Monday morning: informs me that someone wants to hire me for proofreading.  Susan Ahonen with sends me an emailed interview.  Among other things, they want to know if I’m familiar with their submission guidelines; I am.  What time zone I’m in.  If I have a PayPal account; I do.  If I’m familiar with Google Documents and have Google Chat; I am and I do.  If I have an account with (a plagiarism checker); I don’t but would be happy to set one up.  If I can proof a minimum of twenty 500-word articles daily; I can.  Et cetera.

Lovely.  She sends me a proofreading test.  It is chock-full of errors to fix.  The actual articles won’t be nearly this bad, of course.  It’s an MS Word document.  I’m told to turn on “track changes” and send it back when I’m done.

Thursday morning:

In a quick succession of emails, I see that I’ve been cleared as “ready for hire” by Susan Ahonen.  She asks if I’ve been contacted by Ozio Media, and I have indeed gotten three emails from them.  Seems they are the employer?  What happened to  One email details how to invoice Ozio.  Their pay rate is miserable: 30 cents per 500 words.  Third-world rates.  But, I need the experience and resume credit, so I gulp and decide to go ahead, at least for a little while.

Ann with Ozio Media has a lot of documents to be proofed and wants to know if I can start immediately.  I actually have to leave for my ranger job at 11:00 a.m.  She wants me to open a Copyscape account ($5.00 minimum for 100 credits).  She provides a link to a page full of documents, all instructions I must read.  She wants me to contact her via Google Chat, for about an hour of training.

I write back, saying I can’t cancel my commitments for the next two days on short notice; could we start on Monday?  Yes, she says, let me know when you are ready on Monday.  Whew.

I print out all the instructions (about ten pages’ worth) to read over the weekend, and set up the Copyscape account.

Monday morning:

Send email and chat messages to Ann (no last name) at 8:30 a.m., no response.  I sit at the damn computer for two hours waiting.  Checked hourly for the following four hours after that.  Late in the afternoon, when I was offline, she sent a reply saying she was now available.  Hmph.

Tuesday morning:

Send email and chat messages to Ann again at 8:30 a.m., again no response.

Tuesday afternoon:

Finally around noon, she sends an IM to say she’s available if I am.  She conducts the training over the next hour via Google Chat.  It’s pretty straightforward.  I have an account now with, which serves as an FTP server for Ozio.  She walks me through opening a project folder, selecting files for proofing from an Incoming folder, and for uploading them back to a Completed folder.  Pretty straightforward.  I’m not to move or delete files; if I make a correction, I’m to re-upload the corrected file and put a comment on it.  We are to leave comments when downloading a file, when it’s passed or failed Copyscape, and anything else that needs noting.  I’ve been assigned to “Justin’s” team, and if I have any further questions, I’m to direct them to him.

I read the project guidelines carefully, but they’re written for the authors.  Word count, font, and point size are specified, and file naming conventions are strict.  I open up the project folder; there is only one file available for proofing.  Apparently one must check the folder several times a day, because when an incoming file appears, an unknown number of other proofreaders can also grab it.  We’ve been warned not to download more than three or four files at a time.  I guess that was a problem; someone taking all the files at once and hoarding them.

I proof the file and upload it to the Completed folder.  One more file appears in the evening; I grab it and proof that one also.  Woo, 60 cents!

Wednesday morning:

I find a slew of emails from, all saying “(filename) received for PMA review by EB.”  One of those files was one that I proofed.  These were all comments left by this EB (project manager assistant?) on each file in the Completed folder.  A minute later, another comment arrives pertaining to my file:

  • EB:  ??? Not formatted per project guidelines. Please correct.

Oh no!  Really?  I look over the guidelines again, look over the file again… I don’t see anything.  I reply.

  • Me:  How so?
  • EB:  If you think all this red looks okay, then I’ll have to re-format it and re-upload it.  I’ll have to get the manager’s approval, though.
  • Me:  I’m sorry, this is my first day.  My understanding was to track changes.  Is that incorrect?
  • EB:  Did you even look at the text?

Well, that’s pretty snotty.  Can I just get a straight answer?  I take the high road:

  • Me:  Of course.  Maybe you could tell me what I did wrong, and I’ll be happy to correct it.

At this point, another random person broke in and left their own comment:

  • Random:  Since you’re the project manager, why are there 14 files in the incoming folder but only 12 in the completed folder? What happened to the other 2
  • EB:  Are you for real, or is it sarcasm?:

Wow, this has gotten completely out of control.  At this point I try to contact Justin (again, no last name) via email and chat.  No response.  After several minutes, I reply:

  • Me:  I’m trying to be professional, and find out what I did wrong.  Are we not to track changes?

Several minutes later, another random person chimed in:

  • Random:  I didn’t write this article, but I think we don’t use track changes.
  • Me:  Thank you.

I quickly fixed both articles, and re-uploaded them.  Then left one last comment:

  • Me:  See corrected files.

There was an error in the file-naming convention on the second file; I left a comment on that file alerting them to that, too.

Wednesday afternoon:

I get an email from Justin, five hours later, saying I’d been dropped from his project team.

Quickly followed by another email from saying my account had been closed.

Just like that.

I sent an email to Ann NoLastName, saying that I’d like to discuss what happened, that I’m just flabbergasted at this turn of events.  She replied in the evening, saying that I’d made errors in the file transfers, and in the way I left comments.  I knew better than to bother asking, at this point, what “errors” I’d made, exactly.  She said that the project was closed, and wished me well in my future endeavors.

Damn.  Now, I’ve been fired before.  But in less than 24 hours?  Now, THAT’S a new record.

Actually, no one ever specifically said I’d been fired, just that the project was closed and they wished me well.  So I’m keeping the bastards on my resume, for now at least.  “They just haven’t sent me any work for a while…”

After some detailed searching, I found complaints about Ozio Media here and here.  They pay writers next to nothing, too: $1.50 per 500 words.  Then they “reject” it for unspecified reasons and refuse to pay their pittance.  I bet they get a lot of free writing and proofreading done that way.


Now they are saying I am violating their terms by revealing trade secrets. Riiiiight. So let me just state here that these are my opinions, and this is my site, and I am free to express my opinions on my site. I am relating an honest, truthful account of my experience with Ozio.