The Difference Between Writing for Content Mills and Revenue Sharing Web Publishers

Internet writers have opportunities to get paid while writing for content mills and revenue sharing web publishers.
Internet writers have opportunities to get paid while writing for content mills and revenue sharing web publishers. | Source

Popular Content Mills

All voices
Associated Content
Demand Media
Suite 101

Content Mills

Content mills, content farms, or writer’s mills are companies that offer pay for articles you write. These companies operate on the basis of offering a large quantity of articles on a vast number of topics. There is usually a team of editors who evaluate your work to determine whether or not the quality of your work matches their minimum criteria. Usually, that means that they are looking for writers who can write search engine optimized (SEO) articles for their clients.

Many writers who are serious about their writing careers have said that they view content mills as a negative platform for writers. Through content mills, a significant number of poor quality articles are passed along to the public. The articles are, most likely not written by professionals, but written by writers who just need a pay check regardless of the validity or relevance of the article they have written. As long as the article passes the test of being search engine optimized with the minimum number of pages, the writer gets paid.

In the sense of fairness, I must admit that I have seen some truly awesome content put out by writers of content mills. To be honest would be to not label all writers as incompetent, simply because they write for content mills.

How Content Mill Writers Are Hired
In many cases, you do not have to be a professional writer to be accepted as a content writer. As long as you can write articles that are search engine optimized, then you stand a fair chance of being accepted as a writer at a content mill.

I read the qualifications of a popular content mill and was surprised to read that the qualification of a top level writer could contain certain punctuation and grammatical errors. The main objective was that the writer could write a number of articles per week and the writer had to demonstrate that they could produce the minimum number of articles to be accepted. Keep in mind, the guidelines indicated that even top level writers are permitted to produce low standard material with errors- just not as many as the lower level writers.

How Content Mill Writers Are Paid
Once you are accepted to write an article, you may be paid per word at the rate of about $.015 per word. For most articles, that computes as approximately $4.00 to $7.00 per article. In order to make a living as a content mill writer, you would have to publish a lot of articles per day. If you can pop out a large number of articles per day, then you would enjoy working for a content mill.

Writing opportunities are placed on a “job board” to see what articles are available to write and then you have to put in a “claim” for the opportunity to write that article before someone else snatches it up and away from you. Then, once you complete a writing assignment, you send it in for approval. The editor approves, sends it back for revision, or completely disapproves the article. If your article is forwarded to the client, now the client has an opportunity to approve, send it back for revision, or completely dismiss the article altogether. When that happens, you will probably feel disenchanted because you just did all that work for nothing. On the other hand, if your article is accepted, you will get paid.

Popular Revenue Sharing Web Publishers


Revenue Sharing Web Publishers

Revenue sharing web publishers allow writers to earn a portion of the earnings generated from their articles instead of a flat upfront fee. Earnings are determined by the number of reader views. Writers are generally allowed to write about any subject they care to write.

Some content mills have an additional revenue share program which can be in addition to or instead of earning an upfront flat fee.

How Revenue Sharing Web Writers Are Hired
As with content writers, you do not have to be a professional writer to write for revenue sharing web publishers. You just need to write original, well-written articles. Sign up through the revenue sharing web publisher’s web site; start writing and publishing your work.

Avoid Being Terminated

Content writing mills and revenue sharing web publishers have a strict policy against writing material that is not original. Beyond that there are other offenses that could get you terminated. Please do not write content that is: unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable.

Which Type of Online Writing Company is Best?

The main difference between content mills and revenue sharing web publishers is based upon two factors:

  1. How you receive assignments
  2. How you are paid

Aside from that, there is no real difference to you as a writer. As long as you are committed to writing well and writing often, you have a good chance of succeeding as a writer for either or both of these types of writing avenues.

Whether you write for a content mill or for a revenue sharing web publisher, the best company is the one that offers you the type of writing lifestyle and pay that you require for yourself.

Author's Preference

I chose to work for a revenue sharing web publisher. I chose to write for HubPages because I want to write what I want to write and when I want to write it.

The expectation with writing for a content mill is that you have to wake up with the birds to be the first one to “grab” the right to write an article before someone else lays claim to the article you want to write. What I like best about HubPages is that I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn. With HubPages, I am in complete control of my time. I know that if I write quality hubs that other people are interested in reading, I have an opportunity to share in the revenue my hubs receive through readership.

Some people write for HubPages for the “fun” of it. I hear you on that. Writing is an enjoyable profession. I write for the fun of it, too. But, I’m not going to try to sit here and tell people that fun is the only reason I write. No, the main reason I write is so that I can earn an income from writing. The fact that it is fun to write makes it easier for me to sit down at my computer, type out words, and then submit those words for publication.

HubPages also has a vibrant community of writers who are friendly and helpful. Sure, like in real life, there are a few writers who take joy in stirring up the kettle. But, I ignore them and get on with writing and enjoying the writers who are here to do the same thing I do – write and get paid.

