Ghost Writing Online
Ghost Writing is when a writer writes on an assigned topic under someone else’s name with their consent, or writes under another alias. These writers, or ghostwriters, often write books from scratch, but sometimes rewrite or edit existing work. Websites and blogs on the internet have a lot of content, and many of these website and blog owners hire ghostwriters to write the "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizing" (SEO) content for their sites. This allows owners to free up to market and build the sites to the specs that they want as new SEO content keeps these sites at the top of the search engines. There is a rising need for online ghostwriters to write new content for all of these sites which people are beginning to take advantage of. However, there are many ethical issues of online ghostwriting, namely the fact that it makes it easier to plagiarize the work of others and creates issues regarding authenticity of content.
- 1 Ghostwriting Historically
- 2 New Online Ghostwriters
- 3 Online Ghostwriting Sources
- 4 Ethics
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 See Also
- 7 References
Previously, ghostwriters used to write books for which someone else received credit. When an author needed help writing a book, a ghostwriter would take their idea and turn it into a story. The ghostwriter was paid a flat rate for the book and would sign over all rights to the owning author. In some cases, the ghostwriter may receive a small percentage of the profits. The ghostwriting services which people received when they hired a book ghostwriter were simple and straightforward. One would supply the ghostwriter with the idea, genre, the audience they intended to reach, and any information that they wanted to be included in the book. The ghostwriter handled the research and produced the content of the book. The ghostwriter kept costs within budget and produced the book in the time frame that was required. Ghostwriting services also included proofreading, editing, and in some cases, publication. Ghostwriters are often hired to write speeches, sermons, articles, copy for advertising, screenplays, e-books, sales letters, book proposals, op-eds, & radio and TV commercials. As a result of their experience working with various clients from different fields, ghostwriters gathered in-depth knowledge on a variety of topics. Over the 3-6 months or duration it took to write the piece, a ghostwriter typically needs no more than an hour per week with a person to ensure they are on track.
Websites may be ghostwritten out of necessity as the original author may not have the skill or time required to generate the content necessary to adequately represent their idea. Typically, the style and tone of ghostwritten content is modeled on that of the credited author. Many website ghostwriters are freelance but some freelancers work under contract, similar to the model employed by radio presenters and television personalities. Occasionally a "house pseudonym", or collective name is used by the authors of a website. This is similar to ghostwriting for blogs, and in some cases it can be used as a search engine optimization tactic. Blogging has increased in popularity as a legitimate form of writing since its inception in the early 2000s. This has led to a new form of ghostwriter: the blog ghostwriter. Organizations aiming to generate interest in their blog site hire ghostwriters to post comments to their blog, while posing as different people and using pseudonyms. Blogs are sometimes rated according to how many web 'hits' they get from users viewing the page, and this rating is used by advertisers considering paying for ad space on a blog website. :)
New Online Ghostwriters
Many people become an online ghostwriter by submitting articles to content sites like Associated Content. They often are required to have a few published samples beforehand. They then submit the articles on their chosen topic area, submitting writing clips that traditionally range between 400 and 600 words. These articles usually showcase a keyword density of 3 to 5 %, with an emphasis on the writer's ability to write SEO content.
Online Ghostwriting Sources
Indeed.com is a search engine for employers and employees seeking to fill roles including ghostwriting. Those seeking ghostwriters are able to post topics for which they require content, a timeline, and any additional pertinent information. Official Website
At Constant Content, ghostwriters write what they want to write and set their own prices for their work. They also are able to set usage rights instead of all rights so that they can sell their work repeatedly. In this scenario, the ghostwriters have more say in their work than other cases. Constant content provides a depository of articles and writings that people can go to in order to find something that they like or would like to use on their own site or in their industry.
Jobs for Bloggers - ProBlogger Job Board
There is a specific need for bloggers and blog-style writing and ghostwriters can be used in this situation. Job Board posts jobs where they are in need of a blog writer in a specific industry. It is also a place where experienced bloggers can go to find a job. There has been an increase in blogging and an increase in blog traffic and therefore more people are wanted to do blog posts.
Many ghostwriters search for jobs on Twitter or use the service to find other job sites. One Twitter user last year jokingly tweeted that he would pay someone to write his essay for him. Within an hour of tweeting this, the user had dozens of messages from people offering to taking him up on his offer . This brings up questions of plagiarism and cheating within the educational sphere.
Find writing work on Elance
Ghostwriters use this site for various writing and blogging opportunities.
Members to this site can bid on ghostwriting jobs. They can also bid on writing work. When one wins a writing job, they pay a small percentage of the fee they receive for the work to the host site.
Online Freelance Writing Jobs
Full of information about online writing for beginning freelance writers. This can also be used to find jobs.
