Google Seeking Indian Content Writers

92 comments

Via Philipp, news comes that Google is looking for content writers from India.

If you have a clear, concise style and can use words to inform and persuade consumers, we would like to hear from you. We are looking for exceptional individuals to join the Google team in India, and we're organising a contest – the Google Wordmasters Challenge – to find and reward India's best writers. The contest will be judged by a panel of respected professional writers.

Is Google advocating using cheap overseas labor? Will these writers craft AdWords advertisements, or what verticals will Google be attacking next?

Comments

wow

Damn I didn't see them competing with BizNicheMedia for talent.

web content writing

Good post about Content writing .Google are vary help to know about content writing .Web Content Writing is vary importent any seo services  .

Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs Ive come across in some time!  Its just incredible how much you can take away from something simply because of how visually beautiful it is.  You’ve put together a great blog space --layout.  This is definitely a must-see blog!

I'm sure they will be

I'm sure they will be absolutely deluged with applicants. I wonder what the overall standard will be like ... the mind boggles.

u never know wht indians are!

I guess you haven't yet identified wht kind of talent indians have. Indians were the best, indians have been the best. It seems like u don't know india& indians very well. Atleast you should have thought, why would company like google would want writers from india only?

I think u r pretty misunderstood.

Xenophobia

>>Is Google advocating using cheap overseas labor

What do you mean by overseas Aaron?

Well where is Google's

Well where is Google's central location / main office / etc.?

Cheap overseas owner

Don't worry, SlyOldDog, Aaron is just a cheap overseas (co)-owner...

That's pretty lame

I always thought of you as very balanced. I don't think I even need to reply to that.

Do you have a point?

SlyOldDog, do you have a point? If so it may help to make it.

Google is 'in' America.
India is overseas.
Labour costs are cheaper in India.
Companies that outsource to India almost always give their customers a worse service.

Americans cannot speak

Americans cannot speak English, I guess that must be the reason :)

I hope Google have better look than me

When searching for quality writers in India.

I'd agree with your first

I'd agree with your first two points Rynert but the last two are debatable

Labour costs are cheaper in India.

Yes the overall labour cost is often cheaper but there isn’t one standard pay packet for everyone. Wages are kept competitive for the better positions. Thing is you’ll never meet the Indian programmers working for Microsoft on Scriptlancer. The important thing to realise is that the lower end is just much cheaper than in the US.

Over here in Russia some programmers are pulling in $2500/month in Moscow – worth thinking about.

Companies that outsource to India almost always give their customers a worse service.

Not necessarily true either. Of course if they choose to pay at the low end they get that level of service. Pay peanuts get monkeys in any country/industry (including the US). The benefit of outsourcing to India or Russia etc. is that you can afford the better guys (or more guys per project etc.).

Saying that though I think wages are pretty low for freelancing in the US. I knock back about 15 US quotes per week here if that is anything to go by. I'm always surprised that US companies/freelancers haven't started hitting the UK market more strongly.

Over here in Russia some

Over here in Russia some programmers are pulling in $2500/month in Moscow – worth thinking about.

Well, that'd go hand in hand with the city being the most expensive (in terms of cost of living) in the world.

If New Delhi or Mumbai were in the same league (the COL index is roughly two thirds), you can bet 'some' (read: good, sought after) programmers would be earning top dollar, regardless of whether the rest of the country was still a source of cheap labour.

>>SlyOldDog, do you have a

>>SlyOldDog, do you have a point? If so it may help to make it.

Google India is an Indian company. They have a right to employ indians if they want to.

Remember Google was started by an American AND a Russian and sells to nearly every courty in the world, including India. In fact, by definition to be profitable abroad, Google takes more from the rest of the world in revenues than it spends there. Why shouldn't india be allowed to participate in Google's prosperity?

If they suffer a quality problem, that's their issue to deal with. Who are we to tell them how to run their business?

SlyOldDog, that is a fair

SlyOldDog, that is a fair point, afterall it does say "We are looking for exceptional individuals to join the Google team in India" - but I guess what Aaron was alluding (assuming?) to was that these people would then be used to produce work for outside of India, so it's kind of outsourcing overseas, by the back door.

Nick, I should have qualified, I was referring to the rush to outsource UK call centres, which are almost always terrible, sometimes they get closed down and the same companies start advertising campaigns which draw attention to their 'British only call centres'.

I was referring to the rush

I was referring to the rush to outsource UK call centres, which are almost always terrible

Yep I'd agree with you there - although some companies seem to have handled it better than others. HSBC do a pretty good job IMO but when it comes to Amazon Support I've had very poor service.

Then again Amazon could improve things 100% by implimenting a system which actually remembered your last support ticket or history. Each time you contact them you have to start from scratch which is complete insanity. /rant

regardless of whether the

regardless of whether the rest of the country was still a source of cheap labour

In my experience if there are high wages in the capital cites then country-wide wages are pulled up to meet that. Basically if you're not competitive to some level, they will migrate to Moscow. That kind of migration is even easier than moving abroad, as they don't have the culture shock or language problem.

