Since many people have been writing to me lately asking for my take on the Suite101/Demand Studios types of writing scams and content mills out there, I just wanted to refer everyone back to my original post on the subject, as the final paragraph links to several articles on Writers Weekly which are quite informative and feature real users (i.e. people who’ve worked for these sites) who have given their opinions about these specific content mills and their pay rates.
You should also root around at Writers Weekly to find Angela Hoy’s various articles on each individual company’s policies (including Demand Studios, Suite101, Examiner.com and others), pay rates and scams, as they all feature comments from people who have worked for these sites, giving their informed opinions. There are always people on each side of the issue, pro and con, so they’re fairly well-balanced articles even though Angela thinks they’re all scumbags (and I would have to agree with her).
Also, don’t miss the I Was Sucked into Content Mill Writing article by Anonymous, as it’s a good general take on the type of “work” you will find yourself doing, the feelings you will be feeling, and the right way to put a stop to being taken advantage of as a professional writer.
My basic opinion of these places is that if you’re taking content from writers but aren’t paying them, and are trying to lead them to believe that you WILL be paying them, you’re a scumbag. You’ve started a company that preys on writers, hoping to turn a profit. This is theft of information, ideas and time. Writers, real writers who write copy for a living, are paid for their time as well as their end products. So anyone who offers you payment at some unspecified date in the future, in the form of “royalties” or “percentages” or anything that sounds like “if you have to get a million people to click on the article to make one cent per click and see some profit,” you should run screaming. This is not a job, this is a scam. Period. Suite101 is this type of a scam.
Demand Studios is not this type of a scam, but they are STILL not worth working for, no matter how you slice it. They lay out in advance the amount of money you can expect to make (i.e. $5 to $20 per article), but considering all the research involved, as well as the time spent writing and editing, this is a paltry sum of money. Again, professional copywriters don’t work for these places, because the pay rate is insulting, and if you want proof just ask The Well-Fed Writer (who makes $50,000 a year or more, writing for places that respect the work that he does).
If you just need the money, you should look for another type of job and write what you want to write on the side. Even crappy service industry jobs like waiting tables or slinging coffee will net you more income than Demand Studios. Period. I’ve “worked” for Demand Studios in the past, and it honestly wasn’t worth the effort. You won’t even get good quality clips you can use to net other jobs. Don’t bother.
All that being said, people always want to make up their own minds. So no matter how many times I say “Don’t do it! It’s a scam! It’s not worth it!” there will always be some who want to see for themselves, or try to beat the system. If you want to do that, by all means go ahead, but my honest advice is DON’T DO IT. It’s a scam. And really, it’s not worth your time, your talent, and your self-worth.