Article spinning is the manipulation of the text of one or more existing articles, citing the original sources through references and/or links, in order to create a new article. The main reason for employing writers on such a project, as far as I can see, is that its cheap. It doesn't involve original work or thought particularly, and that means you can pay the writer less for their contribution.
However, for the writer, article spinning can be (though not always) a major hassle, for the simple reason that you have to juggle the text around from your primary source article and combine it with text from other articles, rewriting it in your own words as far as possible, so that you don't get sued for plagiarism (embedding links to the original articles in the text also guards against this).
With some source articles, this process is relatively straightforward. However, other source articles are written in such a way - possibly to make article spinning difficult, alongside other reasons - as to make this a major hassle, because when you juggle the various bits around, you change the meaning as you do so and threaten to make it nonsensical. In other words its a game of "what text to place where". If you spend too long doing this, which is invariably the case with these more complex articles, you essentially transform your payment from your client from just about acceptable to peanuts. I personally get really angry about this, but there have been times when quite simply I've needed the work because I haven't managed to find anything else at the time.
And that emphasises the point really. Article spinning should ideally be work of "last resort", second only to writing for free in its ability to seriously hack you off.
And also bear in mind that if you get it wrong, not only is there the risk of Google throwing up a "similar text" error or whatever they call it, but you could also be sued. And in such cases its the writer that gets sued, not the publication.
Why is this even legal? For the same reason that unpaid writing (the freelancers version of unpaid internships) is legal - our society is based partly on governments not only allowing people to use cheap labour but actively encouraging them to do it.
It stinks basically.
- Robin Whitlock
- Weston Super Mare, Somerset, United Kingdom
- Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Robin Whitlock. I am a freelance journalist with a special interest in environmental issues and renewable energy. I have numerous published articles to my credit and write regularly for a number of renewable energy websites. I am also a writer for Renewable Energy Magazine and a sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus. I am currently based in Bristol, UK. Besides renewable energy and green issues I have a wide variety of other interests which includes World War 2, mythology and folklore, gardening, railways and lots more besides. You can also reach me on either of my two email addresses, which are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Thanks!
Hire Me!! - Freelance Journalist specializing in environmental issues and renewable energy
Writer for Renewable Energy Magazine
Sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus
Contributor to Holmes Digital Media websites (Solar Guide, Renewables Guide, Boiler Guide, Builder Guide)
Contributor to Cleversolar blog and Find Energy Savings
Published in numerous national magazines
See below for writing samples