A Demand Studios – Oops?

| July 23, 2008

Recently I’ve received various comments to my recent post Demand Studios is a Keeper expressing some frustration and dissatisfaction with them lately.

I started with Demand Studios about 2 months ago and was relatively pleased with them. After all, $15 a shot for a quick article isn’t too bad considering some of the low prices people are offering for content.

Things were going along swimmingly for a little while. I would write a couple of articles, get them approved and receive payment by the end of the week. All was going well and then suddenly, it seems like someone poured sludge into operating system. Written articles sat awaiting approval for an extended period of time, weekly payment didn’t quite match the article count and bookkeeping became a little sloppy.

After this slow down, I too decided to slow down. I stopped writing as many articles as it was frustrating waiting to see if the articles were going to be approved and even more frustrating when payment was slow. Just one e-mail from Demand Studios explaining the problem would probably put a lot of the writers at ease. Since that didn’t come, I chalked it up to internal database problems and decided to work on some of my other projects.

Interestingly enough, last night I received this e-mail from Demand Studios:

Dear Demand Studios Contributor,

In June, Demand Studios experienced some technical difficulties that may have resulted in moderate to significant data loss in your articles. While we know this problem resulted in the complete loss of some articles and many others having to be rewritten, we are unable to identify exactly who and what was affected. The problem has since been resolved.

In order to compensate you for this inconvenience, we will be issuing you a one-time bonus payment of $15, courtesy of Demand Studios. We understand that this may not completely cover the loss you encountered, but we hope you accept this payment with our sincere apologies. The payment will be posted to your PayPal account today.

We thank you for your patience as we continue to improve Demand Studios. Feel free to contact us with any questions.Paycheck


The Demand Studios Team

Well, I guess a little notice after the fact is better than no notice at all. In view of this mishap, I’ve decided to better track my Demand Studio writings on a spreadsheet. Although I was not one of the writers who suffered a loss, I’d rather be able to recompile my article information rather than guess.

Lesson learned. Always know the status of your bacon (or tofu for vegans).

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Category: Demand Studios, Freelance, Self Employed, Working from Home, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites which include Tidbits and Stuff, BLULOW, A Dose of Health and a few other sites/blogs scattered around the internet.

Comments (375)

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  1. Writley says:

    There are other sites that are known to pay well with less pressure on the writer. Might be worth it to research them. I’m applying to The Content Authority and am looking at Textbroker. Willow Sidhe and JadeDragon have sites with alot of tips as well. ConsumerSearch pays a minimum of 350.00 a report (12 pages or so) on different kinds of products. I’m sure there are plenty more out there that pay well sans abusive editors.

    • Felicia says:

      Writley, it seems you’re new to NJFM. If you look under the Opportunities section above, you’ll find a host of other opportunities including Content Authority, Textbroker and ConsumerSearch. I also mention Willow’s blog somewhere here on NJFM. Take a look around.

  2. We recently started a school program for our tribal members teaching them how to get onto DS an other writing sites to make a little bit of money since the economy has caused our Indian Tribe to suffer over 40% unemployment. We’ve been doing this since about Sept. We’ve found that in our experience our tribal citizens are running into about 1/3 of the editors at DS making crazy ridiculous requests on the articles that are being submitted. Most of our citizens writing for DS are also members of other sites like textbroker and Associated Content and just sell the articles that they get crazy rewrites from DS on to other sites. This doesn’t pay as much as DS but still helps them to deal with the frustration of DS’s crazy CE’s. This might help ya’ll hopefully.


    Saturiwa Palatka,
    Tribal Employment Coordinator
    Native American Tribal Republic of Timucua

  3. Mykal says:

    I would caution writers against Demand Studios. I was also doing fine the first couple of months but then I began to get frustrated because sometimes I would work hard on an article and the copy editors would make ridiculous requests. Then I had an issue with the rule about using similar content in several articles. One CE told me that was fine, just be sure the wording isn’t the same. Then another CE said I couldn’t write similar content even if it was for articles with basically the same title. I asked for rewrite clarification and instead of clarification I was told that my articles were going to be rejected.
    The rules are unclear and the CEs contradict themselves and interpret the rules differently. However writers are expected to strictly follow these unclear rules. There is no support for writers. Not worth it imo.