You're right though Moscow is very expensive city and wealth here is increasing fairly dramaticaly for the professional sectors of society. News came out today it was set to grow 12% yearly through 2010.

Hmm...

With all the hate outsourcing gets, I think the premise for the hate is suspect: that we get good service from our countrymen in the first place...

I had a local small business

I had a local small business owner literally scream at me when I told her I could outsource her shopping cart and save her money. The thing was she couldn't afford my help if I didn't do that and I told her that politly. She still didn't get it and said she'd rather wait to pay Americans.

weird world we live in

Damn Europe and Asia Outsource to Australia

lol... they cost more than US workers..... have to pay a lot to get them out of the pub!

Indian copywriters - never again!

Had our experience with a few - downright terrible: flakey grammar, shoddy style, clueless in terms of anything but the most generic topics, lots of linguistic regionalisms (as in forgetting about articles, esp. "the", abundant use of expressions like "crore", etc.) - nothing you would want to confront your US, UK, Canadian (and yes: even Aussie, heh!) visitors with unless you're into corporate suicide for some reason. Exceptions possibly abound, but actually pinpointing them is the old haystack in the needle problem.

They'll obviously be ok for the Indian market which is, after all, an entirely different culture. But anywhere else, once you've received their stuff you'll have to cough up about just as much for additional final proof reading and editing by a professional native speaker editor as you would have paid if you'd signed up a decent American or British copy writer in the first place.

In that sense they're not at all "cheap" labor - unless you're willing to compromise on (or if you've got no sense of) quality.

Not all Indian copywriters

Not all Indian copywriters are created equal.

Sigh

I said that exceptions may possibly abound, didn't I?

She still didn't get it and

Quote:
She still didn't get it and said she'd rather wait to pay Americans.

weird world we live in

Why is that wierd?

American workers *often*

American workers *often* have a pretty entitled attitude.

People like her can overpay for nationalistic reasons.

I'm still singing "Best Man For the Job" tune...

>People like her can overpay

>People like her can overpay for nationalistic reasons.

Most likely she's go to the next agency and they will out-source the work without telling her :)

>I'm still singing "Best Man For the Job" tune...

I'm with you Andy. I've seen good and bad work in every country - it's all about picking the right firm or person. These generalisations about 'overseas workers' do get my heckles up a bit. You just need to look around to see that is nonsense.

Cases in point, activeCollab - Illya is from Serbia. You can have a look through the contributors to many well respected Open Source programs like Firefox etc. and you'll soon realise they come from all over the world.

>Why is that wierd?

Well we live in a global economy. I don't refuse to buy a t-shirt because it's made in the US or turn down computer parts because they were made in China. You buy a product if it's meets your expectations for quality and price. It should be the same with web work IMHO.

Why is that wierd?

She still didn't get it and said she'd rather wait to pay Americans.

weird world we live in

Is your implication that 'she' was being racist? In which case, sure, weird world etc.

However, I see nothing wrong with wanting to keep your USD circulating in your own country. I use my local shops to give them support, rather that the large supermarket - same thing.

>I see nothing wrong with

>I see nothing wrong with wanting to keep your USD circulating in your own country

Yes but maybe that is a little short sighted. So what if the site was made in India/Russia, maybe it generates more cash for the owner. They then hire more people and their combined income is spent in US shops? Just one case to think about but there are many more.

I get work here from China, Russia, Norway, UK - all over. I hope you turn down all non-US job requests on principle ;)

Weird?

Well we live in a global economy. I don't refuse to buy a t-shirt because it's made in the US or turn down computer parts because they were made in China. You buy a product if it's meets your expectations for quality and price. It should be the same with web work IMHO.

Outsourcing to other countries just leaves a bad taste in some people's mouths. Especially lately. It's not weird that some people can feel strongly about it.

>Especially lately. It's not

>Especially lately. It's not weird that some people can feel strongly about it.

I agree that some people feel very strongly about this. I see the global economy as an opportunity though rather than a threat. Even only dealing in English, there are many possibilities for people who look for work globally and don't limit themselves to their local area or even country.

and they will out-source the work without telling her

Which happened to us over at eLance: After reviewing the bids, we settled for a Canadian setup for about triple the price the most competitive Indian agencies had quoted, and lo! - suddenly we got stuff from those very same sources all over again. (When you've been into publishing professionally, it's fairly easy to tell individual authors' footprints.) So they tried to do it the easy way as well. In the end, however, they were stuck with a lot more final editing work for their money than they'd obviously reckoned with initially, heh ...

I don't think it is

I don't think it is Xenophobic to worry that there will be enough good paying jobs for all classes of workers within one's own country, both now and in the future. Political stability depends on it.

> I see the global economy

> I see the global economy as an opportunity though rather than a threat

There are 2 types of people in this world--those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't.

My ex-wife loved him...

Neil Diamond

Sure wish they had outsourced that jock, hehe.

I am Indian

Well what can I say being an Indian and running Indian SEO company. We have almost 20 copywriters and the worst I will like to happen is to loose them to Google. It came as a very big advertisment in national dailies here in India.

