Demand Media Writers Offer Different Viewpoints of Assignment Reduction

Will less quantity mean more quality?

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Demand Media Writers Offer Different Viewpoints of Assignment Reduction
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Demand Media recently alerted Demand Media Studios writers that it would be reducing the amount of assignments it would be given out. As discussed in a recent article, this has left a fair amount of writers without a significant source of income. While that article focused a bit more on Demand’s strategy as a business, we wanted to take a closer look at some perspectives from the writers.

Many have expressed frustration. Some have gone so far as to accuse Demand Media of lying at worst or misleading at best. Others think such claims are way off base. In this article, we’ll take a look at these different points of view.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments. And if you find this subject interesting, please don’t hesitate to share it on Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter, +1, etc.

A writer, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells WebProNews, “I’ve been writing for Demand Studios since 2009 and have only used the income for pocket money, however recently I intended to expand my writing with them. In May 2011 I qualified to write for eHow Money a specialized category for writers with professional experience and the appropriate credentials in addition to my current status as a general writer.”

“I retired as an Assistant Vice President in 2008 from a corporate career in Financial Services in mutual funds from a major financial institution,” they added. “I was a licensed registered principal and have over 30 years experience in financial services and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. My attention was to fulfill a lifelong goal to pursue a fulltime writing career post-retirement. I’ve had extensive business writing experience so I qualified very easily for the general writing and subsequently eHow Money based on my writing ability, business experience and education.”

The writer tells us that they, along with may other Demand Studios writers received vague responses when expressing concern at the lack of assignments. They said they felt “they were being strung along, which is akin to lying.”

“They continually developed new writing categories (eHow Money [and] eHow Garden are examples) as the titles disappeared and the promises that they were providing a better writing experience for their freelance writers,” the writer tells us. “Specifically, shortly after I qualified for eHow Money I contacted the editorial staff because the titles for this category were drastically reduced, and questioned them about qualifying me for a category when the titles were rapidly disappearing. Their response was that they were sorry but working on getting titles out. This is basically the standard response [to] all of their writers when the quantity of titles are questioned. It’s almost as if all of the changes for ‘new writing opportunities’ were a coverup when they were actually taking away the writing opportunities at the same time.”

The writer says Demand Media raised the pay for eHow Money articles, but that there were “no articles to write”.

“Many of the writers were optimistic and waited patiently,” the writer says. “Some writers also encouraged others that more titles would be available via our writers’ forum. There were a significant number of writers earning enough money to pay a good portion of their bills…Writers sincerely believed that they could depend on Demand Studios and continued to write for them because they are one of the few online organizations that pay upfront.”

The writer says they expected this when Demand Media went public and the Panda Update came. “I instinctively knew this was going to be a disaster.”

“It is also very important for the writing community to understand that Demand Studios had and still has writers who provide them with content of the highest professional quality,” the writer adds.

“I’m done with them and will not devote my energy to a company any longer who has no respect for its writers,” the writer tells us. “They’re still making money tens of times over the amount they paid me and all of the other writers.”

This is just the perspective from one writer, but we have seen plenty of other similar tales. Noah Davis at Business Insider shares a response to the freelancer backlash from Demand Media’s Chief Revenue Officer Joanne Bradford: “It’s still one of the largest pools of writing assignments available in the world. We don’t feel like it’s that dramatic of a change because it’s not like every assignment was being taken.”

Our anonymous writer says the response is an “insult.” Davis says he heard from other writers that the quote was “hilarious to those of us who are still working for [Demand Studios].”

Bradford is also quoted as saying, “The folks that are more generalists and have written the short-form how-to articles are finding less assignments. This goes hand-in-hand with our quality improvement and focus on using people who have expertise about the topics they write about.”

Not all Demand Studios writers are so upset though. Some don’t feel that they’ve been misleading at all.

Ken Crawford of The Freelancer Today, for example, has been writing for Demand since July of 2009, and says Demand was his “bread and butter” for quite some time. He acknowledges that things have changed, but he still writes for Demand on a regular basis, he says.

“The perception of whether Demand lied to writers or not, depends on who you ask,” Crawford tells WebProNews. “To be honest, Demand never lied to anybody or made statements that promised one thing while delivering another. Many of the writers that are accusing Demand of lying are ones who are finding themselves without work. Many of these writers are ones who didn’t apply the guidelines, had high percentages of abandoned rewrites/rejections or were basically writing the thinnest content just to grab the $15 justifying it with ‘you get what you pay for.’ Granted $15 is not a lot for content, but if the writer agrees to the rate of pay they should still put out quality work. Nothing is hidden.”

“Demand has not hidden the fact that changes were coming,” he adds. “Even in the latest announcement, the people claiming lies only scanned the information instead of actually reading it. Ehow is not going away, but there will be less title availability. Face it there are only so many ways you can write ‘How To Boil an Egg’ before you finally have to move on to ‘How To Peel a Boiled Egg.'”

eHow has been talking about its content clean-up initiative for a good portion of the year. This includes the deletion of at least 300,000 articles and a feedback feature that tells the company when users are unsatisfied with content, so it can then be more heavily scrutinized and either deleted or edited as necessary.

