Strange Happenings in Freelance World

Maybe I’m just paranoid.

But I get the feeling certain people have approached me or hired me simply to buy my silence.

Let me explain…

I’ve written some unflattering things about certain Internet marketing “gurus” and other online business people here on my blog.

I’ve also written about some companies that engage in what I feel is unethical behavior (*cough* Getty Images *cough*).

So I’ve developed a bit of a reputation.

Some people (mainly consumers) may think well of me. Others (mainly online marketers) may think poorly of me.

At least that’s my impression based on feedback I’ve gotten both publicly and privately.

Anyway, I’ve had a few different well-connected marketers reach out to me over the summer about copywriting. At least one small project I hesitantly accepted, and others I’ve either turned down or have never materialized.

But each time I’ve gotten this funny feeling that the primary motive in hiring me was not for my talent or the copy that I’d write, but rather to “throw me a bone” so I would feel constrained to never say anything negative about said client on my blog.

In hindsight, it seems these clients never intended to use my copy… or… never intended to hire me again. The projects were merely cover for an ulterior motive: Keep Ryan quiet.

In at least three specific circumstances over the summer, I felt like the person on the other end of the phone was trying to manipulate me.

Of course, I could be over-thinking these particular interactions.

But my suspicions seem plausible.

Whistle blowers nearly always become magnets for bribes.

It gets a bit trickier when you’re offered bribes disguised as legitimate projects.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

Keith Goodrum - December 14, 2012

Remember what you said to me once: “I don’t believe in coincidences.”

Joseph Ratliff - December 14, 2012

Time to reset your target market Ryan ;)

If you want to quit getting “bribed” that is…

But interesting thought for sure… I wonder if the motive is in fact to provide a basis for “Well, we paid Ryan for his services earlier, so if he’s calling us out… that would be like the pot calling the kettle black.”

    Ryan M. Healy - December 14, 2012

    Well, they’ve never been my target market… but they came to me anyway. :-)

      Joseph Ratliff - December 14, 2012

      Ahh, but that’s my point Ryan… you’re writing about them… so you should expect that :)

      Not that I don’t enjoy reading what you write about them though, LOL.

Jim - December 14, 2012

So…did it work or are you going to spill the names? :-)

    Ryan M. Healy - December 15, 2012

    Good question.

    In the past, I’ve only written about specific individuals when:

    1. I believed there was an egregious breach of ethics that needed to be addressed.

    2. The information about the person was already publicly available on some other website.

    I’ve also critiqued and analyzed specific pieces of copy that have been published on the Internet or in magazines. Because I’m analyzing copy in these posts, I naturally name the author and link to the original source.

    It’s a personal policy of mine to not publicly divulge information I’ve learned from private business relationships.

    Right now I can think of one person who hired me a few years ago who was recently involved in a truly epic scam that has attracted the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Not sure if I’ll make mention of it or not.

Harry - December 25, 2012

From what I read in those two blogs about Getty, you had ZERO effect on Getty or anyone else. Copyright infringement collections against people using photos for commercial usage, without asking or licensing them, is still going on full sped ahead, Ryan.

I would respectfully suggest thinking a little less of yourself and your little blog perhaps.

Just my .02…

    Ryan M. Healy - December 26, 2012

    Harry – I never suggested I had any effect on Getty.

    This post was purposefully vague. The community I work in is fairly small. Everybody knows everybody… or everybody knows OF everybody. So one small voice in a small community makes an impact.

    But, thank you, Harry for your pleasant Christmas-Day wishes that I think less of myself and my little blog. :-)

    Have a happy New Year!

    Joseph Ratliff - December 26, 2012

    Yes Harry, thanks for sharing your wisdom… but respectfully, I might suggest using a spell checker before posting it.

    Just my .02 ;)

    Happy New Year! :)

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