As an Indian I can say, we don't suck that much :) Also salary in India are not that cheap. What I am paying right now is thrice what I was paying to my employees 3 years back and it keeps on increasing.

Navneet - I don't mean to be

Navneet - I don't mean to be rude but the language you used in your post speaks for itself.

loose them to Google - not!

If you have some really good ones to spare, let me know. Would be a nice change ... :)

Not all cool Google stuff comes out of Mountain View

I've met and worked with Googlers based in nearly a dozen different offices across the world, and I think you'd be surprised to learn how much cool stuff is handled or even developed outside of Mountain View... in engineering, product management, documentation, and beyond.

I've certainly experienced some (not-from-Google) crappy customer service from India, chuckled at ridiculously bad translations out of Japan, and so on. But I've also appreciated companies and products of great quality from these areas... as well rued absolutely abysmal services and support from the U.S.

Time will judge the consistency and quality of the writing out of our India office, but I'm quite optimistic given the awesome Indian Googlers I've already met.

I've lived in a small town

I've lived in a small town that had a call center for a large corporation. It was the employment for many of the town's residents, and that income supported many other shops in town.

The call center went away overseas, and it really hurt the economy. The people who were out of work could no longer support the local shops, who then went out of business, and the economy went into further decline.

So, from that perspective, I completely understand that woman's attitude. And honestly, until you've watched the town you live in die, you probably would see her attitude as weird.

And...it depends on the job you are hiring for..

The thing is, any kind of speaking or written language, there is too much gray.

I spend more time rewriting the British English used in India to ever outsource copy to Inida again, and dealt with enough Indians in call centers to know it is a nightmare to understand them over the phone.

Would I hire programmers from another country such as India or Russia? Sure. It's code, and code is one language and it *has* to be correct for it to work.

>And honestly, until you've

>And honestly, until you've watched the town you live in die, you probably would see her attitude as weird.

But the problem isn't really outsourcing or the outsourced workers being hired. The problems are

  • the unequal wealth distribution associated with capitalism
  • corporations, the corporate structure, and capital generally being amoral in nature
  • media, politicians, and other power sources dividing people into arbitrary groups to (mis)focus attention and/or create controversies they can use to exploit for personal profit

Outsourcing ...

Quote:
The call center went away overseas, and it really hurt the economy

I've worked in enough call centres to know that by outcourcing to india, not only do companies save money on labour, there's also a higher standard of education amongst the employees.

It is tragic, but it's our own fault for allowing the FTC/CRTC (it's happening in Canada too..) to levy hefty fines onto Canadian and US companies.

And I've dealt with just as many useless americans and canadians in call centres as any other ethnicity. The problem is that they're poorly trained, and not given the tools to do their job properly. The call centres don't care, because it's easier to burn the employee out and hire someone new than to develop ongoing training for that many people.

As far as writing goes, I imagine this will just take off the bottom 80% of garbage copywriters over here. Fine by me. If you want great writing, hire an in house writer.

OMG & WTF are they thinking

Here is a sample of the work a friend of mine got from an Indian copy writer from rent a coder. This guy had the highest remarks on there so we thought we'd give him a shot LOL

Gazebos For Classy People,
The classy people have classy ideas of sitting in their parks and gardens. The quality flora, luxury garden furniture, gazebos, and belvederes are the things of delight for a landscaping connoisseur.

A gazebo is the structure that can help to fetch elegance to a park, garden, or a public place. It’s a beautifully shaped pavilion structure commonly found in lawns, parks, gardens, and public areas. It is a freestanding structure that is roofed, but opens on all sides.

There are many types of gazebos such as outdoor gazebo, garden gazebo, hot tub gazebo, spa gazebo, patio gazebo, wedding gazebo, canopy gazebo, outdoor gazebo, screened gazebo, backyard gazebo, etc.

The gazebos are usually set up to provide shade, basic shelter, embellish the parks or gardens. The gazebos not only manifest taste but also the class of their owners.

I've seen similar work from many others over there. Nothing like sad queen's english with keyword stuffing. Google you could do better by looking in the States IMHO.

Singing

Quote:
I'm still singing "Best Man For the Job" tune

Better yet, sing "Best Person For The Job".

I'm late in this thread but

I'm late in this thread but would point out that there is an economy to outsourcing beyond the obvious "bottom line". You can outsource a call center because any extra effort that may be required to understand the person or communicate with them is borne by the customer, not the company. Until there is evidence of customer loss/complaint, the company has succeeding in "externalizing" some expenses out to the customer.

Ditto for certain e-lance style small jobs (especially graphics design). Unless/until there is enough editing to show an additional expense to outsourcing over local staffing, that overseas person's overhead expense has been externalized.

Now does outsourcing the authoring of articles make sense? Not for me, because semantics and local vernacular are so important, as is the twist of language / meaning that is so important these days. Even good native speakers/writers have trouble. Is it ok for Google? How would I know. How would any of you know.

Sad queen's english with keyword stuffing

That just about sums up our own experience, too.

And there's really no point in arguing that you'll get crappy work all over the world - of course you will, but if it's "best man (ok: person) for the job", it's also an issue of LOI. (Yeah, that's "loss on investment" ...)