“While Demand hasn’t come out and spelled out specifically what they are doing in detail, they haven’t outright lied to anybody,” says Crawford. “People make assumptions on limited knowledge. People make accusations out of fear and anger.”

“The work is still there,” he adds. “I, like many other writers, manage to keep my queue filled daily and write consistently. Sure there are issues with editing consistency and so forth, but the work is there for those that work within the system.”

In our previous article, we mentioned the potential financial impact on Demand Media. Is it possible that less assignments means less growth?

“My gut feeling is that this is a good move for Demand,” says Crawford. “It will ‘weed’ out writers who are simply there to put words on a screen for a quick buck. Demand is making efforts to match both writers and editors in their fields of expertise. It’s a growing process and one that is not without it’s challenges. But looking at it long-term, I believe it will benefit not only Demand Studios and it’s writers but also the reader. Less articles at the moment generated for eHow will bring better quality and, one would hope, more value to the reader.”

“Demand Studios is accountable to the shareholders and not just themselves,” he adds. “While the ‘creative’ plan to show profit over 5 years on content is nice, it is vital that they show profit now. It’s business. They will concentrate in areas that give more of a return on investment. Ehow is still a big part of that process, and as far as I can see it will continue to be a big part.”

Crawford also wanted to make one last point about his own position.

“People tend to think I’m a cheerleader or somehow stir the vat of the DMS Kool-Aid,” he says. “My only affiliation with Demand is that of a service provider, plain and simple. The fact is, Demand fills a void for writers. Unfortunately the way the system was set-up in the past, it also provided income for those who simply wanted to make a quick buck. Regardless if you agree to write for $15 or $100, the end result of a writer’s work should be the same. It’s about quality. It’s about bringing value to your client and the readers. If $15 is beneath you, don’t write for Demand Studios.”

A lot of writers apparently don’t feel like they have much of a choice.

Jennifer Mattern at AllFreelanceWriting.com writes, “I’ve also seen writers’ responses to this news. On one hand it’s difficult for me to have sympathy when we’ve spent so much time and energy here helping writers improve their freelance businesses. The information is out there — not only here, but from many great freelancers such as Lori Widmer, Anne Wayman, and Peter Bowerman, and the folks at Freelance Zone, Freelance Folder, and Freelance Switch. If you want to be a more successful freelance writer, you have seemingly endless information available to help you do that.”

“On the other hand, I can’t help but sympathize with some of these writers,” she says. “The news came somewhat suddenly and not long before the holidays. While it’s true no one should have been relying too heavily on any single client, content mill or not, I know they’ll have a tough road ahead as their own business models are forced into a period of transition.”

It’s not a simple situation. There are other opportunities out there for freelance writers though, and it’s clear that quality is a highly sought after quality to have. I suggest continue improving your skills and writing about what you know about. Prove to your prospective clients that they would be better off with your content.

Content can still goes a long way on the web.

What is your position on this discussion? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Demand Media Writers Offer Different Viewpoints of Assignment Reduction
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  • Simon T.

    Laughable comments from Kenneth Crawford.

    There’s a thin line between “outright lie” and “exceptionally misleading”.

    For example: With a day’s notice, Demand removed 30,000+ LiveStrong article titles on some vaguely defined premise of quality control. In their announcement email they assured writers that titles would be back in “two or three days”.

    Weeks later, still no sign of LiveStrong articles. Forum posts suggest that a pool of hundreds of writers are picking from as little as 50 new titles per day.

    Exceptionally misleading.

    “To be honest, Demand never lied to anybody or made statements that promised one thing while delivering another.”

    Beware anyone that starts a sentence with “to be honest”.

    • Pro Writer

      I hear that California now offers unemployment pay to independent contractors. True?

    • Hank

      This company lied to potential investors in their Form S-1, so why would anyone think they wouldn’t lie to people they think so little of that they pay them $15 an article?

  • Jane Doe

    Kenneth is not being entirely truthful. I’ve been a contractor with Demand since 2008, longer than he has, and have permissions as both a writer and copy editor. When he says “the work is there for those that [sic] work within the system,” that is simply not true — right now, there are zero titles available in the general eHow queue, zero titles available for eHow Business & Personal Finance, zero titles available for Livestrong and Livestrong Nutrition, and zero titles available in specialty segments such as Chron and Travel Beta. The only verticals that still have titles are Technology Beta, eHow Home & Garden and Automotive Beta, and none of those verticals has seen a substantial title drop in weeks; additionally, all of those require special permissions, which are awarded in an arbitrary and seemingly meaningless process — I was automatically ushered into Auto Beta, even though I don’t even drive, while qualified mechanics who write for Demand were turned down. A more accurate assessment would be that currently there is work available for writers & editors with access to those three verticals, which is not the majority of Demand contractors. Additionally, the community manager has confirmed that titles will also be sharply declining for these three verticals; given that there are NO titles elsewhere in the system (and I have permissions for most projects), it seems that there will soon be little to no work available for anyone. The company has more than 10,000 active writers and editors, and they’re only making a few hundred articles a day available now.