  4. EricBailey says:

    Just poking in to say that as a part-time “content aggregate” or “group sourcing” freelancer, this was one of the articles I read and appreciated before deciding to apply for Demand Studios. Thank you for the insights!

  5. Raymond says:

    Felicia —

    Could you tell me a little bit more about Suite 101, as I know you write for them as well as Demand Media? I have been unsatisfied with DM for some time now, and I have decided to fill out an application for Suite 101. I went to their website to fill out an application, but I notice they don’t pay a flat fee per article. Would you recommend somebody like myself, who has only dabbled in online freelancing, to try such a thing?

    From looking at payment info on the website, it seems to an outsider like a risky venture, because you do not get paid much at first. In the end, however, it seems to me a writer could actually end up making more from Suite101 in the LONG TERM. Am I correct in that assumption?

    I have a full time job and another part-time job in addition to my freelance writing venture, so I would probably only be able to write perhaps an article a week for them. I will broach this next question carefully, but I must ask it, because I need to know upfront how much money I could possibly be making, or at least an estimate: what would you ESTIMATE you or other writers could end up making if you were to write, say 5 articles a month, assuming reader traffic and reader ad interest are solid? Specifically I guess I’m asking: HOW LONG were you writing for Suite101 before you started to see more than the $10-$20 per article DM offers?

    I know that is a lot to digest, but any help you could give me would be so appreciated as I go forward. Thank you so much.


    • Felicia says:

      Raymond, I won’t answer the first part of your comment because it appears that you decided to sign up for Suite. Congrats on taking the plunge.

      As far as how long it takes to surpass $10 or $20 per article, it all depends. As you know one person’s experience differs from another. It all depends on your topics, your writing style, your SEO skills, Google, the economy, the weather and whether or not you played basketball in the 3rd grade.

      I’ve heard some people write for Suite for almost a year and not make payout and other folks made payout within their first 30 days. Fortunately, I made payout within my first 30 days so I stuck with it.

      I can’t tell you what will work for you, but I can say that just this weekend I turned down a paying assignment because they were paying $60 for 600 word articles. I make more than that per article on Suite 101 so instead of spending my time writing for $60 an article I chose to beef up some of my Suite work. To answer your question as to how long it took for it to start paying off, in my second year writing for Suite I averaged $31.44 per article writing at a pace of a little over one article a week.

      You’ll have to test the waters to see what works for you. Keep writing and honing your writing skills. The editors at Suite are helpful and I believe that if you take it seriously, you could earn decent money there. I wish you the best.

  6. Karyn says:

    @ Kara. No, they do not. I don’t get why some mechanic doesn’t get on and scoop those all up. Probably because they make more working on the car than writing about it.
    Karyn recently posted..Let’s Make a Deal

  7. Kara says:

    Karyn, I wish I knew how to write those car titles… those never seem to disappear:-)

  8. Karyn says:

    @Kara. I walked away for a time as well. Very frustrating when you get an editor telling you how many words the intro should be which do not match the instructions you are getting on the format sheet. But getting paid right away sure beats the alternative.

    I am doing more car stories but I make sure they are ‘list’ articles so that no one can ever say I told them how to fix their car incorrectly (hee, hee).

  9. Julie Wein says:

    I just had my third article approved for DS, so it looks like I’m having much better luck with them this time around. When I wrote the third article i got a rather rude CE, but at least the rewrite requests weren’t outrageous. So I suppose that’s a start…

  10. Crystal says:

    Congratulations, Renee. I’ve been with DS since April and have a few horror stories of my own but mostly it’s been great. So just jump right in and keep your sense of humor handy.
    Crystal recently posted..Jump Start Your Freelance Writing Career

  11. Renee says:

    I recently got accepted to DS, but I’m nervous about submitting my first article. After reading all of the horror stories about DS, my fingers have been slow to move towards submitting anything. I’ve made up my mind to just bite the bullet and submit my first article tomorrow. I may have a completely different experience than some of the ones I’ve read from others. Lord, I sure hope so.

  12. Kara says:

    I agree with Katherine. I have been with DS for a year and a half now. I am a full-time writer, so I try to do the whole “diversify your portfolio” thing; but, private clients can be unreliable at times. I’m currently dealing with one where getting him to pay his final balance is like pulling teeth. I collect a deposit before starting the job, but there’s no guarantee that collecting the final balance will be easy once the job is done.

