Publicist connects experts with companies needing help with writing, public relations, marketing, art direction and videography
Expected pay: You set it
Commissions & fees: 20% paid by client, not freelancer
Where: U.S. Nationwide, Canada & Australia
Requirements: 16 or older; able to sign a legal contract; valid email address; pass a vetting process
Publicist recently launched on the U.S. scene, sending messages to many seasoned journalists and communicators to sign up. The pitch: If you’re accepted into the network, you can set your own rates for copywriting, marketing and creative services. (Creative services include being a creative director, art director or videographer.)
The site takes no fees from freelancer pay. Instead, Publicist tacks a 20% surcharge onto client bills to finance the site’s matchmaking and bill collection service.
The freelancer receives half of the project’s total payment when the project begins and half once the project is completed. This helps protect the freelancer from doing the work and not receiving any compensation. Payments are made through Stripe in U.S. dollars.
Publicist requires all communication between a client and a freelancer occur within Publicist. There’s no emailing or talking outside of the platform. That can be a benefit or detriment. It can hinder communication in an industry that requires a lot of it. However, it also protects the freelancer, if the client is dishonest or threatens a bad review to get unpaid work.
User ratings within Publicist are owned by Publicist and cannot be used outside of Publicist’s platform. You cannot quote a review or advertise your great rating on your own website, for instance.
And, while the site’s FAQs say freelancer applications are reviewed within 72 hours, our reviewer found that they’re actually reviewed once a month. So don’t be surprised if your application languishes.
A few things concern us, however.
The site says it will impose a monthly maintenance fee on accounts that haven’t been used in a year. It doesn’t say how much the fee will be, but says the fee will be charged “until the account is closed or reactivated.” This wording is used at other sites to justify taking any money that’s left in a user’s account. (Pro tip: Don’t leave money laying around in platform coffers. Ever.)
But the most troubling item in Publicist’s terms: “We may commingle your funds with funds of other Users and our own funds and such commingled funds could be used to pay other Users or for our general corporate purposes or otherwise.”
The terms go on to say the site remains “obliged to release or refund funds at your direction.” But your funds should never be co-mingled with site funds or used to finance corporate operations.
We were unable to find independent reviews from people who have worked with Publicist. That may simply be because the site is relatively young. However, we’d advise caution, mainly because of the co-mingled funds issue.
Moreover, there are copious better-established sites that can help you find marketing and communications jobs. Others that we like include WorkingNotWorking, FreeUp, Creatively, Fiverr, and Robert Half.