The three letter demon that pays

THAT's why I don't make any money,
I don't have the cash key... dammit
The letters “S”, “E”, and “O” --- in that ominous order --- make up the science that has adulterated the art of writing in its pure, undefiled form. And funny how we quality-conscious writers have embraced it with iniquitous passion...if only to tide ourselves over until the next temptation comes.

In the halcyon days no longer, a lot of us would refuse to settle for anything less than a hundred dollars to write a 500-word feature.

What looked like a simple writing job was actually a complex process to us: the thorough fact-checking, the conscientious writing, the meticulous polishing of the draft, the hawk-eyed editing, the careful typing of a clean and crisp copy.

In undergoing the process, we behaved like we were vying for an international award for excellence in the art, or like we were pursuing a world fellowship that made us even better writers.

Competition was dizzyingly stiff but we all felt extremely competitive...and full of self-worth. We would give all of ourselves, all our might, to an article that we wanted to be seen as perfect: a masterpiece.

But with the best-paying, dead-dree publications all dead --- or folding and going online --- what else could pay us as much? And with an entire planet of readers whose dignity and supreme standards have been lost to the wretchedly written word, who else would want to pay us as much?

All that's left for us now is a virtual universe plagued with horribly composed content that search-engine robots love to track: neither for the clarity in writing nor for the powerful and well-crafted message that it conveys.

Our human spirit has been sapped by automatons thriving on content that attracts those who are perpetually switched to no-intelligence-required mode: the not-so-thinking users who aimlessly surf through the pages, excitedly click on the infomercials, and unwittingly ring up the bucks for clever site owners. We now suck up to an audience vested with the cretinoid tendencies of appreciating nothing but those twinkling pay-per-click adverts. And, sometimes, the wretchedly written content.

See what technology has corrupted? Then slaughtered? (Hmm...reminds me of The Buggles' late-1970s song, “Video Killed the Radio Star”.)

These days, we search the Internet and appear to be thankful for such jobs as writing a 500-word article on luxury lifestyles --- for the amount of one inflation-bloated American dollar! Be sure to picture the poshness of this hotel and handsomeness of this diamond-studded watch perfectly! Be sure it's not plagiarized and that it passes Copyscape! Be sure to have it SEO-optimized with the keywords peppering the content within the ideal keyword density! Or else!

Aw, gawd!! The gall!!

The buyers surely have the gall to try deflating our ego by 99 friggin' per cent. And they expect us to churn out the quality we used to labor for, for a hundredfold more. Now, how terrible is that?

Yet we get in this sad and maddening game; we transmogrify into ever-willing victims. These days, a good part of our population do content-writing without the conscience that we used to be proud of; we comply with these substandard standards without the discretion that we used to exercise.

It's a sorrowful thing but, yeah, it's reality. We suck up to the gall of 'em buyers and move on to the next miser. We just laugh it off and earn our keep from this sort of corruption.

The letters, by the way, stand for “search engine optimization”, which I should go back to doing now --- lest I miss out on the five-dollars-per-hundred-words bonanza.

Annette Cruz-Salazar is grateful to be pursuing a writing career that does not involve the "Three-Letter Demon". Spread images of her latest coffee-table collaboration, "National Pride, World Peace" , may be viewed at


  1. As I've said before... I will not succumb to the pillaging. If a miser won't pay me what I want, I won't do the work. Period. End of story.

  2. There are people who say they know what's the essence and importance of SEO; then again, some of them don’t really know what they are talking about.

    seo reseller

  3. Unfortunately that is entirely the point. SEO was designed to make search engines more effective, thus making a more user oriented experience.

    What SEO has turned in to however is a Juggernaut of terrible formulaic writing that is only based on traffic, not quality of content.

    The public, in turn, have become accustomed to junk information and as a result quality is no longer a priority.


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