If you keep getting sub standard work from one location, what's an entrepreneur to do but look elsewhere rather than waste even more tons of time and money on nurturing some warm and fuzzy conceits of political correctness?

And yes, grnidone: coding should be an entirely different matter. It either works or it doesn't, indeed. That's what we believed originally, too.

In actual practice, however, things may prove to be rather more complicated and hairy: E.g. communication issues may arise due to cultural differences ranging from nuancing of language to time zone synching to working morale and conflictung observance of local public holidays.

It may also take you a whole lot longer to accurately describe each required coding step in every detail than it would doing it yourself/in house in the first place. Large and complex projects may demand astronomic travel budgets if you're required to send your project managers (aka enforcers ...) across the globe umpteen times to sort things out and/or ensure your sensitive corporate data is actually safe, etc. etc.

Obviously, this isn't restricted to India or any other specific location alone - similar (and worse) issues may arise locally, too, sure. But as a rule they'll be a whole lot easier and cheaper to set straight if only because you're more familiar with your home base jurisdiction's due diligence requirements, procedural and contract wording caveats, etc.

And being coders ourselves: While we certainly don't and won't make any effort to compete with Indian or Eastern European rates (which would be positively suicidal considering our local costs of living environment), we do get plenty of commissioned jobs from all over the place (mainly Western Europe, the USA, Australia, Canada), not the least from people who've been seriously burnt before after outsourcing to India and Eastern Europe hoping to save a pile of money.

Your mileage may vary, true, and we know plenty of glorious exceptions. But to return to the topic at hand - if clients aren't too language savvy in the first place, chances are they probably won't know the difference. (Even today you'll find major corporate entities offering those ludicrous automatic Babelfish translations on their productive sites, pissing off just about every foreign visitor by insulting their intelligence with this kind of crap.) You can see it in many marketing programs being churned out currently: Both the GUIs and the documentation - not to mention the error messages - are full of involuntarily comic phrasing that can give you the creeps as a buyer if all you want to do is actually use this stuff rather than having to divine what it's supposed to mean.

Of course the IT workforces' respective levels of formal education in India, Eastern Europe, etc. is generally far superior to that of the rest of the world - but that definitely doesn't make working with them a no-brainer decision ...

> Better yet, sing "Best Person For The Job".

Agreed, I only sing the original bc Im a stubborn bastard

Experiences Differ

We been working for US and UK companies from last 7 years and never had an unsatisified client as far as content writing goes. I am aware of bad copywriters however my sample doesn't show a majority of Indians. English is fast evolving but when it comes to sales copy our copywriters know their business and that goes for many others in India.

Hmm

Hmm

Looks to me like they only want people to write ads anyway. You don't need to be Shakespeare for that.

Gridone - sorry your town suffered because of globalisation, but that is the dynamic of capitalism. I think it's up to your government to look out for problems like that and offer retraining into more "high value" skills. Paying too much for a service is not the answer - in the long run it will just make your country poorer.

A little side note here: We're all citizens of the world and anything that brings up the AVERAGE standard of living across all the world's population cannot be a bad thing and can only improve political stability.

Don't need to be Shakespeare - but a copy writer, maybe?

Are saying that writing ads is trivial stuff you can leave to any underskilled, underpaid bozo nurturing the fond (and entirely mistaken) belief that he or she "knows English" anyway because his or her peers aren't much better either? You can't be serious.

Do you really think that gazebo example seomike gave us will pull sales and drive conversions?

>Do you really think that

>Do you really think that gazebo example seomike gave us will pull sales and drive conversions?

It's not great I'll admit that - but could the person have afforded better? It seems a little unfair to be discussing quality without tying it to price.

If that was their budget then they got what they could. I presume giving the same job to a professional US copywriter would have been much more expensive.

Does it help them? Maybe they should have paid for 5 US written articles than 150 Indian ones? Personally I wouldn't use that for my sales copy but we're usually talking mass article generation here. Looking through the budgets on rentacoder or scriptlance I can quite easily believe Navneet meets his client's expections for quantity, quality and cost.

A dollar lost ...

If it doesn't pull what it's supposed to, it's always too expensive, no matter how microscopic the price tag in absolute terms, even if they only paid a dime per article (which they probably didn't).

Costs don't end there, after all: you've got to process the stuff, upload + host it, monitor results, etc. - very often, that overhead is conveniently ignored by myopic price trashers.

But maybe we're discussing an entirely different issue here, namely that of people conning themselves that "second best is still 'best'". Because it plain isn't. Just because they feel that everyone's trying to catch the boat and hence, so should they, doesn't mean it's unsinkable, heh.

The late Hungarian investment guru André Kostolany used to quote an uncle of his who always insisted on only buying suits and shoes made to measure that would last a lifetime, saying: "I'm not rich enough to afford cheap stuff." Worth a thought ...

Plus - while there may be a lot of entirely overblown, self-serving mystique being flaunted re the "Art of Marketing", ad writing is a craft in its own right. People who don't take it seriously are actually denigrating the very rationale of their own promotional efforts and would probably be better off not to go for it in the first place, IMV.

