A colleague shared an old post (not his) in a Google+ community with the provocative title, “How I Made $5,000 a Month as a Paid Blogger.”

The author had written 58 posts in one month, including 22 for BNET and another 12 for Entrepreneur.

Doing a little math, this means this freelancer spent at least 60 hours a month writing, averaging just under $88 per hour, to churn out blog content for different sites. That’s if she was able to come up with the topic, research, write, hyperlink appropriately, and edit every post in an hour or less. And that doesn’t even account for client management time. Or client-finding time.

Talk about content farming.

Writing is only a commodity if you treat it that way.

I’m not criticizing this writer. I’m criticizing the process that leads to so much online content being iterative and boring. The process that values speed over, well, value. The process that says the quality of the content doesn’t matter nearly as much as the imperative to have fresh stuff to put up multiple times a day.

It’s a race-to-the-bottom business model.

No wonder Google keeps changing its algorithms.

This is why I don’t charge for writing. I charge for my smarts.

You can always find someone cheaper. That’s true whether you need a writer to produce regular blog content, a designer to create a logo, or a plumber to plug up a leaky pipe. The difference is always going to be quality. Solutions. Smarts.

My business can’t afford to hire cheap or compete on cheap. Can yours?

Photo by Bryan Mason (Flickr).