    As far as the lies go, yes, Demand has lied to their contractors. Copy editors noticed titles started sharply declining this spring; instead of being forthright about the fact that the company had begun reducing the number of titles available to writers, Demand first blamed technical issues, then said that writers were simply on “summer vacation” and thus writing fewer articles. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.

    A better example of the company’s lies can be found right on Demand Media Studios’ own homepage. Under the Copy Editor application section, it promises “an abundant pool of diverse editing assignments” and “regular work” — neither of which are available or have been available for months. The company’s FAQ page says “We have hundreds of thousands of available assignments” — again, this hasn’t been true since before summer began.

    • Carol Frome

      Well said. Having been privy to the inner workings of DMS from the writers’ end, I can say that this is an honest, accurate comment.

    • Hank

      “A more accurate assessment would be that currently there is work available for writers & editors with access to those three verticals,”

      Actually, Jane, the most honest thing this company could do right now is to advertise for Tech writers, as that is where most of the titles are. Then, they should aggressively advertise for carpenters and plumbers because 99 percent of the Home and Garden titles are geared toward them. It’s a dream category if you are a builder or plumber. Otherwise, you are as bad off as you would be if you didn’t have Home and Garden permissions.

  • http://www.theentrepreneurshub.com Denise

    The writers who are devastated now are the same ones who had no sympathy when a bunch of writers were fired at mass. You would like to think that the sudden mass firings were a sign, but I guess not. I still do have pity for those are panicked. I know that most will overcome this.

  • Ritchie Rosenblatt

    Crawford is a rube. His useless opinions are not borne out by facts or any knowledge of the way corporations, particularly this one, actually work.

    As a writer, he is perfect for Demand Studios, a purveyor of mediocrity at best. Read some of this guy’s stuff with a straight face, if you can. The guy can barely get subject-verb agreement together. His writing, like his views on Demand Studios, is stilted, awkward and typically just plain wrong.

    Crawford acts like he fell off a hay wagon, landed on his head and had the epiphany that something he once read in a 1974 marketing text that he dug out of a dumpster in the back of a community college, would be his ticket to financial freedom.

    Be a zombie if you wanna, but heed this hillbilly’s advice at your own financial peril.

  • Conscientious Objector

    Ken, do you ever stop talking? STFU already.

  • Disgruntled DMS Writer

    Ken, unless you believe in Socialism for big businesses, then no, $15 should not buy the same article that $100 buys.

    This guy starts and abandons a new SEO spam blog all the time. The Internet is littered with his trash. The supposedly helpful articles he writes about freelancing are driveling, poorly written garbage with overly high keyword densities. He even has the keywords bright red on the page on some of his sites, oh gawd how awful. Then he has the gall to pretend like the writers who complain just couldn’t hack it. Here’s a message to you: some of the biggest complainers also have the best scores, the best permissions and the best paychecks. We’re not dumb people, Ken. In case you haven’t been following the news lately, there’s a lot to be angry about, and DMS is part of that culture of corporate irresponsibility.

    It wasn’t my goal to become a writer, but it was a paying job in a poor economy. If Demand Media even tried one iota to make it more professional, we might all still have work. Or most of us. I have work for now, but it’s quickly dwindling. I won’t stick around for any more lies about “summer slumps” and “technical difficulties,” though. I’m on my way out.

  • Freelance Guy

    Crawford’s just the biggest joke in the DMS writing community and, believe me, that’s a title with some pretty stiff competition.

  • Phoenix Rising

    I toiled on the content farm that is Demand Media only so long as necessary to pay off some debts and build up a cash reserve when the economy tanked. The company is managed by churlish children. The content editors, collectively, are some of the most jaw-droppingly stupid individuals in the history of publishing, I swear to almighty Gawd; no hyperbole.

    Content “editors” at this joke of a company routinely pose value-added questions such as “What is engineering? Provide two references,” or such legendary gems as, “before you prepare the buffalo wings, you must tell the reader how to remove the wings from the buffalo. Please rewrite and add references.”

    And my personal favorite: “Does the back button take the web user to the previous web page? If so, please add this step, including how to press this button, where it is located any any other useful identifying factors, including the color or colors of the button. Does the button make a sound when it is pressed? Are there any circumstances under which pressing the back button might cause injury or harm? Include references.”

    This is the caliber of content “editor” who pulls down the handsome salary of $4 per edited article to muck up a writer’s work. To call them fools would be inadequate. To say they are stupid hardly does justice to the word.