And if cash flow or liquidity is a problem, better to settle that issue first before having to throwing good money after bad further down the road.

hmm

>> I said that exceptions may possibly abound
Or the other way around. Look in the right places and you'll get only quality writers (with the BAD ones being the exception).

>> I use my local shops to give them support, rather that the large supermarket - same thing.
Which is always commendable. Do you also vet where their products were made?

And give me polite, Indian call centre (yes, it's "centre". Why are American spelling "mistakes" acceptable?) operators over the generally insolent and insouciant British ones anytime. The former seem to always be keen to help.

StuartL, I'm from India. What about MY post? I'm no English professor, nor do I write for a living, but is my post grammatically correct? Do I need a spell check? If I found a dismal post from an American can I safely assume English is a second language in that country?

Why was it weird ?

Well it was weird because she is of very limited means and had a site that doesn't work. We are friendly acquaintances so I wanted to help her despite the fact she couldn't afford my normal rates. She really needs a boost to her bottom line and I offered an affordable way for her to do it but she refused based on nationalist reasons.

If you need a generic program like a shopping cart & website why wouldn't you outsource it and get it at a third the cost ? We are not talking about anything here that needed to be protected as intellectual property.

Another area that I think is in sore need for a market correction in the US is graphic artists. Some of these guys charge ten times what I can get someone overseas to design something for.

At anyrate, we are all free to run out businesses how we see fit. I am small and don't have the luxury of throwing money away.

quite a difference between

quite a difference between center and centre and the gazebo post. most writing from the US isn't great either though.

A statement was made by

A statement was made by SlyOldDog that I feel the need to reply too.

>>>""Remember Google was started by an American AND a Russian..."

No your wrong, Google was started by two Americans, Sergy may have been born in Russia but he is an American and I believe he would tell you that himself.

>sore need for a market

>sore need for a market correction in the US is graphic artists.

hehe

Services have a floor dictated by cost of living, I guess if food "corrected" that might happen.

BTW, I'm not a graphic artist but hate to pound price when I need QUALITY services, you get what you pay for. I don't like anyone working for me to be living on the edge, been there and it sucks.

>I don't like anyone working

>I don't like anyone working for me to be living on the edge, been there and it sucks.

Totally agree. I want money to not be an issue for them so they can focus on doing good work. If I see rates double and triple quickly I will ask if something is wrong, but if the work quality is good I would have no problem paying it.

You really only need to work with a couple bad workers to realize that the time and energy they suck out of you over time is a far greater expense than whatever nickels and dimes they might save upfront.

If you need a generic

Quote:
If you need a generic program like a shopping cart & website why wouldn't you outsource it and get it at a third the cost ?

I don't believe I am the only one on TW that knows "standard" websites with shopping carts are major problems with today's commercial web. A penny saved now, a pound lost later (trying to optimize it).

Its about quality

We don't pick any work from rentacoder or scriptlance. Those are dirt cheap. Its not necessary that all outsourced work is going to be of low quality. Yes it is relatively cheaper to outsource, but turnaround time is also fast. I know many companies in India who will do the job at 50-70% less then what we charge. But I also know that the quality and turn around time will suffer.

well....

all i wannna say is that any company goes overseas just for the sake of profit and while making profit it does keep overall quality standards coz if the quality is not maintained it loses customers and thus the profit
so if so many companies are outsourcing it to india...its must not be surely that bad..
rather i must say it must be more profitting and thats the reason even bigger companies are following in the trend..

It's not the bigger companies that will follow

it's actually the other way round: After the big boys have struck, manifested and publicized their outsourcing deals, it's the small players that are now trying to follow suit.

And navneet: Much as I appreciate your input as coming from the Indian side of the game, simply repeating claims that "everything's actually quite different" without offering some tangible examples doesn't really do a load of good in convincing people of what you're essentially claiming. Sure, our own experience may have been a particularly bad fluke - but unfortunately, speaking to other people in the industry doesn't seem to bear this out one bit.

Overall, it might be more helpful if people with hands on experience in this field were to speak up (be it pro or con) rather than having to deal with loads of academic speculation on what should, might or could be and why ...

Who taught them

>> downright terrible: flakey grammar, shoddy style

... the British did teach India how to speak English, go figure

Americanish

IncrediBill, some would say it's regrettable the Americans taught themselves ;)

Colour my azz

Well, at least we've streamlined out a few extraneous Us and can hear better than our heavily British influenced neighboUrs to the north running around going EH? EH?

;)

you're slipping

Yo streamlined out extraneos to hear better than or British inflenced neighbors who rn arond...?

Somebody give the damn Americans some "U"s! Or take away their internet connection!

EH? EH?

Phththththththtttttt!

?..

?I have outsourced sales copy work to both India and to Malaysia.

I have had the same experience as Fanto, negative.

Outsourcing cost me more money in the long run than I would have spent if I had just hired a more expensive local copywriter in the first place.

