Demand Studios ReviewA lot of people have asked me my opinion about Demand Studios and whether it's worth it or not. There are a lot of things to like about Demand Studios, and there are things that annoy the living piss out of me when it comes to writing for DS, but I will say this much right off the bat with my Demand Studios Review: this website is definitely worth writing for. I'll go through the rest in my normal long rambling posts trying to cover every little detail, but for right now don't let any of the details or mini-rants coming up deter you from expanding to writing for DS in at least a part time basis. But I believe in telling the good and the bad, so let's jump in.
The bad news right off the bat is that Demand Studios is yet another site that is not open to international freelance writers. They are mainly U.S. based, and although there were plans to expand to Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, I have no idea if this has actually occurred yet or is still in the drawing board.
For those of you who are looking to break into freelance writing as beginners, Demand Studios is a really good place to go, and it's a very solid place for established writers to defeat the entire idea of "feast or famine." In fact, if you wanted to make a full time living writing solely for Demand Studios, depending on where you live that goal could very well be possible.
Getting accepted into Demand Studios writing program
You will be required to apply to the program and prove your writing is up the standards desired in order to write for DS. If you're even an average writer, this shouldn't be a problem at all. Just be sure to proof and double proof your writing samples because this would be the wrong time to have a stupid typo sink your chance to write for Demand Studios. If you've already written several articles for eHow, you have an even better chance of getting accepted and should mention that in the application since Demand Studios is the parent company to eHow.
The application process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. In my case, I was approved in two days, but I also believe it helped that I had over 150 approved articles at eHow at the time I applied. That's about as good evidence as you can get to prove you can write up to their standards.
What it pays
Freelance writers at Demand Studios are paid on a per article basis, although writers also have the option of writing "residual income" articles that don't pay anything up front, but can be a source of passive income over time - kind of the way eHow works. Pay can range from $3 for a tip article that is only 100 words and one source (read less than 5 minutes of work), and there are other articles at $5, $7.50, $15, $20 or even more.
I find most articles are either $15 or $7.50, and even when I'm not pushing myself at all it's easy to write a $15 article in 40-45 minutes or 3 $7.50 articles in an hour. Sometimes more depending on the article style. When I'm on the ball and really trying to hammer away, it can be much higher. In fact, two days ago I wrote $210 worth of Demand Studios articles in just under 9 hours.
You won't be able to get those results until you're familiar with DS and the style guides, but it is a place you can eventually reach. So if anyone asks if Demand Studios is a scam, it most definitely is not because you can get paid very well, especially once you break it down on a per hour basis. Most people I know would be very happy with a $15+ an hour job, especially if they got to choose their own hours or work extra whenever they felt like it.
Most articles will be either $7.50 or $15, although occasionally you might see a surge of $20 articles - I made a lot of money through Golflink requests at the end of 2009 when that happened. How much you can make an hour will depend on:
- How fast you can research
- How quickly you can type
- How well you can write to template
- How quickly you can proof read
There are many different types of article styles, and individual freelance writers are going to excel at different styles. That's one of the most important pieces of writing advice I can give to in this Demand Studios review. Look around, try out different styles, and figure out what works best.
You can read about the different style types and requirements for each one on the Demand Studios articles on the sites, but many of my favorite styles are: fact sheets, decision, list, & about articles.
The fact sheets and decision articles will normally be $7.50 each, while the list and about articles will be $15 a piece, with an occasional $20. My personal favorites at this point are the decision articles, because I can pop those out in around 15 minutes, and the about articles, which take 35-40 depending on how much research I need to do. I made a lot of money off the list articles and they're a simple template, but finding and recording all the address information meant that those articles took 45-50 minutes, so I'm moving away from them to more "about" articles.
However many people might be good at the "how to" articles and can knock them out with little effort. I am not organized enough to be good at these, but there are always thousands available for writers who are really good at that format.
How much can I write?
One of the biggest benefits of writing for Demand Studios isn't the pay levels themselves, but it's the time and work ability. You can only check out 10 titles at a time to work on, but once they are under copy editor review that space can open up and you can pick up another title. This means you can write far more than 10 articles a day. The most I've written in one day was 22. A lot of those were the $7.50 articles, but that still resulted in a $265 day, which is an entire week's take home pay if you're living where I am (where minimum wage jobs are about all you can find right now, if you're lucky).
So you can write, and write some more, and write some more. You can do a few a day as a side income to save up for retirement, vacation, or an emergency fund, or you can make this a pretty full time gig. It's a great supplement even for professional freelance writers because if you're in a 3-6 week "drought" as far as writing assignments go, there's nothing like being able to jump online and knock out $15-30 an hour whenever there's nothing lined up. It definitely makes it easier to budget and make it through a year.
How Demand Studios pays
Demand Studios pays its freelance writers through PayPal twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's a pretty convenient system for budgeting. Articles finished by Sunday night are paid on Tuesday, then articles finished by Wednesday night are paid on Friday. Any articles that aren't paid on one day get rolled over to the next, so as long as you write consistently you'll get paid twice a week.