    Exploring the Demand Media forums, you will meet all manner of lunatic, basement dweller, malcontent, unhinged, quasi-religious freak, individuals with diseases of the body and the mind, hypochondriacs, the arrogant, the desperate and the merely dumb. The forums are toxic places where individuals argue endlessly about meaningless topics, then squeal like pigs dipped in hot oil when they have neither monmey nor titles to write — if they were even inclined to write them. Or could.

    You cannot make up this stuff. I dare you even to try.

    As for Kenneth Crawford, he has no idea what he is talking about. His blogs and advice are useless. He comes off like a loser.

    I suspect if there was a contest for World’s Greatest Loser, Kenneth Crawford would still come in second place.


    • CK

      Awesome post. Really.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      I’ve been wondering about that ‘back button’!

      Always afraid to click it thinking it would erase my copy of the Internet. I don’t worry anymore, I’ve got the entire Internet backed up on a 3-1/2 in floppy, double sided. ;-)

      It appears though that low pay was not only responsible for lower quality content from those only in it to make a few easy bucks but also editors making so little while still having to have something to show for it, i.e. a number of critiques per article whether justified or not.

      Who’s editing the editors?

  • http://www.freelancewrite.about.com Allena

    When I first read these comments, I thought it was Mean Girls meets freelance writers. However, let’s just say that people’s writing speak for itself…or, well, it speaks for them.

    I am a professional, full time, 6-year veteran writer with clients such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Gale Cengage. I am the Guide at the New York Times’ About.com channel on freelance writing, where I teach new and intermediate writers how to make this career work. I also teach classes like ‘Writing for Magazines’ and ‘How to Write and Publish eBooks’ for my local community college. My POINT though is that I know this career, inside and out. What Demand Studios has is pure and simple: fast pay for those who can’t /won’t/ or don’t know how to budget well. And that’s not even an insult- I GET it. Many of my clients pay me in 30, 60 or even 90 days. It’s a serious PITA.

    My other point is !come visit me and start building your freelance career in a more sustainable, diversified way.

    • Tom

      Really? You aren’t a very good writer, based on what we see here.

      • Reno Berkeley

        And you are? She’s pretty well-known in the writing community and makes good money. Do you? Or are you just going to sit around and bitch and moan all day?

        • Shovel Head Thumpity Thump

          Reno toots, you best be working on your own shitty blogs and gather/examiner columns, or whatever else it you do that you call “writing.” And get a pen name that doesn’t sound like a stripper’s moniker while your at it.

      • http://www.freelancewrite.about.com allena tapia

        calm down there tom, it’s a blog comment! if I were a shitty writer, I’d probably have time to perfect it and edit it to your liking, but given that your not paying me, shortcuts it is!!!!!

        google me. my clients adore.

    • Snort.

      About.com? Congratulations, that is the second biggest joke on the Internet, after Demand Studios. Oooh, thank you for this opportunity to learn from the second-worst “infotainment” website. The New York Times should be ashamed for its involvement in the About.com foolishness. AND you teach at as community college. Wow.

      Whoopie-f**king-doo. I’ll take my chances with the 2012 Writer’s Market and you can go to hell.

      • http://www.freelancewrite.about.com allena tapia

        well, snort, you do that, I’m in Writers Market too. Don’t you look dumb now? Hope you had a nice little conniption when you ran into my name there:)

        And the paycheck with the New York Times logo on it pays my mortgage, plus some, so… eh…. if you don’t want to read About.com, then don’t. Obviously plenty do.

  • http://loriwidmer.blogspot.com Lori

    The reactions by Demand writers seem extreme, especialy given how many of them defended the Demand business model as others were trying to tell them to better themselves. That said, they now have a choice to make – create a career they’re in charge of or wait for something like Demand to come along again.

    If they’re opting for the former, there are volumes of resources written for DM writers willing to put the time and effort into a better career. People like Allena Tapia, Jenn Mattern, Anne Wayman, Peter Bowerman, Kimberly Ben and me have blogs devoted to helping them build better careers, and every one of us is eager to help.

    There’s a better way. There always has been. Maybe some writers enjoy the hit-and-miss, low-pressure, low-paid gigs and don’t care. That’s fine. But for those who do care, help is here for you.

    • Snort.

      Yes, because nothing is quite so impressive as a free Google blog to promote yourself, eh, Lori? You and Allena, below, are as comical as Kenneth Crwaford and his freelance writin’ website. Bunch of self-aggrandizing buffoons, the lot of you.

      I’ve got fifty bucks says you didn’t clear $50,000 last year.

      • http://loriwidmer.blogspot.com Lori

        You’re out fifty bucks,dude.

        • Sure.

          Prove it, you dumb cooze. Link to a Form 1040 or STFU, preferably both.

      • http://www.freelancewrite.about.com allena tapia

        50,000 is only average for how many years I’ve been in the biz, and I’d almost say that’s LOW for Lori.

        see, if you read about.com, you’d SEE the proof. I have income reports from all kinds of writers.

        but, you know, go back to your writers market. enjoy my quotes in there!