I ended up having to hire a local copywriter to go over and rewrite/correct all the sales copy I received from the outfits I outsourced to. It cost me the same to have the outsourced copy rewritten/corrected as it would have been to hire the local guy to write the copy in the first place.

If a friend asked me for advice about outsourcing (outside their own country) sales content writing, I would try my best to dissuade them.

IMO - All sales/conversions are local and personal.
If you want to target a market you have to be able to speak the same language as the folks you are trying to sell too, that is somthing a door to door fuller brush salesman told me once about thirty years ago, he called it Localspeak.

Writing sales copy is the same way. If your targeting Americans and the sales copy does not look ‘right’ to an American, the chances are you won’t make the sale. It is the same for any culture or language. If the sales copy does not look ‘right’ to the person your trying to sell to, no matter the language or country, chances are your not going to make a sale.

However, on the other side of the coin, I have had great luck outsourcing some fairly complicated coding work to both Russia and India.... Localspeak don’t matter in coding...

The way I see it -
The USA speaks American...
The British speak English in Great Britain...
And nobody is sure just what they speak in Ozzieland oy oy oy... ;-)

I have in house Bulgarians

I have in house Bulgarians writing our ads in adwords in 10 languages (languages they don't speak at all) and we have a nice ROI (200%). I don't think in this case perfect copy matters at all.

When it does matter is in the writing of detailed content which needs also to keep an attention span.

We also use our non-native content writers to write short item descriptions. That works fine too.

So in the end there isn't much point in fussing about Indians being no good for the job. It depends what the job is. No point in using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Text in adwords ads do not,

Text in adwords ads do not, in my opinion, make sales, all they make is clicks. The landing page makes the sale.

But then that is just my opinion.

Exactly

Exactly

awarding contracts

buckworks, the ;-) was understood! :)

First, I likely wouldn't work for the kind of money some of you (guys) pay your writers. But, how come some of you commissioned work and then got so disappointed with the quality? What due diligence did you do? How many samples did you examine and how did you vet each writer for his competence in putting together the content specific to your requirements? Or did you just sign the writers on blind, so to speak, and then come here to bitch that you didn't get Shakespeare for your very generous $1 an hour?

I do agree with lots0's advice about local talent's use of the colloquial appealling to local customers. But, there are exceptions. If I got an Indian like Peter Griffin (it's a Christian name but the guy is Indian) I'd gladly hire him to write even parody/satire for the British market. An Indian writing Craig Brown kinda stuff? Yes, you'd better believe it!

It's about where you shop and how much you pay.

exactly

very..true...
these people firstly cant find a proper guy to do things for them properly or in the way they want and then when things wont work out their way all they can do is blame the other..
forgetting it was their own fault to assign that person the work without verifying his work

?I don’t know about

?I don’t know about Fanto, but I hired a company not an individual, I looked at the companies ‘examples’ and they looked fine, I was told a team would be working on my copy, not just one person...

One among several lies I was told by this company in India.

I guess I should have taken a few weeks off work and flown to India to interview each writer on the team, reviewed samples of each of their work, met their families and taken them all to dinner before I sent them the check, but I just didn’t have time, after all I am a Imperialist/Capitalist.

I don’t have the time to interview, review and critique each writer I hire, that is why I went to outsourcing and hired a company and not an individual in the first place.

>>>”these people“

Yup I am one of “These People”, I even kind of pride myself on being “one of these people”...

See this is just what I was talking about... I doubt that observer even had any idea that the statement “these people” is considered part of a racial slur where I am from... Thats why I am not taking offense.

Hire local and save yourself a big hassle.

lots0, let me see, you gave

lots0, let me see, you gave a big contract to a new company and didn't monitor the work but took it all in one big chunk at the end? And you're surprised they screwed you? When you found out they were frauds you did stop the escrow payment, didn't you?

>> Hire local and save yourself a big hassle.
Advocating local writers for ALL copy work is a bit jingoistic. Very often that option is neither the practical nor smart one. It's certainly not always the cheapest.

Would you refuse to read Salman Rushdie because of where he was born? Would you refuse to read a good book purely on the grounds that it was written by an American / German / Aussie? For most writing contracts grammar, spelling, ease of reading, factual accuracy, presentation etc., are a lot more important than using a silly colloquial style.

So, award contracts locally for myopic reasons and pay the price, or learn how to find good writers elsewhere. It works for a lot of companies including, apparently, Google.

Okay. Strong opinions for

Okay. Strong opinions for and against.

Next we can go to (your choice of):
- Which browser do you design for?
- Is Flash evil?
- Semantic HTML: mandatory or no?

Sorry. I've been wanting to say that somewhere for some time. :)

:(

>>>"lots0, let me see, you gave a big contract to a new company and didn't monitor the work but took it all in one big chunk at the end?"

I never said it was a big contract, and I did say the company LIED to me.

I was conned and lied too by this company.

FYI - I don't like Salman Rushdie writings, I don't care where he was born, so I would not cross the street to read, hire or to take a leak on him if he were on fire.

One person in this thread did ask for personal experiences, so I gave mine, as did others and it looks like most everyone that gave their personal experiences in this thread all agree... Outsourceing is not worth it, better to go local.

