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Airing My Frustration with Demand Studios

While Demand Studios is a nice place to earn a couple bucks here and there, it has become increasingly frustrating to me.

I’ve made a pact with myself never to blog angry so when reading this post, please keep that in mind. I’m not angry, just a bit frustrated.

Here’s why I’m Frustrated with Demand Studios:

I wrote/am writing a series of articles on how to rescue a particular pet breed. The articles are about rescuing the same pet breed but in different states and cities. For instance, today I wrote about rescuing the pet breed in New York, the other day it was Virginia, San Diego, etc.

Things were moving along swimmingly, the articles were being approved without incident until suddenly things came to a screeching halt. One editor received the article I wrote about saving the breed in Atlanta and returned my article for editing. Below are the editor’s comments:

Good article but it’s important to provide the full picture and be more dispassionate. It’s true that pit bulls become particularly dangerous when raised a certain way, but their disposition to begin with is extremely aggressive. They can rip apart flesh like no other animal. Many serious dog bites in every city in the country are from pit bulls. And we know about Atlanta, but aren’t there other places in the country where pit bill “rescues” are needed? And from whom? Vick’s in jail…

Wha??!!!
In all fairness, to explain the editors Mike Vick comment, here’s the opening sentence to my article:

“Michael Vick’s dog fighting conviction did much to bring attention to the plight of the Pitt Bull.”

Demand Studios

So, I sat down, took a deep breath, composed myself and prepared the following response:

  1. You’re right, Pit Bulls need to be rescued in other places than Atlanta, but since the title is “How to Rescue a Pit Bull in Atlanta” I chose to honor the title and write about Atlanta.
  2. Your comment about being dispassionate about the topic seems a bit odd to me. If I write in an aloof tone, then I’m not doing the title of the article any justice. Your comment “They can rip apart flesh like no other animal. Many serious dog bites in every city in the country are from pit bulls,” does nothing to entice the reader to rescue a Pit Bull. As a matter of fact, it is in direct contradiction to the title. The title is about rescuing Pit Bulls. If I explain how they rip people apart, who would want to rescue a Pit Bull? My first step advises people to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to Pit Bulls.
  3. You’re asking me from whom should Pit Bulls be rescued? I think that’s beyond the scope of this article. The title is about “How To” rescue a Pit Bull. Pit Bulls are rescued for many reasons. The reader knows why they want to rescue a Pit Bull, I’m just telling them how to do it.
  4. As far as Mike Vick is concerned, the use of his name was to show how even though he did something considered unacceptable; his actions have brought the plight of the Pit Bulls to the forefront. Discovery Channel is now airing a show “Saving Mick Vick’s Pit Bulls.” While we all know he’s in jail, I use him as a catalyst in this article to show that his actions have raised awareness. “

I hope the editor took my comments in the vein in which it was meant. I tried not to come off as a know it all or angry, but I was confused and frustrated.

Well, it really didn’t make any difference because the editor rejected the article saying:

I didn’t realize until recently that writers were only picking titles already in the system. This one is unfortunate and I hope they redo the titles. You’re doing a fine job. But I have to reject it because we need to explain how to adopt a certain animal everywhere, not just in one lone city. And I really think we need to present both sides, since pit bulls are, simply, a dangerous breed.

Just to put a little icing on the cake, I submitted the following title to Demand Studios: “How to Rescue Pit Bulls in Texas.” And guess what…they approved it.

Go figure!!!

How can writers succeed at Demand Studios with such contradictions? The double standards are making me nuts (I’m sure I’m not alone)!

Lesson Learned: Keep searching for other freelance writing opportunities. When I find them, I’ll share them. In the meanwhile, Demand Studios writers…hang in there!

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Jennifer Walker September 10, 2008, 2:02 am

    I hear ya, sister. I get really sick of the contradictions, too. It’s hard to know how to write certain types of articles, not knowing if it’s going to get rejected. I’m trying to be patient because I know they have a lot of editors and they’re all human, but they really need to employ better judgement. In your case, the editor is way out of line, in my opinion. My sympathie!

  • Felicia September 10, 2008, 6:37 am

    Thanks Jen,

    Honestly, after spending time last week writing several articles to have Demand Studios request rewrites for 7 out of 10 of them, I’m really wondering if its worth it.

    The most frustrating part about it was that half of the comments contradicted the other half. The amount of time it takes for me to figure out which way to go and how to rewrite the article to please the ‘editor du jour’ is quickly becoming a waste of valuable time.

  • Susan Steen September 29, 2008, 5:58 pm

    I may have just gotten myself fired from Demand Studios. My situation was much the same as the one you outlined, but on a different topic. I’ve been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, so it’s not like I just decided to “be a writer.” After having around 50 articles published on the DS site, I began to have nearly every article returned to me with some absurd request, such as, “Change Step 3 so it doesn’t just describe one step.”