    I do get frustrated at times with DS, to the point where I have had to walk away for a while. I gripe and complain when I get impossible rewrites, especially when I lose upfront money from having to let them expire. It also gets tough when titles in your field dry up and you have to write on what you don’t know.

    I’ve learned to roll with the punches. From what I have seen, DS is the steadiest and most reliable online writing gig at the moment. And I never have to chase them down for my money. I have no clue how much longer they will be around for, which is why I try to find other clients. However, building a client base that allows you to ditch DS completely takes significant time.

    Success at DS comes in spurts. When there are loads of titles in my field, I make lots of money. When there aren’t, I get more rewrites and my income suffers – it takes longer to write on what you don’t know. But in the end, I do not believe DS deserves the bad rap they get sometimes.

  13. Katherine Bostick says:

    I agree that DS is a difficult place to work and does not pay much, but they do pay regularly. DS has kept my family from losing our home when my husband lost his job 2 years ago. I work full time and write for DS part time. I only make about 265-280 a month from DS, but that has helped me keep my mortgage paid. I get aggravated at the system a lot because of miscategorized titles and stupid rewrite requests. I just decide if I want to deal with the rewrites or just let it expire. You folks are right about one thing, the guidelines seem to differ depending on which editor reviews your work.

    And Felicia, I often write on topics I am unfamiliar with simply for the fun of learning something new.

    As difficult as it is sometimes to work for DS, I will continue to do so at least until my husband finds a new job.

  14. A M says:

    Legit, but not very good, I think. I think that this company really makes people work for the small payments they give. Saw a “filmmaker” listing where you make 20 how-to “films” out of one half day or full day shoot. They offer $300-600 per “film” but I’ve done a lot of half-day and full-day shoots, and you can’t get 20 videos out of that amount of footage, even if they are short 1-2 minute videos. Shooting doesn’t work that way. Also, you’d have to edit all those videos, which could extend your work into many days, even weeks, depending on the videos. It just sounds like a lot of work for so little money, not to mention you must have your own HD equipment and editing set-up. So, with that investment, you’ll be doing a lot of videos before you break even.

  15. Karyn says:

    I decided to pick up stories on tools needed for auto repair. That is not hard to find out and who knows what else I can get in the process. My focus tends to be home, garden, sewing and travel with pet issues and fashion thrown in. All of the titles I am seeing lately are automotive.

    I once took an article that I blew into something else that at least makes money as an ongoing residual. My goal is always to make lemonade but there can be even a few bad lemons. I think that is the funk I have been in the last few weeks and needed reassurance that I wasn’t simply in a bad situation. Thanks for your help.

    • Felicia says:

      Karyn, I’m glad you were able to find a few topics that you could write about. I’ve learned that reinvention is necessary when writing in this day and age.

      Every once in a while I look through the DS database to find titles on topics that I’m not an expert in, but would be willing to learn about. In the process of learning, I not only gain new knowledge, but I open myself up to a host of writing topics that I write not only on DS but elsewhere.

      Who knows, you might eventually find that writing about autos isn’t so bad. I know I’ve done my share of automotive articles. I know just enough about autos to be dangerous when I chat with my mechanic.

      Glad you’re feeling better. And, as far as reassurance goes, you’re doing the right thing. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than being a freelance writer. You can learn and write about everything (not to mention the part about making money while doing it). Hang in there.

  16. Renee says:

    Thanks for the tips Felicia and Julie. I may give it shot soon. I know I have some articles that offer advice of some sort, I just needs to look them over again and tighten them up. Hope I am accepted… we shall see.

  17. Julie Wein says:

    When I applied to DS the second time around I submitted an article I had written about a health issue. I included tips for staying healthy and briefly discussed two well known illnesses.

    Good luck Renee!

  18. Renee says:

    I am considering applying to DS. I am not sure what kind of writing sample to submit. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Should it be an EHow type of article, or something else?

    • Felicia says:

      Hmm, that’s hard to say. When I applied I to DS I wasn’t writing for eHow so I provided links to a couple of articles that I had written on the internet.

      What ever you provide, make sure it’s tightly focused and honors the title of the article. I would probably submit an article explaining how to do something. For example, a well-worded piece explaining the origin of roses is nice but sharing tips on how to use roses in a wedding bouquet arrangement is better. I don’t think its necessary to use the eHow/DS format. Write in a format that is most comfortable for you.