>>>"...It works for a lot of companies including, apparently, Google."

Just because google does something does not make it right or profitable for the rest of us.

Yes - I may be wrong here but, some of the comments you have made in this thread make it sound like you don't like Americans much...

posted by Yes - "...it's "centre". Why are American spelling "mistakes" acceptable?"

From the American Dictionary.

cen?ter? /?s?nt?r/ [sen-ter]
–noun
1. Geometry. the middle point, as the point within a circle or sphere equally distant from all points of the circumference or surface, or the point within a regular polygon equally distant from the vertices.

Dictonary.com - http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=center

American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary -
cen·ter (sntr)

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary -
Main Entry: cen·ter

WordNet -
center

I wonder why we (Americans) put up with some people telling us we misspell things, when we don't.

Another good reason not to outsource your sales copy... spelling differences...

right line, wrong place, wrong time :)

DianeV, it's less which browser do you design for and more, "When are you moving over to broadband?"

It's not opinions. That there are good writers in India is not disputable. To suggest otherwise is insulting. True that some of you can find them and others can't. But you do a whole sub-continent an injustice by arguing that both "sides" have merit. There aren't two sides; there are people who are competent at finding talent at the right price. And there are those who are woefully inadequate and choose to blame others for their own ineptitude.

I learnt English in India. I learnt the difference between "your" and "you're", between "should have" and "should of". I have a pretty good idea that you don't stick an apostrophe in the middle of "potatoe's". When the UK GCSE English pass mark is above 16%, when it takes more than a minimum of 48% to achieve an "A", when employers are not desparate enough to hire English tutors to give all their new employees remedial English lessons, when American universities cease making you natives sit in on remedial English / ESL lessons they subject "alien" students to, when I don't need to proof read my (UK & US) graduate employees' letters for howlers ... come back to me and tell me your local quality/price proposition can't be beaten in India.

Evils of flash!

>>I was conned and lied too

>>I was conned and lied too by this company.
So you're upset by their dishonesty? Others are discussing the quality of writers abroad. What's your point? That they are all dishonest?

>>I wonder why we (Americans) put up with some people telling us we misspell things, when we don't.
So you missed the inverted commas around Mistakes? Sigh! I won't bother explaining. It's English, it's complicated.

"Center": Speaking for myself, I'm happy to read any good American author.

If it works for Google but doesn't work for you you may want to consider that they know how to find/reward good writers and you don't ;)

Stop trolling you neither of

Stop trolling neither of you are getting any links out of it.

"after all I am a Imperialist/Capitalist"

If daring to ruffle some feathers by telling it as you experienced it without pussyfooting to whatever post-colonial sensitivities may currently be in fashion makes you that, well then so am I. (Little did I expect to ever see the day when I'd have to avow to this, but so it goes ...)

Voicing anti-American slurs doesn't make poor Indian copy writing performance appear any better, that's for sure. All it tends to achieve is to emotionalize the debate - which could easily backfire in that those forum members who may yet be undecided whether to go for outsourcing copy writing or not might get the impression that if they actually did and happened to voice possible misgivings about it further down the road they could be liable to see insult added to injury as well.

Nobody claimed that "they are all bad" or any similar nonsense - so don't twist it around to make it appear as such. That's not only dishonest, it's downright inane, especially so as no particular individual was attacked in an ad hominem manner here.

And just for the record - personally, I've always been an admirer of Indian culture for the better part of 40 years, be it music, philosophy, the yogic disciplines, the cuisine (yeah, that too ...) or what I do happen to know of Indian literature. All these indisputable achievements, however, do not make the elites of Indian culture (i.e. those appr. 10% who actually speak, read and write English) by default less prone to the siren songs of parochialism - just like the elites of the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Russia etc. etc. aren't. And one arena where this tends to work to their respective disadvantage happens to be language, and there's really no point in whitewashing the fact by resorting to the old "but language evolves" pseudo-argument. This forum, after all, is not a linguistic seminar.

But those folks who can't bear honest criticism and the discussion of real world (i.e. not merely hypothetical or invented) issues without waxing all emotional and chauvinist about it, generalizing across the board and singing the worn old song of Western supremacist ideology being responsible for all the ills in the world, would be better advised to go and compete in markets where this kind of mental attitude is more appreciated. Because this is not it.

If you can't fathom this, webprofessor's summed it up perfectly - go trolling elsewhere.

The Office

So, I replaced all my local content writers with Indians. Our softball team tanked. We've lost eight games in a row! Turns out that cricket image in the brochure was a stock photo. American content writers are the best beer league players, bar none. I share so others don't have to learn the hard way.

invest time to get returns in quality

i was jus refering to the people who cannot take the mistakes they have made and rather blame it on others...i was not trying to make any racial comments...and my sincere apologies in case u felt so..
and when i said check and verify that does not mean that u have to go to dinner and know their families that is not going to help u in your business and that would be sheer waste of money and time..
check and verify whether the person or the company u hiring is appropriate to do the kinda work u want to get done and wat kind of work the company has been doing..
if u want quality and profit both u have to give it your time..u have to utilise your time towards it..
u dont want to give your time to it and then all u do in end is i gave my work to an indian and he ruined it all.
u have to know how that company is...u jus cant giv your work to a company saying i outsourced so i have to have profit..
To make your business profitable u got to invest your time if u want returns in money and quality

All procedures of due diligence

will only go so far. On Elance, most copy writers will offer you either pre-fabricated sample articles to gauge their quality or they'll even write one or more for free so you can check them out.