    It’s as though they just hired new people who believe they have to justify their jobs by telling authors to change at least one thing in every article. So in a fit of anger (which I don’t usually do, but I have a really nasty cold), I responded by saying just that, but in a rather sarcastic tone.

    A few weeks ago, I emailed them with concerns about the lack of consistency within the site, how many published articles do not follow their style guide, and indicated that I would be glad to help them go through the site and find errors that need to be corrected. Never heard a word back.

    I just don’t get it. I’m ready to look around for another way to supplement my income when my other freelancing work is slow.

    Nice to know I’m not alone.

    S

  • Felicia September 29, 2008, 6:24 pm

    I know exactly how you feel Susan. I had requested an increase in weekly article count from 15 to 20 and I got the following response:

    “We do quality reviews of every writer on the 3rd, 11th, 21st, and 41st article to determine if we would like to raise his/her limit. Thank you for your patience as we look over your work. To learn how to raise your limits please read the post provided in the link.”

    The funny thing is I wrote over 90 articles. You think I understand how to write for them?

    I recently decided to start writing for eHow directly. I don’t know if you read my post about writing for eHow and Demand Studios.

    It’s early in my eHow writing career, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s so much less frustrating. Only time will tell how lucrative it is.

  • Teri Anne November 25, 2008, 8:39 pm

    After reading your comments, I feel a little better. I’ve been writing for DS for just a few months as well as other publishers. Most of my articles are accepted as is or with minor corrections. However, every so often I get a really rude editor saying things in a manner that just isn’t necessary. Usually the change requested doesn’t alter the article much but I do it rather than argue with an ego. I didn’t expect such unprofessionalism in a work environment. I’ve often wondered about their editor’s qualifications.

  • Felicia November 26, 2008, 6:16 am

    Hi Teri Anne

    It gets a little frustrating at time.

    I find that I write for Demand Studios in spurts. Right now the titles seem to be a bit thin so I’m backing off of them for awhile.

    Have you tried submitting articles to eHow directly? While you won’t earn $15 up front, you will earn money residually. Check out my eHow experiment. The money that I earn from my eHow articles don’t currently match $15 per article, but I’m confident over time it will exceed that amount.

    So, if Demand Studios frustrates you, eHow is always a viable alternative.

  • kelly January 7, 2009, 3:10 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I hate anyone or any organisations that have double standards!

    [comment edited]

    I’ve had no response from Demand Studios, after submitting my application to them. It’s been close to 2 months but I have not been waiting around for a response. I’ve been too busy!!

    kellys last blog post..qutequte: @Infosourcer we committed the same mistake at http://TwitPWR.com/1wi/ (look at our Twitter URLs) haha Nice to meet you!

  • SuzeeQ April 22, 2009, 3:52 pm

    Up until today I was a title proofer and writer on there. Now I’m just registered as a writer.
    Seems they didn’t like my title proofing. Last week they sent me an email, saying I was editing the titles too well and to “pretty much leave them alone.”

    Today, I get an email, saying they’re not edited enough.

    I sent the guy back a copy of his own email, and I think I made him mad when I noted that on their own home page, there is a sample title for a “great” freelance opportunity. The sample was “Curing the Flu With Diabetes.”

    If I had the flu, I certainly wouldn’t try to cure it by contracting diabetes.

    Demand is okay if you want to earn some quick cash for the weekend. Just don’t expect too much of it, and if you do start earning a little more than the norm, expect someone to pick your items apart.

    Oh, yeah, I’ve been a professional writer and newspaper editor for more than 20 years. I think I know what I’m doing by now.

  • Felicia April 22, 2009, 4:25 pm

    Suzee, as my grandmother always used to say “Common sense aint so common.” Your Demand Studios situation further proves my grandmother’s point.

    I agree with you, Demand Studios is good for some quick cash, but it can become frustrating if you depend on them for a major part of your income.

  • Sandy June 12, 2009, 10:38 pm

    Same here. They contradict what they expect with the title proofing. They want one thing, but then when you do it – oh,no – don’t do that now! For pete’s sake, make up your mind. And I find that they’re picking apart my editing now that I’m making more.

  • David September 21, 2009, 10:24 am

    Loved the article Felicia. I definitely share your frustration. I once had an article on how to tell someone lying rejected for similar reasons. The editor said something odd and uncommunicative like “who needs to watch everything someone does like that? A detective? Sounds paranoid.” I tried rewriting my intro to make it as clear as possible that the techniques in the article could be used by a detective or an average person who wanted to know if he was being lied to, but apparently trying to catch someone lying still sounded too “paranoid” to the CE.

  • Felicia September 21, 2009, 10:53 am

    I’ve pretty much given up on Demand Studios. It’s been over two months since I last wrote for them.