Authenticity Issues with Anonymity
Ghostwriting is known for the anonymous, cooperative effort it provides in getting work done. This provides for a greater chance of the work being unbiased. However, because of the quantity of people working together and the anonymous nature of the work, some argue that the information is not accredited. Multiple people can work on one piece of work and only some can be given credit. Credit may not be evenly dispersed amongst authors. Furthermore, ghostwriting may be considered merely as someone's, or a group of peoples' opinions. As many ideas are circulated among people, people form their own opinions and try to find a common group on what everyone thinks. This can lead to more of an opinion based writing instead of fact based.
Plagiarism by Ghostwriting
11 post-secondary institutions in Canada conducted a study that concluded that one percent of people who admitted to cheating use online "paper mills", a way to commit fraud. This shows that even though the ability to purchase papers online is highly achievable, students still choose to refrain from this kind of activity. Sites like Craigslist show how accessible purchasing a custom-written academic paper is. Because these papers are written by other students or designed in a way to resemble a typical student paper, professors have difficulty identifying plagiarism. Professors who identify plagiarized papers as papers that seem too professional for a student to produce can no longer catch these inauthentic writing pieces. To solve this problem, some professors create assignments that require some personal details that ghost writers cannot produce. 
Public Reputation and Ghostwriting
Using a ghostwriter is common practice, especially in the entertainment industry where it is easy to lend one's name to a publication and then reap the ensuing profits. The only thing celebrities must worry about is their reputation if the product is a bust or has some other ethical issue. Often, writers are listed along side the celebrities on the cover of the released product and there is no issue. A problem arises, though, when celebrities use a ghostwriter and claim to have completed all of the work themselves, giving the ghostwriters no credit or glory. This process unethical because the ghostwriter's work is not getting accredited to the appropriate producer, causing the person who did not complete the work to reap unfair benefits. This has been known to occur with such things as presidential autobiographies. At the time of this edit, there is one major case in the latest news that has garnered national attention, an album, Untitled, from hip-hop artist Nas. The rapper has been accused of using ghostwriters on his released products and is denying it. The ethical intentions behind his music release has been exposed. His reputation has declined in the eye of the public as he has lied about doing creative work by himself. Nas went from being one of the greatest bar-for-bar rappers to an artist that cannot be trusted by his fans and the music industry.
Nas has been in the hip-hop industry for a long time, breaking on to the scene in 1994 with his instant classic Illmatic. He knows that in order to be respected within the community, one usually writes and performs all of his or her own rhymes. There are obviously some collaborations or other circumstances that excuse the general rule but to be considered genuine, the rule must be followed. In 2008, Nas released his album titled Untitled with his name on it. In 2012, accusations arose via Twitter that Nas's verses had been ghostwritten by stic.man and Jay Electronica, two other prominent hip-hop artists. Fans have begun to question Nas's entire catalog of work now, potentially undoing years of work building his credibility within the industry. Though this issue may be a result of the specific industry's culture, a lot of damage has been done by ghostwriting. This has been something that sticks out to a lot of famous rap artists. In one Rolling Stone interview Kendrick Lamar, considered by many to be one of the best modern-day artists, stated that "It depends on what arena you're putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you're saying you're a different type of artist and you don't really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won't be there."
When you see an artists name attached to a song, only the actual artist is listed as the creator. Most mainstream music today is co-written, whether it is two or six people in collaboration - the song is co-written. Although, technically it is co-writing and not ghostwriting once the song is released none of the other writers' names can be found when you download the song. The writers' names can be found online or in the credits, but a majority of music listeners do not care. The listeners' unwillingness to care who actually wrote the song makes the co-writers a ghostwriter in a backward type of way. Some of the worlds most popular writers today, like Jeff Bhasker ("Uptown Funk"-Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, "We Are Young" - Fun), are virtually unknown even though they are not ghostwriters. The music industry does not need ghostwriters because most people don't care to look into the fact that most artists are not writing their own music or write it with other collaborators. The songwriters who do not get credit on the title of the song may prefer it that way, but they are being overlooked in the public's eye at times due to the way the entertainment industry credits the titles. The way this industry credits authors and others who worked on music is unfair because not everyone is given credit for the work they contributed. The lack of listeners' attention and care of who creates the songs they listen to each day hinders the entertainment industry from changing their policies where everyone is given credit.
Ghostwriting can be a lucrative profession with several monetary benefits, but its very nature brings forth complex ethical problems. Authenticity and plagiarism stigmatize the field of ghostwriting online. Most importantly, Ghostwriting allows books and articles articles to be produced at a faster rate, through collaboration and a diversity of ideas from different people working on a single piece.
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- Hiatt, Brian. Rolling Stone interview with Kendrick Lamar Retrieved on 14 Apr 2018.