In a comment on an older post, I received a comment from someone who had some disturbing news about Writerlance, a freelance bidding site: Evidently Writerlance owes writers money and isn't paying up. Even worse, the site is down and the owners have gone AWOL.
I've won bids through Writerlance a couple of times, so I know how it works. Clients have the option of paying their writers through the Writerlance system; once paid, the balance updates on the writer's account page. Writers have the option of withdrawing the money from their Writerlance account via PayPal or check.
I haven't bid on Writerlance much in the last year and a half or so, because the site has become home to ridiculously low-budget projects — and even more ridiculously, writers who will compete to see how low they can get their bids in order to write for these jerkoffs. I rarely even check the site anymore, so imagine my surprise when a reader told me Writerlance has gone AWOL, still owing writers money!
I did a little research, and so far all I can find is this Writerlance complaint. Evidently the writer was paid about $675 to her/his Writerlance account, and when s/he tried to get Writerlance to issue a check, all s/he got was the runaround. Finally, the writer threatened to contact the BBB, and her/his account was subsequently deleted from the system.
The same person appears to have posted his or her complain all over the Internet, so I'm not sure if there are really others who have had the same problem. I did find this complaint, but it may be just a less detailed version of the original complaint.
Note: If you know of other (different) Writerlance complaints, please leave links in the comments to this post.
Of course, the fact that the site is suddenly down is highly suspicious. The Writerlance WHOIS information indicates that they still own the site until January of 2009, so that isn't the problem. Unfortunately, Writerlance uses private registration, so there's no way to get direct contact information for them via WHOIS.
I sent an email to all of the Writerlance addresses I have to ask when the site was expected to be back up, but I haven't heard anything back yet. I'll post again if I hear anything further from or about Writerlance.