    It’s amazing how my frustration level has decreased since I stopped writing there. 😀

  • Cyn November 11, 2009, 3:43 pm

    I just read this (after clicking over from another post you wrote about DS). I thought I’d share my lovely run in with a DS CE:

    I accepted an assignment entitled, “How to Refinance Your Mortgage to Avoid Foreclosure.”

    I researched, took notes, and wrote what I thought was an easy-to-understand informative article. The CE thought otherwise. She (for some reason, with the tone she wrote to me in, I assumed it was a she) told me that I needed to be more specific. The laws, she said, are different in every state. For this reason, she wanted me to include instructions for every state.

    Uh. Huh. I wrote back and asked if she meant that I should add information about getting refinanced for each state in the US. She said yes. I wrote back told her that my step X provided a link to where people could get information about their home state, and that adding information about each state would make the article 50 steps longer.

    She rejected the article, calling me insubordinate and difficult.

    :
    .-= Cyn´s last blog ..Happy eHow-niversary to me! =-.

    • Felicia November 11, 2009, 3:50 pm

      I sure hope that CE and others like her are either gone or better trained.

      Now that I’m giving them another try, I’d hate to run into such situations again.

  • Tas December 12, 2009, 10:07 pm

    Hi Felicia! Love your blog – you have great information. I’ve only been writing at DS for three months and it has been very challenging – not the writing, but the CE’s. There is such an inconsistency among the CE’s that it literally makes some writers extremely anxious.

    I had a CE return to me what I thought was an easy article of which I had a lot of knowledge. This CE said it was “sloppy” and fully of typos and extra words but failed to point out one “slop” “typo” or “extra word” nor was I provided any reason for the returned article and no direction at all. I took great offense to the word “sloppy” and filled a CE Complaint. Of course, the entire appealing of rejects and rewrites is very CE-sided and rarely are these overturned. If you read the DS forums, it appears that rejects are overturned quite often, but I don’t really trust the information on the DS boards (sounds to “everything is wonderful” to be true) – I know too many people who work at DS and rejects are not overturned very often.

    I did receive a response to my complaint, but it was an apology and I was informed the CE would be spoken to concerning the use of language. The problem was the article expired before I heard back so I am out $15. This happens quite often and it seems to be happening a lot more this month. When I began three months ago, it seemed all the CE’s were very helpful, at least the ones I got. Lately it seems most are unhelpful and only a few are actually giving advice.

    I despise the one-strike you’re out and not being able to speak to or IM the CE – if they do not like our rewrite, it is a rejection. I tend to let some of my rewrite requests expire or use them elsewhere so I am not completely out 🙂

    While I plan to continue writing for DS – I am going to use them for backup funds or if I need quick cash. I do not see how someone could write there full time and not totally crack!

    Tas

    • Felicia December 13, 2009, 7:46 am

      I understand your frustration, Tas.

      That’s why I believe that residual income is so important for freelance writers. Making Demand Studios a sole source of income isn’t wise. I appealed one article and haven’t heard back from them. So, I took the article and placed it elsewhere. I try not to take their edits to heart. I focus on my own financial goals and let the silly requests roll off my back. I also repeat the Serenity prayer in my mind to help me get through some of the unreasonable edits.

  • SuzeeQ December 13, 2009, 9:48 am

    An update on my comment! I’ve seen a lot of the work at home sites that have Demand Studios on there desperately seeking copy editors. I applied, sending my resume, and within one day got a rejection letter telling me that my skills are not what they are seeking! What? I’ve been an editor and professional newspaper journalist for more than 20 years! My current daytime job, for TWO 30,000-plus daily newspapers, is as lead copy editor/graphic designer. I just wanted to make some extra Christmas money! Maybe I should send a new application under a fake name and email and say I have my GED and see if they hire me.

  • Victoria Drake January 5, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Wow! This was very interesting to read. Felicia and Cyn, your articles sound right on to me and to take that kind of criticism is just horrible. I feel for you.

    I write the occasional article for my blog or for HubPages, but I don’t write all the time because I just don’t like it.

    I do Keyword QA for Demand Studios and I actually enjoy it. Just today I got an email highlighting about 10 keyword choices I got wrong. A few of them made sense, but for most of them, I had chosen the ones that were more specific, whereas the correct choices were very vague.

    Now I’m confused. I went to do some more today and just froze. It feels like getting run over when that sort of thing happens. You just don’t know what to do.

    They said if continues to happen, they threatened probation or termination. Wow, that’s real encouraging. And, just like a few others voiced here, the Title Manager offered feedback and help, but I haven’t heard a word back after sending him an email.

    Considering I’ve done somewhere around 75,000 keywords for them, if they can only find 10, I don’t see how bad I can be doing.

    I just want to find other non-writing, non-phone and non-scam work on the internet, so I have more than one or two sources to go to.

