"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Friday, April 16, 2010

EHow & Demand Studios: How Do I Like Them Now?

Demand Studios & eHow: What Does It All Mean?

A few weeks ago eHow made the sudden announcement that they were ending the Writer's Compensation Program, and would only accept new articles now through their parent company, Demand Studios. You can read the post that announced it here at Jade Dragon's Writing Blog, but the gist of it is that eHow has basically frozen out its current writers and any new ones. It was a heck of a spin job, but in the end Demand Studios decided to make more money by funneling articles through a system that's more profitable for them and most likely less so for the writers. In theory, any old eHow articles will continue to earn passive income for the writers, but there is a general consensus that with how poorly (and outright shady) all this was handled that eventually all those articles will be removed or they'll stop paying. There's no solid evidence of this yet, but the fact that so many writers feel this way tells you how badly the entire situation was handled. This was also done shortly after my Demand Studios review, and I've yet to address it from that side of the fence, as well.

Obviously with eHow only accepting articles through Demand Studios, it's hard to recommend eHow to anyone since they can't sign up directly - which is a shame because when it appeared they were trying to work with the writers, it was a really good place to write and make some passive income. Further making things complicated is that I think Demand Studios definitely has a place in the online freelance writer's overall freelancing strategy, but this is the same group that also created the entire eHow fiasco, so now it definitely complicates what I think of them.

First of all, before I get any pro-capitalism comments, I am the first to openly say that as much as I hated the move, Demand Studios has the right to do whatever the hell they want. They are a company, they own eHow, and as such if they want to treat all the writers who built up that site like total garbage and kick them to the curb, they have every right. Would I have done the same? Absolutely no way in hell. But Demand Studios can do with their sites whatever they want...and observant writers noticed months in advance that a strong shift towards Demand Studios and some very questionable practices were already being implemented. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

That said, they should have come out and said so. Up until days before the announcement the overwhelming response from eHow editors was that absolutely nothing was changing, the WCP would stay around, and there were no major changes in the works so writers shouldn't worry. They should have come straight out and told everyone exactly what was going to happen instead of blatantly lying and then more or less closing down angry forum discussion.

Maybe it's because I was raised in a really old school family, so I grew up in a home where the word "honor" wasn't some nebulous word, it was the distinct understanding that there was a right way to do things, and a wrong way. And even if it sucked and made your life miserable, you did things the right way. And since I'm an Iowa State (I-State) Cyclones fan, I'll link to this video where Head Coach Paul Rhoads does a fantastic job explaining doing things the right way. You have to go to 2:19 to see the speech, but this will make you wish every high school and college coach believed this and taught our kids this way.

But I digress. Demand Studios had a passive income article set up before the eHow mess, and I assume that this is the same thing that former eHow writers are being encouraged to use in order to submit passive income articles now. I've never tried it, and so I'm going to be very straight forward and open at this place in saying I have NO idea at this point how it works - but there are many great discussions going on at Jade Dragon's Passive Income blog through the comments sections about the formula for passive income being slightly lower for Demand Studios than it was for eHow.

So what do I think? I don't know. My overwhelming feeling is that even if the passive income articles from Demand Studios to eHow work and provide some income, I'm not sure after seeing how this company handles itself whether or not I would actually want to take the chance of investing a lot of my time into passive income writing for Demand Studios when their track record for treating writers is spotty, to say the least. For true beginners, maybe this is still a viable option, but I think for people who are really serious about building a major passive income while they're freelancing, there are better ways to spend your time.

So that brings us back to talking about Demand Studios. Do I still like them as part of a freelance writing portfolio? The answer is yes, I do, but for flat fee articles and not for writing eHow articles. At some point in June I will likely throw up 20 or 30 keyword researched articles, with backlinks from article directory articles (so I can always edit and switch the links to non DS and non eHow sites I own if I'm not happy with the result, or if the article gets swept but they try to keep the URL) and give it a couple of months to see what the results are. I've done enough writing for eHow with keyword research that I have a pretty good idea of what the articles I'm looking at posting should have as far as potential. Once I get to that point, I'll let everyone know what I think.