  • Tamerlane Brixby

    Ken is quick to defend DMS when he gets a soundbite or has a chance to sound like he knows anything about writing. When things aren’t popping up roses though he’ll talk about how stupid the CE’s are and how the people who run the company don’t know what’s going on and how the entire company’s been ruined by corporate greed.

    Essentially, the author of this piece picked pretty much the absolute worst source of a counterpoint in support of DMS as he could. He would have been better off just emailing one of the DMS staff and asking for a generic soundbite since at least that would be more respectable than relying on Ken.

  • Tom

    I was a writer for Demand Studios since 2009. I wrote hundreds of articles, mostly for Livestrong. For the past 3 weeks there have been hardly any articles to write, and none for Livestrong. DS has been stringing writers along, promising more articles, and that they are restructuring.
    After doing some research online, I discovered they are simply going in a new direction, away from written material, and more towards video and other media. We have all been misled.
    I began to speak out about this on their Facebook page, and then suddenly, I received an email from DS saying they have removed my writer privilege based on my performance. For the record, I have only had 4 rejected articles out of hundreds over 2 years. And 2 of those were my first week, when I was still learning their standards.
    It is a shame what DS has done, they should be honest about what is happening.
    I suspect more writers will be let go soon, as more and more complaints arise. They are thinning out the herd.

    • Tamerlane Brixby

      No need to search online. They said in their big letter thing that Jordan posted in the forum that they were moving to things like videos and slide shows.

      • http://fotozine.eu Rae Merrill

        I guess that’s because a picture is worth a thousand words.

    • Anthony Barriste

      Ah, so there; someone’s finally clarified DM’s intentions. Thank you, Tom, for your very plausible explanation re: DM. I believe this makes more sense than anything else I’ve read.

  • glorybug

    You make some good points. Hmm. On my workdesk the application for ‘freelance copy editing’ says-
    Edit article topics of your choice
    Enjoy the benefits of regular work
    Log in and edit anytime from anywhere
    Receive payments twice a week
    Obtain opportunities for advancement

    No mention of “an abundant pool of diverse editing assignments”. Maybe they deleted that claim recently. On the cover page a pop-up does state “the reliability of consistent work”. Funny, since recently there have been more than one CE begging on the forums for writers to submit something, so that they’d have something to edit. It does quote some CE as saying, “…where else can you edit a gardening piece, a computer how-to and a travel story in succession!…” That would explain the complete inconsistency of the CEs at DMS. CEs editing content they know absolutely nothing about, according to whatever rules they feel like applying. Also, I could be wrong, but I think the exclamation point should be a question mark. What do I know? I’m not a DMS CE. Oh, I also notice that they’ve removed reference to their ‘insurance’ benefits. Probably because that was a joke, as well.

    Concerning writers, the application states, “Our assignments cover a wide variety of topics and categories, allowing writers to execute on the topics most relevant to their expertise.”, and “See your articles and byline on popular sites connected to celebrities like Rachael Ray and Tyra Banks, or have your work featured on top sites covering travel, business or tech.”

    None of this is true, though I’m glad that they removed the claim that you could find consistent full-time or part-time work. The problem with what the page now says is that it isn’t true. You cannot just write for any section you want. Despite holding a cosmetology license, and having been published in vegetarian cookbooks and magazines, I was not approved to write food in Rachael Ray or Livestrong Nutrition or beauty articles for Tyra. Other people, who never wrote about those topics, had no interest in them, and mainly wrote tech or auto titles were approved for those sites. On the other hand, I was approved to write utility tech articles for White Fence, despite never having written on that topic, and not being qualified to. DMS section approval (what they like to call segmentation) is just one big hot mess.

    It is ridiculous that they are advertising for writers when they claim to have a pool of 10k already. Many of whom have no access to H&G or tech, the only areas that even have any titles. They were good enough writers to pump out crap for you before, but not good enough for those sections?

    Finally, Kenneth Crawford is essentially pulling stuff out of his *ss, hoping that being quoted will lead to people visiting his website and clicking on some ads. He isn’t telling the truth, because the truth is that DMS is, and has been, lying about a lot of things to their freelance force. It’s nothing new. They lied in the past about not duping eHow WCP articles on their UK site (and not paying the revenue for them), they lied and said they weren’t planning to shut down the WCP, they lied about how they weren’t using peoples’ own article photos on other articles and as backlinks, and they lied about what they were using the writer profiles for. All summer they lied about the lack of titles being due to writers being on vacation, and then due to some glitch. They lied and said LS titles would be back up in 2 days. Kenneth knows that they are lying. I might be a huge PITA, but I am consistent with the things I say about DMS. Kenneth says whatever he thinks someone wants to hear, as long as he thinks it will drive traffic to his poorly designed, poorly written website. As someone else mentioned, you couldn’t have picked a worse candidate for ‘the other side’ viewpoint. My suspicion is that he volunteered, in order to be able to mention the drab uninformative drivel that he calls a website. Nothing against him personally, but I don’t like people who lie to drive traffic to their sites, and I loathe poorly designed sites created for the sole reason of trying to sell some crappy e-book or to get people to click on ads. And then claim they’re successful writers.

