Those dreaded content mills. Many writers have a sort of love-and-hate relationship with them. Love, because there is often a plethora of work available. Hate, because the paying rates are at rock-bottom and freelancers working there feel like they have been catapulted to an earlier generation and are now slaving away in some sweat-shop in some rat-infested dark building, with only the computer in front of them to remind of the current day and age.
Doubt gnaws away at the heart and mind of those unfortunate writers who have been abducted to work at the writing factories. Should I continue? Is this writing thing for real?
You see, these writing mills, such as iWriter and many others of their ilk, pay their writers what any decent person would be ashamed of saying to your face. iWriter starts their writers off at less than half a cent per word for 500 words, and the poor writer must endure this insanity for at least the next 25 articles they write. Not much improves after they receive that long-awaited raise to between slightly less than a cent per word to less than two cents per word.
And there is more. iWriter allows their clients to reject any article that doesn’t meet their liking, and the end result is that a very large percentage of articles are indeed rejected, for unknown reasons. Even worse, some clients get away with rejecting articles and using them anyway. (Listen, I know what I’m saying – it has happened to me.)
iWriter is just one of the better-known examples. There are so many other content mills out there that are not much better.
Many writers get fooled and end up working for these exploitation factories.
What Has Lead To This Situation?
There are two reasons one can point to: the need for many SEO articles devoid of quality and the fact that the supply (of writers) is greater than the demand (of clients). In fact, these two are supplemented by each other.
You see, website owners are looking for keyword stuffed articles that will fill up their website and hopefully bring in visitors and revenue. They need many articles and are not willing to pay a high price for quality articles.
There are also many people who are short of cash and are looking for ways to make some extra income online.
The need of SEO content + people willing to work online = content mills.
This is bad because one, two, three cents per post is simply so low that it is impossible to imagine. How can anyone survive at writing for a cent per word? Some of these mills only hire writers from the US, which is absolutely insane. If you want US writers, pay US rates!
One cent per word is way to little, even for a purely SEO blog devoid of any quality. And the circus just gets more exciting when these mills pay their writers less that $10 an article and expect them to produce high-quality blogs.
FAQs: What’s So Bad?
- Q: How else am I going to make money through freelance writing? A: Here’s a little secret for you: there are many website owners who don’t turn to content mills as their source of writers. Instead, they post blogging positions on job boards. Go to these boards and apply for jobs. Set up a website with your writing samples and portfolio for reference.
- Q: Aren’t content mills good for beginner writers? How else will I gain writing experience, brush up my rusty writing, and have samples to show other clients? A: Well, a content mill may be a good place to gain writing skills, but not if you are struggling feverishly to finish an article as fast as you can because you are only being paid one cent per word. A content mill that pays 3-8 cents per word may be an option though these mills are much more picky about who they accept. In any case, you won’t be able to show as samples articles you wrote for content mills because you will be ghostwriting for them, meaning that you own no rights to articles to which you are paid for.
- Q: So what do you suggest? A: You can start your own blog. You will be able to brush up your skills and write at your own pace. (You can start your blog for free.)If you do want to make a little extra on the side or you want to get used to making deadlines and writing for clients, at least don’t use a content mill that pays less than 3-8 cents per word.
- Q: So you are saying that I should never write for sites such as iWriter and Textbroker? No. if you have a bill looming before you and you simply have no other option, then there is nothing you can do about it. But do your best to stay away from them. Here is a list of 25 content mills.
What Content Mills Can Be Good For
- There’s often plenty of work available. If business is slow and you can churn out 500 words in an hour at rates of 3-6 cents per word, that isn’t bad.
- You can gain experience working for clients. Again, you should at least get paid 3-6 words, and it’s only good if you can type past.
- If you get paid weekly, they can help you pay your bills.
In any case, writers, as a whole, shouldn’t allow content mills to exploit the writer market.
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