Disjointed thought #1: Marketplace Reviews Update
Lately, I haven't had any marketplace reviews for you, so I thought I'd at least let you know what's going on with my research. Here are some future articles for that series and a little information about them:
The Associated Content Residual Earnings Test: Last week, I read an article by Jennifer Claerr about how she made $573.26 in one month on one article she wrote for Associated Content. She made the money through residual earnings, something I have spoken negatively about many times. One of the reasons I don’t like residual earnings is that I understand the time value of money and that dribs and drabs of change over a long period of time are less effective to your financial bottom line than one large upfront payment allowed to accrue interest or pay down debt (thereby reducing interest charged). But earning $573.26 within 30 days of writing an article is actually a good example for residual earnings, so I started experimenting with the process using Jennifer's article as a guide. I’d hoped to have some results for you this week, but I don’t have enough data yet. But I can tell you a little something about it: I'm having fun.
Guru.com: Why won't anyone accept my bids? Please tell me I do not need to pay for the membership in order to actually get something here.
GetAFreealncer.com: Yeah, .05 per word is really out of line. You are sooooo right.
Disjointed thought #2: What is a Content Mill?
This week I read Carson Brackney’s article on his commandments about writing for content mills. In reading his article, I began to believe that his idea of a content mill and mine differ. I see Demand Studios, Textbroker, Break Studios and other sites that have pre-determined titles they want written and offer upfront pay as content mills. Having worked in a factory when I was young and supple, I get the concept of a mill. There are eight million widgets that you need to string onto metal bars, and that’s what you do all day. I see the title lists available on Demand Studios, Break Studios and Textbroker as the widgets coming at me on the conveyor belt. I’ve got my timer and my counter and I’m ready to string those widgets onto my bar, scrape off the metal flakes that don’t belong, hit my counter and start another. In the mill, I’ve gotta be fast in order to get paid.
I do not see sites like Associated Content, Examiner, Helium and other user-inspired content sites as content mills because they allow you to submit your own work on your own topics. While they do offer lists of titles like content mills do, they request them written either on spec or on a residual basis. To me, these sites are more like a flea market that a factory.
How do you define content mills?
Disjointed thought #3: Try It--Maybe You'll Like It
One of the readers who commented on Carson's post mentioned that she had been avoiding content mills because of all the bad stuff she’s read about them (I’m paraphrasing here). This surprised me because I thought, “But what if you tried one and you liked it?” Don't get me wrong, I love reading blog posts that caution me against something but reading those cautions do not often make me decide not to try something myself.
Think about your spouse for a minute. Your spouse has flaws, right? Your spouse isn’t perfect in everyone else’s eyes, correct? There are even some people who might’ve met your spouse and, based on that meeting, would tell you that you should not have married him or her. Should negative feedback about your spouse before you started dating have really stopped you from dating them or, eventually, marrying them? Of course not. You had to get in there and decide for yourself.
All Freelance Writing is a place for you to develop the habits you need in order to get a better career and meet your definition of success. It is not a pass/fail place. We are not Clinton and Stacy and we don't develop fashion rules for you to follow. If you don’t do those things that the blog posts advise, you are not guaranteed to fail—and if you do do them, you are not guaranteed to pass. This is a place for the experience and opinions of people who have been where you are. That’s it.
So go out and have fun. Try a little bit of everything. Use a pen name if you think you are doing something that could impact your career negatively and then give feedback on blogs about your experience. The more dialog we have, the more informed we all get.