In this series, we personally test traditional online freelance marketplaces to share first-hand experiences and honest assessments of marketplaces and resulting jobs, as many freelance writers turn to these outlets to find writing gigs. You can read all the posts in the series here.
The Background on Textbroker
When you write for the content mill known as Textbroker, you are ghostwriting for individual clients. You’ll need a resume and writing sample to get started. If you are approved they will ask you to write a 200-400 word sample text in order to rate your writing and assign you to one of their rating classes. The rating classes determine what gigs you can take--which determine what you get paid--so they are important. When clients upload assignments, they choose what "star" workers they want to for the project. So if a client just wants cheap work he may upload his assignment as a 2-star assignment. If he wants better quality (and to pay more) he will upload it as a 5-star assignment.
As a writer you will be rated anywhere from 2-5 stars and will get paid from a paltry .007 per word to a better-than-other-mills .05 per word. You can take any gig assigned to your rating class or below. Each time you write something for a client it will be rated and, if you do well boys and girls, you can get a star rating increase.
My Freelance Writing Work
Um…well…today I logged in and there were no 5 star jobs available so I had to go with 4 star. 4 star only pays .015 per word so I was able to make $9.20 in 30 minutes. I used an online timer and included time spent looking for a title to write. I wrote a basic information article defining some stock market terminology and a little intro piece about loans. I did not choose any topic that required research and instead, I wrote what I know. I don’t think there is anything else I really need to say here.
The Pros for Freelance Writers
Snarky title aside, I actually like Textbroker. When I first started writing online I wrote for many of the content mills and Textbroker was always my favorite for four reasons:
- Variety. You can write a 100 word article about a sea navigator one minute, and then a 400 word press release about the return of Jesus the next (yes, those are BOTH real requests from clients on Textbroker).
- You are writing for people—like the kind used to make soilent green. Unlike Demand Studios, Textbroker isn’t a weird algorithm creating mill that wants to take over Google. You also don’t rely on the continuance of Google Adsense policies for work on Textbroker (I’d love to see what will happen to Demand Studios when Google changes their Adsense policy). Instead, you are writing product descriptions for online stores, telemarketing scripts for vitamin salespeople, press releases for religious zealots, legal articles for attorneys—the list goes on and on.
- You can earn more on Textbroker than with any other content mill that I know of. Textbroker pays 5 star writers .05 per word. Those aren’t pennies—that’s a nickel. It’s nothing like what you can make on your own, but if you like content mill work, at least you won’t feel quite as much like someone is sticking a hose up your anus and convincing you it should make you happy.
- You can set your own rate for direct work. If someone likes your writing style, they can contact you directly to work for them through Textbroker. For this privilege they must pay whatever rate you have assigned. That can be .03 per word, .05 per word, or .99 per word.
Other reasons you might enjoy Textbroker:
- There are no submission guidelines to memorize.
- They pay twice a month via Paypal as long as your balance is $10 or more.
The Cons for Freelance Writers
- .007 per word? Really? (for 2 star assignments)
- Textbroker doesn’t always have a steady flow of work. In fact, there have been times when they have absolutely no work.
- .01 per word? Really? (for 3 star assignments)
- Unless you are approved as a level 5 writer at the beginning, you’ll have to do some really, really cheap writing to get there.
- .015 per word? Really? (for 4 star assignments)
Freelance Writing Insider's Tip
Customers often rate your work. If you have a customer who rates your work highly, you can send them an onsite email and let them know that you enjoyed writing their article and, since you already understand the style they are looking for, it might be a great idea for them to send you direct orders in the future. This approach got me quite a bit of direct work when I first began my career. If you set your rate at .05 per word, you can make more than double what some other content mills pay.