    Thanks, Felicia, for letting me vent. I appreciate it.

  • Lana January 28, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Can they really get rid of people from Demand Studios. I told a CE off in the beginning of the month because they gave opinions vs. facts and they got to the nerve to question me on why I felt that way…..Theses are the most dumbest slave shop employers in AMERICA…. I have not logged on since then because it is not worth my time. I checked my e-mail today and saw a letter stating they do not need my services any longer….I was thinking to myself are you freaking kidding me. You don’t pay people enough to criticize and make such decisions. If you take out taxes from $7.50 you are left with nothing, nada. This company is crazy, which is why I hardly wrote from them in the first place.

  • April April 14, 2010, 9:39 am

    Hey Demand Studio writers, Don’t worry. You can always re-submit your fantastic article that some jerky copy editor who obviously cannot write a prose to save their life, has rejected. Just wait for it to go back into the que, and claim it again. Chances are great it will be submited to a totally differnt copy editor who doesn’t think their word is God.

    Keep writing!

  • wordophile July 28, 2010, 6:29 am

    I hear your frustration. I wrote for them for over a year (not regularly; it wasn’t worth the effort money-wise) and recently decided to stop writing for DS completely. I found that the editors’ remarks drove me insane and it was getting more and more difficult to find writable titles (‘How to build a mechanical turtle’ doesn’t work for me). I also realised that the more time I invested with them, the less time I had to build a proper writing career. I also no longer wanted to be associated with them professionally, considering all of the bad press they get.

  • Raymond July 30, 2010, 3:12 am

    I took the advice found on your blog and didn’t attempt a re-write of an article I submitted. I waited for it to be placed back into the que then requested it again. I placed the SAME information in the sections and two things happened: 1. The article was flagged as plagiarism, then released two days later. 2. the article was accepted WITHOUT a re-write request.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

    • Felicia July 30, 2010, 7:17 am

      Raymond, thanks for sharing your experience. It helps us realize that waiting it out is sometimes the better option.

  • Ignatius July 30, 2010, 11:44 am

    This topic (dropping a re-write request and picking it back up to get a different editor) was discussed on the Demand Studios forum yesterday. The management of Demand Studios apparently just recently discovered the practice. If my understanding is correct, they have banned it and are planning to do some programming to make it impossible for writers to do it. For those of you who write for DS, you should be able to get some more details on their site. This is just a friendly alert :).

    • Felicia July 30, 2010, 1:54 pm

      Wow, that’s unfortunate. Oh well, there’s always placing the article elsewhere.

  • wildwoodwaitress September 6, 2010, 11:11 pm

    So glad I found your site. I appreciate reading all of these comments about working for DS. Seems like the more seasoned a pro you are the more problems you have with DS CEs.

    I have more than 25 years of freelance and corporate writing experience plus two nonfiction books to my credit. Now I can’t get past the “Fun Fact” part of the bio. The first ed. who reviewed my bio asked for me to include my education credentials and said nothing about the one sentence description where I briefly mentioned career in poetry. It was pretty straightforward and simple.

    Next editor tells me not to mention current projects and I need a “more compelling fun fact.” What?! And then proceed to list a half dozen of these nonsensical, dippy descriptions of previous writing experiences. Condescending to say the least.

    What happened to providing a decent, dignified response when asked something personal about oneself?

    I don’t need the grief. Thanks all for saving me future aggravation with these people

    • AG March 23, 2011, 12:46 pm

      I have to laugh at that fun fact. They rejected my first saying it needed to be humorous. So I changed it and it was rejected saying it needed to be personal. I resubmitted what I had in the first place and it was approved. I took that as a sign of things to come.

      I wrote my first article and it was sent back for rewrites saying a specific breed of dog needed to be added to the list of easy to train dogs. The dog the editor told me to add was in no way easy to train. All of the books I own say it is a difficult breed, very stubborn in fact.

      My next article has been sent back stating I need to explain to the reader how to use a phone. Seriously? If the reader needs step by step instructions on using a phone, I’m betting they wouldn’t be online. Given that, I’m stuck on how to proceed and think it’s likely not worth my time anymore.

      • Felicia March 24, 2011, 6:50 am

        AG, Welcome to the frustrating world of Demand Media Studios.

  • Astralwolf August 15, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Here’s something better: I just got fired from them for “poor performance” despite having no rejected articles, average/rising scores and a low rewrite percentage. Now after being fired, I’m still getting spammed by their stupid “demand deals” emails even after I sent messages to the unsubscribe email.

    This company is a joke. You all can do better.

  • Michael August 23, 2011, 9:59 pm

    I know this is an old post, and that you don’t write for Demand Studios anymore, but just wanted to say wow that editor was way off. You have to write to the title. If anyone has a similar thing happen to them definitely send a note to the help desk. This was a case of the editor not knowing what they were doing.

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