professional' 0.04p per word and for a 'premium' copywriter 0.08p per word (Ed: rates no longer accurate). Many copywriters took exception to such low fees via Twitter and other Social Media sites over the weekend, as well as the fact that Copify.com suffers from a fatally flawed business model - you shouldn't pay for copy by the word.
Paying by the word can only lead to sloppy, ill thought-out copy, as writers will rush through jobs in an effort to get paid more money by accepting more tasks. A 'standard' copywriter will earn just £10 for a 500 word document, so you know that document is not going to be of an outstanding quality.
Copify attempts to dodge this issue by saying that if a document isn't approved by the client, the copywriter won't get paid. However, what if the client approves a piece of copy that is just passable; that perhaps doesn't represent their business in the best light or is poorly optimised, and they just don't realise? Is that fair? Absolutely not. The client should be able to have confidence in the quality of the copywriter's work, and if that copywriter is paid on a by-word basis, that confidence disappears. It's just not good customer service.
Another valid argument against the idea of paying for copy by the word echoes a point made at Unmemorable Title: paying by the word encourages verbosity. Copy should be tailored to the client's needs; as a rule it should be short, snappy and aimed squarely at their target audience. However, if you're going to get paid more for being overly verbose... well, I know what I'd do.
A previous employer of mine paid its content writers on a commission basis, and I saw some pretty horrendous work approved and published such as documents that had taken just minutes to write with no mind paid to potential duplicate content issues. Sites like Copify.com are a complete quality lottery - you have no idea what you're going to get for your money.
Good copywriting is worth investing in, particularly from an SEO perspective. Properly optimised and well-written copy has the potential to drastically increase your site's traffic, by displaying properly optimised tags and page text to the search engines, not to mention increased usability, by telling visitors to your site exactly what they need to hear. Copify.com is based on a good idea - a site which allows publishers and clients to directly contact copywriters, but if you ask me, their business model is all wrong.
P.S. Also, Copify claim to possess "vast experience of working in online marketing", yet their website is sadly lacking in meta information… I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.