Suite101 and Demand Studios: Why content mills aren’t worth the effort

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, 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.


  • Brick

    AMEN! Article Mill Sites like Demand Studios, Associated Content and the like are not worth my time and energy. As you said, the paltry sums they offer for the time, research and energy required to push out article after article to make a decent wage is not worth the time, research or energy. Plus, their odd ‘forumla’ or content/article venue is difficult, at best, to learn and their ‘editorial boards’ are power-hungry sadist that deny and ask for rewrites for the most inane things. Steer clear and run from these article mill sites!

  • Laura Roberts

    I think what’s even more offensive is the way these sites promise residual income, and never deliver. If you’ve been removed from the site, you don’t get paid. If your content doesn’t get a gazillion clicks a day, you don’t get paid. There are many ways to play those loopholes, but they all add up to THOSE GUYS reaping profit and writers getting screwed. Not a business model, just a scam!

  • Nafeesah

    I wrote for Demand Studios and they’re not worth it if you’re looking to make real money. Associated Content (now Yahoo Voices) is good for the beginner writer to build up a portfolio, but it’s only good if you want to make some change if you want to pay a small bill with it. I made around $3,000 and it took me a couple years to reach that by the money they’re paying. Not to metion the editors of these sites are downright nasty making you do reedits on articles that you researched before writing. Even the most seasoned writer is put through the ringer. It’s amazing a lot of writers are just seeing this as a means to keep a little change in their pockets until the real bucks roll in elsewhere. Even I’m looking for more serious writing work since I’ve been writing for 15 years. I hate the way you’re treated when writing for a content mill because you also have some power hungry writers who will do whatever to sabotage you to where you’re fired for things you didnt intend to do.