But for now, especially for writers who want to make cash now, Demand Studios with their flat rate articles still needs to be considered as a viable option, just be wary of the passive income options.


  1. Hey MD!

    Couple of questions for you. 1) Ezine articles. Your thoughts? Also, I see a lot of posts on Guru looking to hire people to ghostwrite Ezine articles. Is this worth it? Should I be writing my own?

    2) I read somewhere on this blog at some point in time that you were pleased with a wrist brace you were using for your Carpal Tunnel. Mine has been acting up and I hate the brace I use, so I thought I might try something different.

    Hope all is well,


  2. Hi Prudence,

    Good to hear from ya! Sorry I've been quiet recently, but through April and now dealing into the aftermath in May my family and I have been going through an incredibly difficult family situation that has turned out to be outright devastating, hence my absence from the blog, my normal blogs I comment, the steep drop in work the past 3 weeks, etc. So I hope your comment hasn't been up here too long, it's nothing personal if it has been. But family always comes first :)

    1) Ezinearticles is a very interesting place. As far as writing for money, they don't pay so it's not worth it from a pure freelancer's point of view, but Ezinearticles is the best article directory if you're looking for traffic, getting into SEO for building passive income, and for getting attention to your own blog or money site.

    I tend to focus a lot on the freelance writing on this blog, which is why I haven't mentioned Ezinearticles yet. If you know about SEO, keyword anchored backlinks, and building websites to make money off of AdSense, Chitika, or affiliate programs, then Ezinearticles is a very powerful tool that can be used to really boost your other sites. On it's own, it's not helpful unless you have something it's supporting. I hope that makes sense. If not, go ahead and ask more questions, I'll be happy to answer.

    As for the carpal tunnel brace I've been using, it's a Mueller brace, gray, which I picked up at Wal Greens. Best of all in my case, it's an adjustable brace that can be used on either the right or the left hand. It's been fantastic for me, personally.

    Hope that helps. Thanks for the comment, and a new post will be up later this week.

  3. Dear Master Dayton:

    Very sorry to hear about your family problems! Am wishing you and your family a positive resolution and the best possible outcome.

    Regarding your carpal tunnel -- one of my Linkedin writers' groups had a long discussion about this type of problem -- several of them are switching to Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software to spare their hands, and so far, from what they tell me, the results are good.

    They said it took a bit of getting used to, as they had been tethered to composing strictly via typing, but once they got used to Dragon, they said they are very happy with it and producing articles faster.

    While the Dragon software is sold at $99 on the website of the company that makes it, it goes for half that price on www.amazon.com and less at some other websites.

    Just a thought, please ignore it if you have already considered this and it is not practical for you.

    Robin Elizabeth Margolis

  4. Sorry you're having a rough go of things right now :( I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts, and if you're even in Pittsburgh I'll buy you a beer! Thanks for the wrist brace tip. I'll pop to Wallgreens and check it out.


  5. Hey guys,

    Thank you for the kind words, they are greatly appreciated. Don't think I'll be in Pittsburgh anytime soon, as much as I like Pennsylvania (especially the Grand Army of the Republic Highway through the beautiful northern part of the state), but if I do end up in the area I'll never turn down an offer for a free beer. Hope the wrist brace works as well as it did for me.

    Robin, thanks for your kind words as well. Dragon Naturally Speaking Software is one I have heard a lot of good things about. The most recent one, I think it's DNS #8, I've heard is worth every penny, but as you mentioned, you need to drop the money on a good microphone and take some time to get used to it. That is definitely something I'm looking forward to trying out. Budget and time constraints had stopped me to this point, but that's something I'm definitely going to be looking at for this summer.

    Thanks for the comments.

  6. So my Demand Studios Bio finally got approved. I submitted it on Feb 12. Today is June 6. I contacted them at least six times between the two dates to try and speed up the process. Wow.