Is Demand Studios a Scam?
Demand Studios is not a scam, contrary to what many self-righteous freelance writing blogs out there say. I personally don't believe that Demand Studios is a rip-off, either. How many millions of people work for less than $15 an hour? That's $32,000 equivalent in salary, but even many of my college grad friends who make $30-40k a year, they DON'T work 40 hours. They work 60. Or 70, or more. And if you're a dedicated writer, you can easily make $22-$30 an hour on DS and choose to work more than 40 hours a week.
If you consider anything less than 6 figures a rip-off, then fine. But plenty of part time workers, unemployed workers, college students, and struggling people right now will be more than happy to hammer away for $15 an hour and a lot of us didn't start with any back up plan. Why don't I spend more time "improving my value" as one fairly arrogant writer put it? Because I made the mistake of going to college and grad school. If don't start off at zero, I start off with a ridiculous amount of bills each month and if I don't pay them, I go homeless. Again. For the 3rd time.
So $15 an article is fine with me because it's a lot better than what I started with working my way back, and that much money can be a major blessing for a lot of people.
I also don't fully buy the most common counter arguments of "professional writers" because:
- Printed mediums are dying. There are less and less markets for more and more competition.
- Already established writers will get the majority of work.
- There is very limited work that pays really well, and
- There is limited high end talent.
The big advantage of Demand Studios is when I want to make $20+ an hour, I can jump online and do it for as long as I want. I love making $72.50-$100 an hour working on the weekly Forex reports I prepare for a couple of clients, but that was, is, and always will be only 1.5-2 hours of work a week. Something has to fill the spare.
Demand Studios Complaints
Now that I've talked them up, let's get toe the common Demand Studios complaints, and some reasons why even previous writers left some very negative Demand Studios reviews. There are some things that be incredibly annoying if not outright aggravating about writing for DS. So lets start with the copy editors.
Straight out, a lot of them either don't know what they're doing, act like they're editing for the New York Times, or you'll receive contradictory information from two different editors. In fairness, I shouldn't have said "a lot," I'm sure it's a minority of editors there, BUT it seems like a lot when a lot of articles get sent back for revision. This isn't always a bad thing - many of the revisions are stupid little things that take all of 2-3 minutes to fix. Spending another 2 minutes on something for $15 shouldn't piss off anyone.
That said, those other reasons can be a hassle. If the comments for revision are paragraphs long and involve a condescending lecturing tone, I simply walk away and let the assignment expire. At that point it's not worth my time. Editors not knowing what they're doing can be really annoying, especially when they ask for revisions that make the articles just sound terrible. But it happens and you have to decide how to deal with that on a case by case basis. For the contradictory info, just make the editor who is going to pay you for that article happy, and try not to let the annoying things bother you.
These things can really throw off your day, but part of being a freelance writer is learning how to develop a really thick skin. You can't survive without it. Also: don't worry about the graphs that tell you what % of articles were accepted, accepted with rewrites, rejected, etc. Most of the writers I've talked to who use DS full time have about 30% of their articles that have to be revised. I usually have 20-25%, and 3-4% where the requests are unreasonable and I simply walk away from them.
As long as the majority of your articles are accepted, you're fine. Any articles I "walk away from" or in the rare 1% times it's rejected, I copy the text and sell it elsewhere. You're not supposed to take the title, but if they don't pay me for the writing I sell it online to someone who will. That's making the best out of an unfortunate situation.
The main Demand Studios complaints are almost certainly going to revolve around the editors. While there is some legitimacy to these complaints, you can either move on and make some money, or don't. I do my best to not let it bother me, and keep hammering away to pay off the bills.
And that's pretty much it, folks. That's my review of Demand Studios. Especially for beginning part time freelance writers, college students looking to save up for spring break, or for the unemployed who need some income, any income, DS is a very good option - especially if you're trying to build up passive income but you need more money now. The editors can be a pain in the butt, but buy a punching bag and put it in your office every time one gets to you and the problem is solved.
I hope that helps. If you have any more questions about writing for Demand Studios or why I'm a firm believer that DS is NOT a scam, and while it's not the end all, be all, to freelance writing it beats the hell out of being homeless, working for minimum wage, or adjuncting as academic slave labor (sorry guys). It's a great stepping stone, and if you're from a background where a long life of poverty is reality, it's one heck of a step towards getting to the right place, please feel free to leave me any questions in the comment section and I'll do my best to respond.
Demand Studios & eHow Update: Okay all, there has been a huge change at eHow and this change is going to drastically effect the parent company, Demand Studios, as well, IMO. As of April 5th, 2010, eHow has shut its doors to its writers and will only accept articles from parent company Demand Studios. Not only do I strongly disagree with and dislike this move, but I think it's going to eventually make writing on DS much more difficult, as well. I'm going to take a little bit of time to find out what I can before coming back and talking more about what I think this all means for freelance writers.