Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Report: Massive Drop In Freelance Writing Work Following Google's Panda Update

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 6, 2011

Chris O'Brien at Freelancer.com sent me an interesting report that shows a massive drop in freelance writing jobs following Google's Panda algorithm update in February, which was designed to demote content farms in search rankings.

We've just completed our quarterly report, the Freelancer Fast 50. Using data from the over 100,000 freelance projects completed on our site from the last quarter.

The main trend we've noticed is the massive decline in content writing jobs all across the board in the wake of Google adjusting its search algorithm.

Article Submission jobs are down 29% (shedding 2011 jobs), Copywriting is down 19% (shedding 1300 jobs) and Ghostwriting is down by 12% (losing 435 jobs).

These numbers are particularity noticeable as writing jobs had been experiencing massive leaps in growth quarter on quarter since the inception of Freelancer.com.

So does this mean that Panda is working? Or is there another explanation, that the writing jobs may have gone to a lower level of contractor that Freelancer.com isn't seeing?

It seems hard to believe that original content, even of variable quality, has lost so much value so quickly.

Other key trends in the Freelancer Fast 50 report:

Hardware Design Booming: This quarter every category related to hardware product design is up significantly. Product design jobs are up 23%, Solidworks (the popular CAD program) is up 25%, Microcontroller jobs are up 21% and Mechanical Engineering, 18%.

Jobs related to Apple products continue to rise, with iPhone jobs gaining 12% (up 289 jobs to 2741), iPad jobs up 18% (to 1174), and Cocoa jobs up 41% (to 436).

Android jobs are up 15% to 1422.

Jobs related to Microsoft related products continued their seemingly terminal descent; MS Access down 15%, MS Expression down 28%, Windows Mobile down 9%, Microsoft (General) down 16%, Windows CE down 20%, Windows Desktop down 23%, Windows Server down a whopping 27%.

Nokia's Symbian plummeted 32%. Nokia's decision to use Microsoft for its future operating system looks in question. Together Nokia and Microsoft mobile jobs total less than 10% of the jobs seen for the iPhone and 17% of those for Android.

Firefox related jobs climbed 105% off a low base due to the launch of Firefox 4.0 but missed out on the Fast 50.

Freelancer.com says it works with 2.5 million professionals around the world and that the average job is $200.


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