      If anyone has any advice, please chime in.

  19. Julie Wein says:

    I’m shocked and pleased to report that my first article was accepetd by Demand Studios. So hopefully that’s a good sign for the future. This may actually work out this time.

  20. Karyn says:

    So, learn about automotive repair?

    • Felicia says:

      Karen, the way I see it you have two options when it comes to writing for Demand Studios:

      1. Keep writing on topics in your skill set and when the titles dry up stop writing, or
      2. Learn about automotive repair if that’s the topic you choose to learn about so you can continue earning money writing.

      The beauty about writing as a freelance writer is that you get to choose.

  21. Karyn says:

    I have been writing for DS for some time now but I have hit a wall. The only articles I can find are automotive or construction how-to’s, which are not in my skill set at all. Is there a way to get around this?

    • Felicia says:

      Karyn, develop a new skill set.

      Spend some time doing some extensive research in another field and become an ‘expert’ in it. This summer I wrote a slew of articles on a topic that I became an expert in. The more I researched the more I learned. Now, I not only write on that topic, but I’ve branched out on topics related to it.

      When I saw that my natural skill set articles were dwindling, I reinvented myself so that I could write more.

      Karyn, I suggest you read my post, Has Someone Moved Your Freelance Writing Cheese?

  22. Julie Wein says:

    I’m starting to rework my article on the my web search toolbar. So far my approach is to ignore the fact that this toolbar is basically a virus and just write the article as if it wasn’t. I hope this approach actually works.

  23. Ignatius says:

    Take a look at the list of DS recommended resources in the Resource Center at DS. Try to find your topic in one of those. If you can’t find it there, do some more research and be sure you find a definitive answer. You really don’t want to abandon one of your first three articles. That is a test period. Quite a few people get on with one rejection (they look over your articles to see if you have improved), but abandoning a trial article isn’t a good idea. Try searching .edu and .gov sites if you can’t find anything on a recommended resource.

  24. Crystal says:

    Suzie – Just go for it. I was also hesitant to apply to DS based on the experiences of others but was automatically transitioned over during the changes at eHow in April. Although I’ve had my share of frustration, all in all it has been a really good thing for me.
    Crystal recently posted..Is Readbud Legit The Jury is Still Out

  25. Julie Wein says:

    I submitted my first article to DS last night and they’ve already gotten back to me about edits. While some of their comments are incorrect I have to say at least this time they were polite about it. So I suppose there is some glimmer of hope. However, the article I submitted is about something called My Search Bar. The sites I used for research both said that the search bar is a virus. However when I wrote that in the article the CE said that it’s not true and neither of my sources said it was, even though they both did. Any advice on what to do?

    • Felicia says:

      Julie, that’s a tough one. The problem with a situation like that is the CE will reject the article if you don’t do as asked and then you’ll have to go through the appeal process. I’m throwing this one out for input from other new DS writers. I’ve been with them for a while so I would probably let it expire and select another title, but being new, your options are limited.

  26. Suzie says:

    Woman’s World Magazine recommended DS as a source for some extra money in its most recent issue (Oct. 11, 2010). It’s been a dream of mine to write for a living, so I thought I’d dip my toes in to the writing pool freelancing while I go to school. I’m so glad I researched the site and found this article and the comments before applying. It would seem I have some more thinking to do…

    • Felicia says:

      Suzie, everyone’s experience with DS is a little different. I admit there is a level of frustration, but they pay twice a week and the money is steady. Give it a shot and form your own opinion.

  27. Julie Wein says:

    I always thought Demand Studios didn’t give me a chance to show them what I can do, so i applied to them again. I got an email today telling me I was accepted. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with them this time.

  28. sensible sadie says:

    Hi HealthyOpal, Thanks for writing and the tips.

    I did manage to resize the photo to a smaller size. DS says under 1 MB, but it’s really about half that size.

