Paying To Work – Are You Insane?

Work is something that you get paid to do, not something that you pay to do.

I was reading one of these listicles, I think it was on businessweek. with the title of "10 best sites for flexible work-from-home jobs!" or some such nonsense.  The whole thing smelled pretty bad, and I checked out the first site they listed, which was called ****jobs.  (I don't want to even inadvertently promote their site)

Unlike other types of sites such as or LinkedIn (which I guess are the same thing now), they ask for a subscription fee up front in order to search for jobs postings on that site. In a way, this is sort of like how Angie's List used to work.  Probably the same people running both, eh?

The problem is, in order to find out whether the job postings are worthwhile, you have to pay several dollars a month just to find out. After you've paid, they have your credit card number on file.  You may find out the job listings are pretty lame, or in fact maybe bogus. You don't have any way of telling whether they're making up fake job postings or not.

Actually, a lot of paid subscription sites do this sort of thing.  Act shocked.  For example sexual hookup sites such as Grindr and Tinder often have fake profiles on them. You log on to the site and find some hottie who lives 3000 miles away is giving you a nod or a wink or sending you a message. If you respond to these messages, you never hear back from them because they're just a bot with a deepfake photo set up to keep you thinking that maybe you'll find somebody on one of these sites.

The secret to making money on the internet is engagement. Engagement means getting people log on to a site consistently and stay on for as long as possible. The longer (and more often) they are on the site, the more likely they are to see one of your sidebar ads, or pop-up ads, or banner ads, or pop-under ads, or just plain ads. Moreover, you get paid more if your users have higher engagement rates.

So, for example, if you have a dating site and somebody who subscribes to the site is not a very attractive person, either physically or emotionally, they may become discouraged when they don't hook up with anybody (which is highly likely). But if you keep leading them on with these prods and winks and whatnot, they may continue coming back to the site hoping they may get lucky. It is classic Skinner Box Theory, which is what casinos use. When the reward is more intermittent, people become more and more obsessed and put more money into the slot machine - or the rats push the lever in the Skinner Boxfor a food pellet.

But if you never give any food pellets, they give up and go away.  So you have to let the chumps "win" at slots every great once in a while.  And on online sites, you have to interact with them and dangle out the promise of a payoff, or they walk away.

So this is why I am suspicious of a site that wants you to pay to see job listings - because it would be all-too-easy to fake up a job posting and then have a bot "accept" a job application and then say, "sorry, but you're not quite what we're looking for!" or "that job was taken, don't delay next time!" or whatever.

In my life, I never had to pay anybody for the privilege of working. Just the opposite, people came to me and paid me in order to do a job. Thus, I think it's somewhat suspicious that these sites ask for a subscription fee in order to show you listings of job opportunities. If these companies were so desperate to hire people, they would certainly go through more straightforward means, which didn't require the applicants pay money.  Companies usually are the ones to pay to post job listings, not applicants to read them.

What made me very suspicious about the entire thing was it when I try to search for the businessweek article, I got page after page of hits about the ****jobs company. And of course there was a series of Google questions and answers about whether the company was legitimate or not, and of course all the answers were provided by ****jobs, saying it was 100% for sure the real thing, Honest Injun.

Mark says that's racist.  Oh, well.  Racist to say that Indians are honest?  I guess so.  They can lie like anyone else - does that make things OK now?  I digress.

The problem with any of these subscription services is they want you to sign up to automatically debit your credit card in an "auto-renew" default.  When they auto-renew and you don't remember to tell them to not do this, they'll keeping charging your credit card forever. They count on a certain number of people not noticing these small charges, if they don't balance their credit cards every month (or daily, as I do) or they view a small charge of $6.95 a month or so as not worth hassling about.

And of course, as we saw with AOL, if they start losing money they might decide to keep charging customers even after they try to quit the site.  By making it impossible to quit or very difficult to do so, you can keep charging people for a long time. Oftentimes this means they require you to call a phone number in order to quit the site, and the phone never gets answered or you are put on hold for an hour or more.  Oftentimes, cancelling your credit card is the only way to avoid these charges.

Just like with Angie's List, you're buying a pig in a poke. They're asking you to pay money upfront to see their listings of jobs. We have no way of knowing whether these listings for any good or even if they're real. Classic sealed box auction, with the auctioneer auctioning off boxes of goods without telling you what's inside them. Could be a pot of gold or bag of horseshit. Are you willing to pay money to find out?  And of course, they planted a few shills in the audience who bid $5 on a box that turns out to be filled with silver antiques.  You bid on the next one, and it is filled with old newspaper.

In a way, this is more of an industrialized e-version of the work-from-home scam, which you see on Craigslist all the time, or on a cardboard sign on a utility pole. They put up an ad claiming you can work from home and make lots of money, but of course you have to pay for the starter kit first.

Anytime anyone asks you for money in order to do a job, you should be very suspicious. Other scams include the interview fee scam where they ask you to forward money for a plane ticket or other accommodation, so you can attend a job interview. You send the money and then you never hear from them again. Legitimate companies don't require their applicants to pay for transportation to a job interview, or if they do, they leave it up to the applicant to arrange their own travel.

These scams are particularly odious, as they prey upon the good nature and desperation of the applicants.  The applicant wants to work, and wants a job, and they take this good nature and milk it.  The applicant, after having been scammed, is left bitter an angry and ready to vote for the first person who suggests that maybe the government should just hand out free money instead.

Just say no to ****jobs and the like, as well as financial journal sites that write listicles about these things.

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