The world is more text-based than it has ever been. Because of globalization and technologies, language and the way speak to each other is evolving in a different way. Grammatical conventions are changing, and certain languages, like English and Mandarin, have become necessary for doing business across the globe. Our new methods of communication like texting, email, and social media all involve the written word. Worldwide, more people are pursuing online education than ever before, and education rates are rising in general.
With this worldwide glut of words comes a greater need for proofreeding proofreading. If you’ve ever needed a reliable eye to look over a piece of writing, you might have tried to utilize an online proofreading company. There are many of these companies out there, some providing more specialized features like fact checking and readability. The best types of proofreading companies are reliable, honest, and legitimate.
A Rising Tide Carries All Ships, Good and Bad
Along with this rising trend in demand for proofreading comes an unfortunate correlation. Online scammers have begun to take advantage of the demand for proofreading services by building legitimate-seeming websites and creating labyrinthine schemes to take unsuspecting writers’ money. Stressed out, desperate writers with other things on their minds are a ripe population for scamming.
More and more people are reporting falling into long traps that involve proofreading websites conducting odd money transfers and requiring strange payment methods. Other sites aren’t necessarily stealing people’s money; they’re just providing poor service with unreasonable turnaround times. Now, people aren’t as trusting of proofreading services as they should be. A proofreader should be someone who inspires trust in the client. If you need a written copy read and corrected, you should never have to worry that your proofreader might be bilking you out of your money.
When you’re looking for proofreading companies, make sure to verify two things before you accept any agreement.
- Credibility & Trust
You should do a few simple checks into your potential proofreader’s credibility. This is the most important attribute of any contractor, not just a proofreading company. If a company doesn’t look credible, it doesn’t matter what kind of job they might do for you. Here are a few credibility markers to keep in mind:
- Licensing and Registration
Look to make sure your potential proofreading company is licensed to do business in your home country. There are online registries for most countries where licensed companies are required to make their status known. If the company you’re considering isn’t on these lists, it should give you some pause. Either inquire with your point of contact for more information or simply walk away and look for a new proofreader!
Does your potential proofreader have documentation about the safety and confidentiality of your writing? A legitimate proofreading company should have this information readily available. You should know who will have access to your document. You should be made aware of deletion practices. Will the company delete your document as soon as it is delivered? They should have policies concerning the signing of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and should be willing to sign one of yours if you so desire. You should also inquire if their staff members are bound by individual NDAs
- Method of Payment
Many proofreading scams center around questionable payment tactics. Some people have reported hiring a proofreader who then asks for direct deposit bank information and then executes a series of scammy fund transfers. Financial issues are the bottom line for safety. Make sure your potential proofreader accepts a secure payment method, like Paypal or Google Checkout. Never give your banking information to a company online. Secure payment gateways are there for a reason.
You should pay attention to the Quality of your potential proofreading company. This is a little bit harder to determine, because there’s a lot of posturing out there. Remember, a scam doesn’t always have to mean someone stealing your money directly. They can also steal your money by doing legitimate but poor quality work. Check and see their pricing and turnaround times. Sometimes if it looks too good to be true, it is! It should take a good proofreader sixty minutes to proof 1000 words. Use that as a guide to the pricing strategies and turn time.
Use the Power of the Crowd to Protect Yourself
Online customer reviews are the best tool for keeping yourself safe online. You can confirm that the company is legitimate by doing a little sleuthing for reviews posted by previous customers. Reviews that are too short or overwhelmingly positive with little to no detail should all be red flags. If the company has no reviews at all, run! If someone has been scammed, they’ll let you know. Conversely, satisfied customers will make sure to leave good reviews.
At eKomi, we manage reviews for companies like Servicescape, a reputable freelancer company that has provided countless contractor hours to top research universities, Fortune 500 companies, and hardworking writers around the world. By simply searching “servicescape reviews” on your chosen search engine, you’ll be able to find out all you need to know about their quality of work and reliability. Reviews of Servicescape online are 99.65% positive and also provide a little bit deeper insight into individual editors. These editors can also be sorted by their own customer satisfaction. This use of previous client reviews is a powerful way to see whether Servicescape is a legitimate company. You can then use the reviews to find which proofreader is right for your work.
With the use of customer reviews, you should be able to trust your instincts and make a decision you feel good about. Remember, sometimes scams can be easier to sniff out than you think, and all it takes is a simple search. The incredible amount of information out there should be able to help you figure out who will help you and give you honest work for an honest rate.