    Bottom line- Yes, DMS lies. Constantly.

    • Jane Doe

      Glorybug — the “diverse pool” statement is still there, under the “Why Demand Media?” section. It says “Demand Media Studios writers create more than 5,000 articles a day, which we distribute to an audience of more than 50 million people across popular sites like eHow.com, USAToday.com and LIVESTRONG.com. All this translates to an abundant pool of diverse editing assignments.”

      Something tells me that writers probably aren’t submitting more than 5,000 articles a day any more…that’s another statement that likely hasn’t been true since spring.

    • DMS writer

      Glorybug, aren’t you banned from DMS anyway because of how rude you are and unable to follow the guidelines?….

      • glorybug

        No, I’m not banned from DMS. I am banned from the DMS FORUMS until next week. And yes, apparently someone reported me for being rude. I could stand to work on tact, but I don’t suffer fools lightly, and tend to use colorful language.

        As far as following the guidelines, the fact that I can still write there, am in special sections, and have solid green scores, no rejections and a 10% re-write rate would suggest that I am perfectly capable of following writing guidelines.

        Being polite to idiots on forums? Not so much. But, thanks so much for asking about me.

        @Jane Doe — Ah, I see that now. Also, on their FAQ page it says they have “…hundreds of thousands of available assignments”. They might want to change that, too.

        I’m not cacking on DMS. I sometimes actually enjoy writing articles for them. I do have a problem with their lack of transparency, and what appears often to be outright lying/misleading about issues.

        • Dearest GloryBug

          How is it that all your rhetorical exertions comes off as though they dripped from your gloryhole.

          Really, who gives a fuck what you think?

          • glorybug

            Probably the same people who couldn’t give a shit what you think about anything.

            Seriously- you logged in just to say that?

    • Hank

      Not only is it ridiculous that they are advertising for writers when there isn’t enough work for their current pool, but that they created a new “training program” for these new writers to write titles that don’t exist is more than a bit confusing.

  • Jenn

    I started writing for DMS in 2008, after working for another company contracted through the site. The funny thing is that the other site required much more work, research and better writing for the same level of pay. I also wrote for eHow independently until the end of the WCP.

    DMS routinely screwed me over the years. I earned special writing privileges and had them revoked. I wrote hundreds of articles on one program, which just so happened to focus on an area I worked in for seven years. One user sent an email complaint that an article I wrote was not correct and bam, I was done. I sent information that verified the validity of the article, but never heard back.

    Including special projects, smaller articles and regular articles, I wrote several thousand articles over the years, while still working for other companies. In that time, DMS was never my highest earner, but a place I went when work lacked in other areas.

    I have a low rewrite/rejection write, but I know without a doubt that I will be one of the writers “cut” from the site soon. DMS promises to put people in their field of expertise, but how can they? I wrote on dozens of topics over the years, have degrees in multiple fields and worked in several fields, plus own my own business.

    I think that DMS will look for people with experience in one specific area and remove those with experience in multiple fields. That, or the site will wait until most of the writers leave, block their writing access, and then release titles to new writers with little to no experience that will not complain.

  • KennethCrockford

    Kenneth, how much is Demand paying you to put their cock in your mouth? Or are you just a deluded simpleton?

  • KennethCrockford

    Ha, I just posted a disagreement on his blog, and apparently he censors the comments. Way to go Ken. You have no problem putting yourself out there, but your precious ego can’t handle criticism.

  • http://www.nortoncreative.com/rubberchicken/ Brad Norton

    I started writing articles for Demand Media last year as a way to keep my writing and research skills honed. As a technical writer, I looked at it as a way to work with an editor and practice web writing skills. (Yes, writing for the web is different!) I received writing scores and feedback. I feel that my experience helped me as a writer.

    I was curious how long Demand Media would offer assignments once I heard that Google was going to target content farms. For-profit companies must always evaluate how they spend their cash. If $15 spent for an article is cheaper and receives more hits than spending $15 elsewhere, then the article is written. If that incentive is pulled, then the resources must be changed, or Demand Media would be risking their business.

    I also received the e-mail about “Exciting Changes to Your Digital Portfolio” from Demand Media. They talked about networking, using Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. to become known as a writer. It is interesting that they didn’t even hint about writing for pay with Demand Media…

    I am now writing for Every Office Needs a Rubber Chicken! Practical Project Management in a Chaotic World. Writers always need to go to where the business is. Nothing’s stable for very long.

  • Mom Zomb

    I’m sure Crawford thinks that sucking DMS c*ck so hard that the bell end is embedded in his larynx will save him from the cull. However, the guy can’t string together a coherent sentence — just look at his LinkedIn profile for Lulz — so even his uber brown-nosing is unlikely to spare him.

    • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob Rodriguez

      They (whomever “they” are) say that people who feel the need to swear every other word suffer from a deficient vocabulary.

