Is there a forum for copywriters

Online platform operator about text work: "The market is broken"

Many copywriters earn no more than Hartz IV online. A conversation with entrepreneur Arne-Christian Sigge about new business models.

Money for typing? Re: publica visitors with individually designed laptop Photo: dpa

taz: Mr. Sigge, 6,500 self-employed home workers are active on your company's platform. You provide them with jobs and assignments on the Internet. Is that the future of work in the digital age?

Arne-Christian Sigge: Business models like ours are becoming more and more common, because the economy offers completely new activities that did not exist in the past. As a result, many people who would otherwise no longer have a chance are able to continue to participate in the labor market. People who cannot be present for 40 hours in a workshop or in an office because they are caring for relatives, suffering from an illness or doing other jobs.

content.de is a platform. For example, companies that need texts for their websites publish the orders for them with you. The independent copywriters can then access it from home. Will millions of people work like this later?

It is conceivable. Today there are perhaps a good 100,000 in Germany. Factories and offices will continue to exist because certain types of work require direct cooperation. In addition, however, new industries are growing that the digital economy is creating. Due to the growth of the Internet, the demand for the creation of texts, graphics and photos as well as for data maintenance work has increased enormously. Such activities can be easily distributed across platforms like ours.

Internet companies like Facebook like to say they are "disruptive". They claim to destroy the business world we know and to replace it with something new. Is that your approach too?

A company used to hire an advertising agency, which then did everything that had to do with public relations - and was often overwhelmed by it. This is a business model that we are breaking up and adding to. Our clients have access to 6,500 potential employees. Here you will find specialists for every topic. The service is therefore provided much more efficiently and faster. If an internet retailer orders 2,000 small texts from us with product descriptions of summer shoes for his online shop, they will be ready in three weeks. In the past, this would have taken half a year or would not have been possible at all.

is one of the three board members of content.de AG in Herford. The business economist co-founded the company in 2010. content.de works as a crowdworking marketplace. 6,500 self-employed are active on the platform. The company has 17 permanent employees.

There is a calculation method on your website that can be used to determine your payment. If you write 500 words for eight hours, you get around 2,000 euros gross per month. 500 words are a lot of text, about one A4 page. It is hardly possible to keep up this number of strokes. High performance, poor wages.

This is the standard payment on our open marketplace, in which all registered copywriters can participate. However, many authors achieve higher prices by negotiating directly with the client. Those who work full-time receive fees that are quite easy to live on. If you pick out the efficient jobs, you can easily get over 2,000 euros per month.

Many of your less powerful full-time authors are likely to end up at 1,300 euros gross. They use this to pay taxes and social security, which is what they earn in the Hartz IV area.

You make a mistake in thinking. Most people work for us on a sideline basis. You don't want a full-time job. Their aim is to generate additional income of a few hundred euros per month. This is the result of a survey among our authors. And then there are those who work for various clients, freelance copywriters who find their main occupation elsewhere.

“Don't be afraid of experiments - a plea for an agile labor policy” is the title of a workshop on Tuesday at the Berlin internet fair re: publica with State Secretary Thorben Albrecht from the Federal Ministry of Labor. In the coming decades, digitization will make numerous jobs superfluous, create many new ones, but above all change a great many. Social security lags behind technical progress.

The low earnings are not only due to the fact that people voluntarily want to earn so little.

No, in principle I also believe that the remuneration that companies pay should be higher. My father was a business journalist, we could live well on his salary. But today the market is broken. Some companies offer a penny per word as a fee - and find copywriters to do the job. That is shocking.

There is now a statutory minimum wage for employees. Would that also be a good idea for the self-employed who work for you?

How do you want to measure the time spent working from home? You can't monitor people one hundred percent - and neither do we. The idea sounds good, but it cannot be implemented.

Will the fees increase in the future?

Yes, because the requirements are increasing. We are seeing increasing sales per text. The reason: more demanding items are being commissioned. Customers want to ensure that readers stay longer on their Internet pages. This tendency is in our favor. We want people to earn more.

Compared to many other crowdworking platforms, your employees are still doing quite well. You pay into the artist's social security fund. Why are you doing that?

Because the law requires it. Companies have to pay social security contributions for journalistic activities in the broader sense. Other platforms are not subject to this obligation because they provide other types of jobs.