Final Note

Many people say negative things about web content writers and revenue sharing writers. I say, don't pay too much attention to them. When you dig deep or read between the lines, oftentimes, they are speaking from a position of defense. Most of the time, they are the ones who caused a negative environment surrounding their experience, so now they seek to discourage other writers from becoming associated with the company where they were formerly affiliated.

Regarding quality, like in any occupation, there are going to be bad writers in web content mills and revenue sharing web publishing companies. At the same time, there are going to be excellent writers. I have read the work of extraordinarily talented writers of both content mills and revenue sharing web publishing sites.

Forget the negative talk. Choose the type of company that offers you what you want out of your writing career.

More by this Author

Comments 46 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Oh, no problem, Kevin. We're all so busy these days. I enjoy when people read my hubs and offer feedback, but I also know how hard it is to fit in a little bit of reading now and then.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 3 years ago


I am also glad that I write for HP and I did the same with the Learning Center plus FAQ when I began. I still check in often to both of them frequently. Thank you for your comments on my work, I try to do my best. I am trying to get back to the others I saw of yours, but being busy offline lately I have not even been able to write my own.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

You are so right, Eric Calderwood. I have discovered that when I spend the time and do a good job, the reward follows.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello The Examiner-1. I am glad you liked the hub. I enjoy writing and glad I write for HubPages. When I first started writing here, I spent a lot of time in the Learning Center. It helped a lot. I've been here for about two years now and I still visit the Learning Center quite often. I'm glad to see you here and really enjoy reading your work.

Eric Calderwood profile image

Eric Calderwood 3 years ago from USA

I agree with you. I like the idea of writing for revenue sharing companies better than that of working for content mills. Besides, if you do a good job on your article you have a better chance of making more money in the long run from a revenue sharing site.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 3 years ago

Hi Marlene,

This Hub was intriguing for me to read. I agreed with everything which you wrote. I had been looking for an online job and one day HP popped up. I had wanted to write for quite a while (on paper) and eventually started a blog, then I decided to give HP a shot.

The writing has grown on me and I am still learning about it and improving. Reading this was very helpful because I feel that I made a good choice since I joined here. This definitely gets a thumbs up in my book!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi alocsin! You are a top-notch writer, so I can see how you made it into the more difficult mills. It is good to know that someone with the right set of skills can make internet writing a worthwhile endeavor. Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I actually write for both and like anything you have to make wise choices. The mill I work for pays $25 for 500 words, which is pretty good, and it's very difficult to get in. They're quite fussy, so I'm lucky to be there. As for HP, I like the freedom to write anything that it allows. Voting this Up and Useful.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

healthylife2 - Thank you very much for your positive feedback. It means a lot to me.

ignugent17 - Thank you. I am glad it helped. Prior to writing this hub I was confused about the difference between a content mill and revenue sharing web site. I thought all online publications were the same. But, like you, I enjoy writing at HubPages. I have written at other places, but HubPages offers the most satisfaction for who I am and what I want to do with my writing.

profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

Very useful and interesting!

healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

I found this helpful as I was unfamiliar with content mills. I don't have anything to compare it to but think the environment at HubPages is very supportive and welcoming and I'm enjoying it which is a big bonus.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your feedback, KoffeeKlatch Gals. I really like the atmosphere here at HubPages. The staff works diligently to provide a thriving environment for writers of all specialties.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

Very interesting article. You reasons for working for a revenue sharing site sound pretty much like mine. There are plus to both types as long as you are able to keep them in perspective. I prefer hubpages to the rest but certainly don't limit myself to one. Up,interesting and useful.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Ha! Arlene, you do just like you said. You work "around" them! :)

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

I do have workaholic tendencies. I have to laugh because your descriptions are so perfect. I've worked with a lot of losers who could not match my work ethic. It was awful to be around these people, but what can you do???

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Oh, I know how bad that can be. I once worked as a contractor for a utilities company. The first day I arrived, I caught a whiff of what smelled like acrylic. As the manager was introducing me around the office, we came to the cubicle of the person who was going to be my "go to" person. There she was, sitting in her cubicle, putting on a FULL set of acrylic nails! This is on company time. I could hardly believe my eyes. But, the sad thing is that no one said anything. No one cared. Another person was sitting at her desk reading a magazine. She came in and said she didn't feel like working that day, so she just sat down with her magazines all day. The sad thing is, the company contracted me and another contractor to come in to meet some deadlines. Essentially, we had come in to do the work that these employees were hired to do in the first place. It's sad what goes on in companies like that. I was happy to have the work. So, as long as the employees slacked off, the company kept renewing my contract. I didn't complain.