      • Mom Zomb’s Bastard Son


        Go fuck yourself.

        Cogitate on that, ya microcephalic, slope-browed, incorrigible, pompus douchebag.

  • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob Rodriguez

    Quality vs. Quantity

    The writer in this article makes it very clear that his background is “Financial Services in mutual funds from a major financial institution” he goes on the say he was a VP, licensed, etc.

    Now he is retired (voluntarily?), and write for e-How. Now he wants to expand his assignments to include “gardening?” I suppose any assignment will do.

    I do understand that many people are looking for work but maybe the gardening articles should be written by a horticulturalist. Unless there are no unemployed horticulturalists that is……….. Just a thought.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      You might want to read the article again. No where does the financial expert say he was going or wanted to write gardening articles. The mentioning of gardening was just an example of categories being added and/or disappearing.

  • http://roadsong.tripod.com Betty J. Curtis

    If you choke the creative voice of the writers, there is NO front
    ofice exec who can replace them. It isn’t too complex – you have to
    be sure your creative source is secure . . . and receiving fair pay.
    Execs are not free from formula in their function . . .they think in
    formula and total in blockbuster junk, whether truly good quality or
    not. This type of progression is non-progressive and is the root of
    the “dumbing-down” on the increase all the time.
    Just my opinion. Everyone has that right still… I hope !

  • rw

    I feel for all these and so many other persons situations in this depression (and Google money grab) – I was laid off at the very beginning of it from a 10 year contract in IT that was promised to take me to retirement a few years down the road … BUT the first rule in a bad economy is you can not rely on outside sources for income, especially one big one, you have to diversify, develop your own clients, resources and “recurring” income – service businesses of most any kind are best that have low entry costs and immediately income for services rendered. You may have to be willing to work very long hours for little pay to get established, to take the hits and set backs, the abuse till you get over the hump and have a solid customer base that appreciates you … I’m not ranting on anyone just hoping to point those interested in a positive direction. I personally almost puke at the thought of working for any corporation and have most all my life as I saw little real commitment to the work force and a value system completely opposite to my own

    • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob Rodriguez

      You make a lot of sense. Good Luck to you!

  • http://www.morganstjames-author.com Annonymous

    I wrote over 50 eHow articles for Demand Studios, at least one-half of which were accepted without any edits. Then the management changed, and I made the mistake by misinterpreting the intent of an article. When I was advised by the editor where I’d gone wrong, I realized I was out of my depth on that one and said I would withdraw from that article. Next I received some very instulting comments from the editor and I complained. Shortly after that I was placed on probation, and had to write three articles to requalify myself. Only one of the three required edits. I was notified that I could no longer write for Demand Studios as I didn’t fit their guidelines. Hmmm.

  • tara

    I, too, had signed up for Demand Studios a while back. I never really saw it as a good income source because the entire writer/editor process is a recipe for disaster.

    A company shouldn’t put a five-word title out there, expect a writer to guess at how to write it and then ask the writer to sit back for a slap in the face it if isn’t exactly what the company envisioned.

    Successful writers and editors work as a team and communicate UPFRONT. Then if the focus of an article changes, it is mutually agreed upon, or one side presents a case to the other for why it should or shouldn’t be changed. This is all part of a normal editing process. A lot of wanna-be writers don’t know this and so they get suckered into these systems. A healthy editor-writer relationship does not include punishing the writer for an occasional typo by giving him or her point reductions on a score sheet.

    The above model is a way to keep people on as independent contracts and keep turnover high, thereby avoiding ever having to pay benefits or employment taxes.

    It says a lot about the state of our country and the treatment of its workforce. People are being reduced to living and breathing inventory that turn a profit for someone else. When they’re burned out and used up, simply wash, rinse and repeat.

    I also find it ridiculous that these freelance writing “advice sites” keep claiming that they have an answer. These people are coming in as the second round of vampires, offering their own magic bullet for success.

    Long-time writers know that the days of $500 a pop stories for trade publications and others — or even $75 freelance news stories — are all but gone. If the money was truly out there, these people would be actually writing. Instead they are trying to make money off of their own “How To” articles and ebooks on freelance writing. It’s really similar to Ehow; it’s just packaged differently.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to make money off of individual clients. But it sure is a lot more difficult today.

    If you plan on doing freelance writing today, in this economy, I truly hope you have a very large bank account, a spouse who is very gainfully employed, or a trust fund. The opportunities for well-paying writing jobs are not out there, at least not like they used to be.

    It is all very sad and it is happening across virtually all industries. But that is another story.

    • Jeanne

      Tara, you hit the nail on the head and that’s exactly what I stopped writing for Demand. Their “editorial” process was for the birds. Half the time, the editor changed my correct grammar to incorrect grammar, or demanded citations for something that didn’t need them. And most of the time, my work wasn’t reviewed by the same editor twice in a row, so it was like a spin of the roulette wheel to see if my content would “pass” or “fail.” The writer ranking system was also highly insulting and arbitrary.

