It’s quite a tricky task, trying to convince people to write for this website. As much as the carefree, objectionable nature of the words you find here attract a certain type of people like organophosphates attract doomed bees, the delighted enthusiasm to contribute to this virtual free-for-all tends to wane at the sight of a blank Word document and an incessantly chirping smartphone promising all the world’s riches if you’ll only give it every last second of attention you have going spare. Oh look, someone’s added me to their circles, whatever the bloody hell that means.
So I’m always on the hunt for places I can entice writers to come and drop their filthy muck on the pages herein. One rather unexpected source of scribbling meat has until recently been classified ad site Gumtree, which it turns out is no longer the exclusive domain of Australians looking for cheap rooms in Notting Hill, bar work, second-hand didgeridoos and the like. Free ads in the ‘creative writing’ section used to do the job smartly, but then they shut that section down and began forcing people like me down the ‘jobs’ route, and charging a pretty packet for the privilege.
I decided to fork out for an ad. For posterity, as you will soon see, it read like this:
Gumtree used to let you put ads in their creative writing section for free, and now it costs £35.70. It’s your duty to reply to this ad because I’ve been mug enough to stump up the funds and if nobody replies I’ll have to drown a kitten to cheer myself up.
Right, to the point. I have a website that various people write entertaining, frequently angry articles on. There is a certain amount of serious swearing on said website so if you’re not keen on that I suggest you sling your hook.
The website is called…
Striving for Apathy
Google it. If I attach a URL Gumtree will charge me an extra £9.95. Amazing.
Anyway, I am forever looking for more writers for this site, ideally ones willing to spread the word via the social media sites you all love so much. The site carries no ads and makes no money, it’s for the love alone, or hate in this case. As a result I don’t generally pay writers but I will if a writer I find turns out to be particularly good at it (£15, for something that usually takes about half an hour or so – but you have to do the first one free so I can check quality, and there are no exceptions to that).
Did you read that previous paragraph? The first time I listed this advert I had about fifty replies demanding payment up front. If you can’t read I’m hardly going to pay you to write am I? This is Gumtree, not Mugtree.
Anger and passion is important, but entertaining (which usually means funny) is key. There aren’t many rules for writing for this site, you get to pick your own topic, and everyone who has so far enjoys it, so they tell me. You can find the guidelines on one of the pages of the menu on the site. I forget which, you have eyes, go look. To find out what I consider the site to be about, I am the writer ‘Chris’ on it, so read what that bellend wrote and you’ll get the idea.
Please reply. Ask as many questions as you like. As far as I know Gumtree don’t charge me to reply to questions but perhaps they do, so entertain yourself by forcing me to find out.
It says here I have 7,845 characters remaining in my ring-tearingly expensive advert. I feel like I ought to make use of them.
Can’t be arsed.
The ad was on the site for almost two months, until about a week ago, when I received an email with the following subject line: ‘Your Gumtree ad 1095453007 has been removed’.
It turns out that Gumtree are as keen to take a joke as riot police in May. Their decision has been taken because, as their email makes clear, they feel their policies have been so violated by my words there may have to be new legislation to take into account the feelings of a website with a quivering bottom lip.
Among my many misdemeanours, I have evidently used ‘discrimination terms, either offensively or generally’. Allow me to use a few more at this juncture, being as freedom of speech is prized in these parts.
Fuck you, Gumtree. You are a humourless shower of money-grabbing bastards for whom creaming funds from the UK’s legion of hard-working families, as hideous politicians will be calling us all for the next few weeks, seems to involve roughly a tenner’s development work biannually. Your website is a shit mixture of Amazon, Loot and Find A Grave. Your logo evokes images of a final sapling standing steadfast in the face of an onrushing nuclear explosion, just before it’s blown away in a cataclysm humanity is marching towards so inexorably it may actually explain why you’re all such stony-faced wankers.
Your support service is laughable, though I will say your copy-and-pasting is beyond compare. Your ‘policy removal appeal’ process appears to involve me asking why the ad was taken down and you replying with a succession of ‘because we said so’, ‘because we can’ and ‘because you’re picking on us’-style responses as the football disappears from the playing area beneath your arm.
On the off-chance you have any interest in making your website more interesting than a succession of ads for battered motors and soulless employment has any right to be, I should point out that virtually everyone who replied to the ad commented that they did so because it was the first they’d seen on Gumtree not written in a way that made them want to sear their eyes on a Bunsen burner in bored frustration. Not everyone bestows critical acclaim on the words ‘Please include your CV and covering letter’, not that it stopped countless people sending me their CV and covering letter in the mistaken belief I was another identikit employer offering the type of wrist-slitting work the rest of your job ads espouse in language that makes Atlas Shrugged read like a Mr Men book.
Needless to say Gumtree laughed when I mentioned the word ‘refund’: “You have already enjoyed the full benefit of your insertion fee.” Insertion certainly took place at some point in my dealings with them, though quite whether I or they ended up with the sorest arse remains unclear at this point.
Should anyone at Gumtree find themselves so astoundingly without mirth that they reach for their local defamation lawyer’s number on reading this, it might just bring about the final, exquisite death of irony. In short, Gumtree, I will not be using your service again. Consider yourself worse off to the tune of £35.70 a month. When the resulting penury causes you to let an employee go, I hope it’s the one who brings those biscuits in you all love as you gather around the crumb-infested filing cabinet at 10.30am on a Monday, each wishing you’d never applied to that Gumtree ad for a job working for fucking Gumtree.