    And I did “select” an article before my bio was approved. I say select because I didn’t actually press the “claim” button. Silly me, I thought by pressing enter on the underlined title that it would lead to a small paragraph about it. Instead, like a flash, it was all mine. Now here’s the rub: the claimed article showed up in the appropriate section of my DS Work Desk, and then it disappeared, only to be replaced by a slightly different title — same subject. Now it was a Livestrong Shopping Guide instead of a Ehow How-to. How that happened, I don’t know. Thing is, I was initially approved for Ehow articles. (By the way, both articles paid the same.) I gave this a few hours thought and decided to contact DS to make sure it was okay to proceed. I did this because I was concerned I would not be paid after I wrote and submitted the article. Long story short, I wrote the article, inserted into the appropriate sections, filled out the parts below that and ultimately could not submit it because of an error message that said I wasn’t authorized in this section.

    I hope you got your Fun Fact published as you describe it. DS’s standards for such seem out of whack in the what’s-important-department, IMHO. There was a time (which I’m sure Peggy will attest to) where only a brief recitation professional credentials were acceptable to describe an author. I admit it, I’m old school.

    Any new job requires learning and adapting. No question about that. I do believe you can get faster at producing DS articles, but I really wonder how much that is. You still have to read the research, gather the reference source materials, look at similar article written, etc., etc. This all takes time. So does setting up a system so you can produce work more quickly.

    I, too, was optimistic about my prospects at DS, as I was bolstered by writers like yourself who have a positive attitude and can roll with the punches.

    However, my experience with these type of situations is that when seemingly minor things go wrong up front, most likely it will continue to bigger things. Things at DS certainly snowballed for me.

    I’m very glad that you, Peggy, Felicia and others who have posted here have had success with DS. I hope you will keep us posted on your progress with DS.

    And thanks for checking out my blog and letting others know about it. Best wishes!

  29. HealthyOpal says:

    Hi Sadie,
    Last week, I joined Demand Studios so I did run into a few of the things you mentioned. With my photo, I was able to adjust it in small photo editing program I used just for that purpose. It’s called Resize Em’ All.

    I can relate to the requirements too, they do have a lot. However I like that. It shows me they’re only willing to accept top quality writing. I submitted my first article today, and it took me three hours to create. Why did it take so long? The About format is new to myself, so I had to keep flipping back to that and the Demand Studios Editing Style Guide to make sure I was doing things accurately. Also, I did get a few error messages when trying to submit my completed article. However, I had read this past weekend that a few people were having troubles too.

    You can actually claim articles before your bio’s approved. You do have to write and submit one though. Once I’d created my bio I went and selected one article, even though my bio hadn’t been approved.

    I wanted to keep my fun fact on things that I would mainly be writing about. I could have included the colorful tidbts of my love of extreme sports, hiking, and camping but I wanted my “fun facts” to be similar to what I’m writing about at Demand Studios. The “fun facts” I listed was that I enjoy cooking and am currently writing a cookbook. I also wrote that I had a natural health blog, and listed its name. :)

    I look at Demand Studios as a learning experience. I’ve been writing several years, however, I’ve already seen improvements in my writing style. I’ve added those new skills to my natural health site. At the moment, it’s challenging. I’m getting used to a brand-new format, but I know if I keep with it, I’ll be able to submit my articles fast. I’m going to give it a few months to see how I like writing for them.

    By the way, I stopped by your website. I like it; I’m forwarding it to a few of my family members who have arthritis.

    Good luck in your writing endeavors!
    HealthyOpal recently posted..Busy as a bee Taking care of customers and additional writing projects

  30. peggy says:

    I hear you about the money, but what I’ve learned is that online writing is a different animal. I make a lot better money writing for hard copy magazines (but those gigs are not easy to find). DS and others do something called “crowd sourcing.” What that boils down to is they don’t pay a lot, but enough to attract a very large number of writers (some make a decent income, too). Crowd Sourcing is very common these days. If you compare DS to other organizations that crown source, such as Textbrokerm, Suite 101 or Examiner.com you’ll find that DS pays quite well. As you write more DS articles, you’ll find that the process becomes progressively faster. There are many DS writers who knock out two How To or List Articles in half an hour. For the first 10 or 12 articles, it might take you two hours to write one, but once you break through the initial learning curve, before you know it you are cranking those babies out pretty quickly. The writer support issue is a different matter all together, but again, compared to all the other writer-broker organizations I’ve found that DS is one of the best. As for the editors, you are right on. Most are great, but there are a few I hope I never have to work with again. I wish DS had better standards and tighter control over their editors and their editing process (which is uneven at best). But, if you prefer to sell used books on Amazon, and can make better money doing that, I’d say “go for it”! Cheers, Peggy