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.