One would think that this is a basically sound and fair approach. However, it's definitely no guarantee that you'll actually get the same level of quality throughout the entire project later on.

In our case (a project covering 125 articles on 4 different areas), even the presentation samples weren't any good by our standards which is why we went for the most expensive bidder whose track record and published samples seemed quite outstanding by comparison.

Still, what we got from them initially was a lot of exactly the same crappy stuff from the very bidders we'd rejected before (obviously sub contracted), so there was an inordinate amount of to and fro revision wise, plus hours and hours of in house editing - time we'd originally assigned to other, more pressing and productive tasks. Meaning that in the end we paid dearly for the experience.

LOL

Quote:
If daring to ruffle some feathers by telling it as you experienced it without pussyfooting to whatever post-colonial sensitivities may currently be in fashion makes you that , well then so am I.

That doesn't make sense in ANY flavour of English. ;)

Quote:
All these indisputable achievements, however, do not make the elites of Indian culture (i.e. those appr. 10% who actually speak, read and write English) by default less prone to the siren songs of parochialism - just like the elites of the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Russia etc. etc. aren't. And one arena where this tends to work to their respective disadvantage happens to be language, and there's really no point in whitewashing the fact by resorting to the old "but language evolves" pseudo-argument.

Er, what does all that have to do with the price of fish?

Anybody who understood my stand to be that everybody in India writes perfect English is ... an imbecile. I don't honestly believe anybody here has taken that interpretation.

That there are some good writers in India (who can be used for most jobs) is not in dispute.

If you can't find them then go ahead, blame everybody else :)

I regret your personal experience. Nobody should be lied to and I'd be pretty pissed off if it happened to me. I don't deny that when awarding a contract to anybody - PARTICULARLY someone in another country, any country - take as many precautions as you can, don't pay up front etc., etc. I have the exact same problem you do and when dealing with someone for the first time I insist on getting articles individually till I've built up some confidence in them. Even then I move gradually over to a handful of articles per invoice. Delegate the proofing to someone else if you don't have the time but proof them before paying the bill. Or use escrow.

Personally, I don't use the "lancing" sites to find talent. I recently read a good guide to finding writers. Was it by sugarrae? I can't remember. Anyway, if I find it I'll give you a link. Rather than finding places where writers advertise it may be to your advantage to look in places where known good writers hang out: writer clubs etc. ;)

Google is looking for Indian

Google is looking for Indian M&A opportunities as well:

The company has already advertised a job opening on its India website for the position of Corporate Development Manager, South Asia, to be stationed in Mumbai or Bangalore, who would look after the development and execution of market strategies that drive market expansion opportunities.

The managers Google is seeking to hire would also negotiate on investments, partnerships, acquisitions and creation of deal terms.

..

??It’s Google India... I think google is being smart to hire local.

As a matter of fact I think it would be silly for them to Outsource all of their Marketing and Advertising to people from outside the region.

Who knows the local market, local business and advertising trends better than a local?

***
Yes - That was not the first time I was lied too. ;)

Maybe it was my 'fault' for having a bad experience. I am sure there was more, within reason, I could have done to ensure that I received the quality of work that I wanted and paid for.

I put the same amount of work into finding a company to outsource work to that I put into finding a local company. I know now that was a mistake, I needed to put way more time into finding a good company to Outsource too.

I did not at any time say all writers in India (or anywhere else) are all bad, nor did I intend to insinuate that, I try to avoid broad generalizations that everyone know are just not true.

Blame - the only people I blame are the people that lied to me and took my money, I don’t know, maybe that’s not politically correct anymore, but I still blame them...

>>>”So you missed the inverted commas around Mistakes“
Yup, sure did. ;-)

***
>>>i was not trying to make any racial comments...

I know you were not Observer and I would like to thank you for the apology, even though in my opinion it was not necessary. I was just trying to make a point about the differences in local language.

Outsourcing

There is a big difference between outsourcing and what Google is doing.

Lots0 - if you hire a guy in your home town to do some piece work for you, that is outsourcing.

Google is hiring in-house staff in india who will likely be managed on site. That is not outsourcing. It's an in-house activity.

In my experience (and I do have some), using low cost labour does work so long as you are prepared to have an office in the low cost location and manage the people yourself. You're highly unlikely to get lied to or cheated in this case.

agreed

i agree to that. big companies are now moving more and more towards employing people in india. they must be doing that because of the potential the indians must be having..
i agree with u websitedesignindia

You do realize, of course,

You do realize, of course, that Google has offices in other countries?

I think it's best not to generalize; otherwise, it's too easy to be proved wrong.

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