This all pales into insignificance when stood next to the explosion in commercial writing and editing services as commercial and non-commercial sites have realized that, to be successful over the web, they must deliver content in a format that users want and which is constantly updated so as to provide a fresh perspective as well as continuously being relevant.
A cottage industry has grown up to produce written content for the web and the quality varies enormously, from professional journalism and copywriting services through to short piece, article, and blog posting by hordes of stay-at-home moms looking to make some extra money. The sheer volume of content that is being created beggars belief, and this is a worldwide industry which is geared towards producing material for human readers as well as content that satisfies the guardians of the World Wide Web: the search engines.
Online editing jobs involve a multitude of skill sets, not the least of which is the ability to think laterally and understand how the web works and, more importantly, how users are actually utilizing the World Wide Web and influencing how it is evolving in turn. Editing in this context is not simply about ensuring a written piece flows and correcting English; all editing jobs that involve work for the web must also consider how search engines will read the material, classify it, and rank it according to relevance for when a user comes along and makes a search for information using the search engine dialog box we are all familiar with.
The incredible demand has fostered an army of writers of vastly wide ranging quality working in locations all across the globe. Savvy Internet marketers are quickly catching on to the fact that though they may be able to flood the Internet with content, they are having a serious issue balancing the needs of the competing readers: the human and the mechanical. Editing in this context is not simply about applying the principles of the butcher's trade to written work of varying quality but in establishing an overall context for the type of work required and applying commercial realism to the required outcome of the exercise. This is a very fast moving environment which changes daily and in many instances faster than hourly; the net is evolving rapidly and search engines themselves are also cottoning on to the ''tricks of the trade'' that are being applied by Internet marketers to the extent that what passed as good marketing content a few months ago may actually end up getting your client's website banned or blacklisted by search engines, and that means catastrophe for online marketing efforts.
Online editing work is far more open than traditional print editing positions as there is such incredible demand, but it is also far more open due to the need for skills in dealing with web-based media and audiences. An absolute English ability is no longer a mandatory requirement when being able to understand the competing requirements of content by both human and computer algorithms is crucial. If you have experience in dealing with Internet promotion and search engine marketing you are likely to find that your shortcomings with language can be overlooked, though if you can combine English language mastery as well then you are head and shoulders above most other candidates.
Remuneration and benefits is a thorny issue; many writers are paid extremely poorly because they are based in the Philippines or some other third world country and a few cents per hundred words is the norm; editing pay for this type of work is equally appallingly bad. That said, there are opportunities for highly paid work, particularly with the larger employers who are serious about using the Internet as part of an integrated strategy for getting their goods and services to market. The crucial point is that the route to gaining an editing position is not fraught with closed shop prejudice and bias; the door is wide open and the demand is incredibly huge for those who wish to build a career within editing and, given the increasingly rapid transition from the old style ''real'' economy to the virtual world, the demand is only set to increase over time. As the user community becomes increasingly demanding, then the quality of the content will only improve, and at this moment providers of content are engaged in a ''hit or miss'' strategy with disposing of failing techniques and extremely rapid adoption of tactics that work. Editing in the virtual world is a process of shooting at a perpetually moving target which reinvents itself as soon as it is hit.