  • http://fotozine.eu Rae Merrill

    If you pay peanuts you get monkeys as the saying goes. It’s easy to hack out any old rubbish but better researched and investigated articles take time and effort. To get that quality you need to pay a reasonable fee. You don’t get anything for nothing.

    However I am interested in any suitable submissions for my website. But not rubbish!

  • http://www.atsol.co.in kapil mastana

    The Number One Telecom Service Provider Company in Complete Telecom Solutions (Like – Network planning, design, Infrastructure building, project deployment, NW optimization, BSS installation , expansion services, staffing , Consulting service, Telecom Trainings)India.
    Aditya Telecom Solutions is India’s No.1 and renowned RF training centre for all the engineering graduates. Aditya Telecom Solutions provide qualitative and job oriented training to the engineering fresher’s in accordance with the requirement of Telecom industry. Students will get hands on experiences on RF survey, Installation and Commissioning, Microwave Linking, Drive Test Techniques and LIVE on-site training.

  • http://www.hemorrhoidinformationcenter.com Mitchell Rimland

    Figures. Demand Media management treating writers like crap. I know of at least 25 articles that came from Demand Media that used my sites articles as the main source of information. I know they write for Lance Armstrong’s site (Livestrong.com) and I think E-how or Ask.com, whatever. D.M. author’s state references and sources (citations) at the end of their posts which is correct. However D.M. webmasters now put a “No Follow” link on them, which to me is totally uncool. I wrote a letter to them and never heard back. For a while before the “Panda update” they could use my site info for the bulk of their research post a similar article and rank above me (and a no-follow link to boot) THANKS!!!! lol
    Content farms, got to love them.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      I think whatever ‘author’ plagiarized your work is more responsible although whomever the editors and those who approve articles should at least put forth a minimum amount of effort to ensure copy isn’t being stolen from elsewhere.

      eHow wasn’t a scrape site, someone getting paid for the content they provided to eHow is responsible.

  • http://www.jlangwood.com J. Wood

    Demand studios have an abnormal amount of ‘cheerleaders’ on the forum boards that make it difficult to actually assess how writers and editors are managing new systems. This has the effect of making anyone who complains an ‘outlier.’ Not sure that this attitude works to make it a more viable content company.

  • http://www.medicaltranscription-services.net Medical Transcription Services

    When you work for someone else you are always going to be subjected to the vagaries of the market place. Do not rely on an employer. Develop multiple sources of income and your own information products. I had the opportunity to pursue a career with Demand Studios and decided against it because I wanted to control my own destiny with my own business and multiple sources of income.

  • Susan

    I wrote articles for eHow too and in the end, they emailed me with an offer to buy all my articles for two months worth of payments–take it or leave it. I took it because I had nowhere else to submit them anyway. It seems like they planned it so that writers would fill the internet with eHow articles on a promise of continual payments through ad clicks, and then when the money started rolling in, they bought everyone off for small price and now get to keep all the income for themselves.

    If they got rid of so many writers because their articles were of “thin content”, as Crawford insists, why did they want to keep my work, but did not want pay me like they promised? They were greedy, plain and simple.

    I can still find my articles on eHow, but my name isn’t on them. They own my work as if I never wrote it. They ought to be sued.

  • Chiquita

    I can assure you that Demand Studios does indeed LIE to its writers, so no clue what this Crawford guy is talking about. For instance, when DMS recently cut back on articles on Livestrong, they indicated that it would be for TWO to THREE days. It wasn’t until three WEEKS later that any articles started to drip in at a rate of between 70 to 200 per day — that’s down from 20+ thousand articles at the time when the articles were first yanked. Most recently, they have started a program called FIRST LOOK, in which only writers with a particular score on their scorecard will be able to get first pick of new articles for the first 48 hours. FOR MONTHS, DMS told writers not to worry about too much about their scorecards, in part because writers have consistently complained that it is inconsistent and arbitrary and that their work is often scored by editors who misinterpret guidelines and are not familiar with AP or DMS house style. Now, apparently, writers do have to worry about their scorecards as getting any assignments at all will be based on them. If those aren’t lies, I don’t know what is.

    The company treats its writers in a most unethical, disrespectful way and any celebrity attached to it, from Tyra Banks to Lance Armstrong to Rachel Ray, should know their names are directly linked to what is nothing more than an online sweatshop.

  • jane

    my-sisters friend makes-$59-every hour on the-computer. She has been-fired from work for-6-months but last-month her-income was-$6626-just working on the computer for a few-hours. Read about it-here CashHard.cøm

  • http://www.kocstil.com/Dolaplar BĂĽro Mobilyaları

    Thanks , I’ve just been looking for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  • omnibomber

    Si prega di cancellare questo thread per errore inviato un torto :)



    This a great post – thanks for publishing it. On a side note does anyone know about the Bankers Life . I heard they have good products for life insurance & annuities and they have local agents who help in retirement planning. Any feedback about them is greatly appreciated.

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