Here's the email in full:
I found the post you placed in Internet that said you were looking for a writing job. As it just so happens, we’re badly in need of people with writing skills at the moment.
We’ve got a lot of projects at the moment and are planning more for the future. The main ones are in the areas of gambling, web hosting, Forex, and women’s issues (from pregnancy and birth to fashion and interior design).
The maximum rates are slightly different for each topic, and whether or not we offer them depends on the quality of the work that's submitted. Once you write a couple of test articles (which you will get money for, of course) we can agree on exactly what the price will be. The rates based on the slightly unusual system of pricing per 1000 characters, but each word is approximately 5 characters, so it's pretty easy to do the math, it just takes some getting used to. The prices are:
Gambling - $2.50/1000 characters (approximately $1/100 words)
Hosting - $4/1000 characters (approximately $1.60/100 words)
Forex - $5/1000 characters (approximately $2/100 words)
Women's issues - $3/1000 characters (approximately $1.20/100 words)
We pay out twice a month for all work that passes our system of screening. We have a team of in-house editors who know quite a bit about each of these topics, so we don’t pass articles that are obviously the product of half-reading a single Wikipedia page.
You can earn as much or as little as you want, since our projected volume is pretty high (about 400 articles a week). Additionally, you can build yourself a really solid portfolio in any of these topics, since our standards are quite high. However, if you need any help we’re always ready to give it to you. A lot of our previous writers have gone on to land much higher-paying gigs on the strength of what they wrote for us.
So, if you’re interested in the offer, please e-mail me back. I’m sure we can have a mutually productive and beneficial working arrangement.
Thanks for your time,
Senior Editor, <Company Name Redacted>
I'm not really sure what I make of it. My first instinct was that the rates are an insult - from $10 to $20 per 1,000 words - but actually they're not so far from what I worked for when I first started freelancing.
I guess the alarm bells ring because of the need for proper research - I'm not averse to 'spinning' a Wikipedia page if the budget is tight and there's a decent page about the relevant topic, but I'm less willing to haggle when in-depth research is needed and the copy has to pass quality control before payment is approved.
That's not to say that I don't aim for good-quality copy, just that I tend not to agree to terms that give the client carte blanche to refuse to pay on any perceived problems with what I produce, whether I agree with them or not.
Anyway, if you happen to find this post and you are interested in writing for these people, let me know, and I'm sure I can put you in touch with them.