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

It was so bad. It's so hard to fire anyone because they're related to somebody. Nobody has the guts to supervise, so you are stuck with people who lean against the office furniture and gossip all day. Worthless. Once a person is hired, it takes an act of God to get rid of that person. Dead weight all the way--all on the taxpayers' money.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yeah. Hiring and firing is the hardest part for me. I'm glad I no longer have to think about that anymore. You're a way better person than I am. I wouldn't have survived as a state worker.

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

I'm a former spoiled state worker from California. I do consider my writing a business, but when it comes to being responsible for employees and their benefits, I've never had that experience. Or hiring and firing.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

You're running your own business now as a writer. Right? You just need to know what you want from your company and then structure everything around that. That's all I did. It's not a big deal. I hired people to do the things I was weak at doing, like, I hired an accountant, because keeping track of money is not my strong suit. I also hired an assistant to take care of the day-to-day activities. The employees did the rest. I wouldn't try to start a business today, though. My demeanor would not be able to handle it.

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Marlene, I can never resist talking to you! But when it comes to running a business, I am absolutely gutless. I have no structure.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

We are kindred spirits, Arlene. In college, I worked for other people, and after graduation, I worked for bosses that were heartless and didn't manage people well. So, it didn't take me long to realize that the 9 to 5'er was not the structure for me. I have been self employed for the majority of my life. I would not know how to behave in the "real" world. I have always worked from home and when I did rent office space, I allowed my employees to work from home. The office was just a place to hold monthly meetings and to have a quiet place to work, if needed. I no longer have the office and I am sure I will never have an inclination to work outside the home again. If people wan to hire me, they had better be willing to let me work from home.

Arlene, I look at our posts and think we should start our own little forum... you, me and whoever else wants to join in. :)

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Well, Marlene, I really don't envy people who need to work. If I had to answer to an alarm clock, I would have massive coronaries. Also, I have a mouth on me, so I would probably be fired for saying what I feel. My husband was right about me. He begged me NOT to find work during my retirement because he didn't want to make the trips to the downtown police station to bail me out. I don't know what it's like to work 9-5 anymore, and I don't miss those toxic vampires at work. Or bosses that don't know what they're doing. I also can't see myself riding light rail to work or stuffing my fat legs into pantyhose. Sometimes, I'll be alone at home and wonder about all the things I used to do in the past, just to pay for my mortgage. Scary! Ugh!!! In 23 years, I think I had only one job that I truly enjoyed.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Arlene, people "think" they know what they would do if they retired. It's not all it's cracked up to be unless you have the funds to do the things you want to do. As for my husband and me, we live our basic lives to the exact penny each month. Well, I take that back. One time we had a penny left in our checking account, so that month we didn't live all the way out to the end, but all other times, we do. I am always looking for something that will help generate some income. But, at my age, I don't feel like learning something new. While I have done other things in life, I'm not passionate about them all. I am passionate about writing, so that's what I want to do and if I could find a steady gig writing, then I'll take it. Oh, the other kicker is that I have to be able to telecommute. I don't like "going" to work.

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Marlene, I know where you're coming from! But I do admire you and your husband for being able to adapt! I retired on a Comp injury, but I do have a pension that pays my bills. If I behaved myself, I could even save 1/3 of it every month if I made the effort! My parents are immigrants and grew up poor, so it was always about money and material things. Although I don't buy into their poison, I still drift towards making money at times. I did join a content mill the other day, but haven't moved on it. I pitched a few pieces and published a couple of things at the beginning of the year, but I hate waiting on editors. Sometimes, they won't even answer your query letters. People remind me all of the time that they would know what to do if they could retire. But there's a flip side to everything--including retirement.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Arlene, both my husband and I were forced into retirement in recent years. We had worked as technical writers for the same computer company and on the same day, we (along with a number of others) were part of the company's "right sizing" objective. Suddenly, our household was financially devastated. We were faced with zero income, a huge mortgage and life as we knew it was forever changed. After years of trying to find jobs we decided to just tap into our 401k accounts until social security could kick in and we retired. Hubby is fully retired, but I wanted to continue writing. I've written here and there. My first month writing with HubPages made me feel like it would never be worth it, but then I took the attitude that if I took the time to promote my work to readers on the internet, then there was no limit to the amount of money I could make. So, that's what I do and my earnings are progressing at a predictable rate. I can't live the good life on what I am earning right now, but I'm really happy with the progress I'm seeing. Unless something majorly negative happens, I'll be here forever. I am by no means a success story... yet!

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Marlene, thank you for your insights! I retired in 2002 and had a very hard time with it. Now, there are days when I feel like I need to bring in the bacon. And some days are left to piddle around the house or lounge on the sofa with my laptop. So today, I shall take myself out to lunch and forgettaboutitall. If you really want to know, I am used to getting a byline. Which is why content mills are the same as ghostwriting for me. It's like fast food and no bylines!

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Arlene V. Poma - Before I came to HubPages, I worked for another popular revenue sharing publisher. I have since moved everything over to HubPages because the earnings are better and I really like the community here. I looked extensively into content mills, but decided against it for my own personal desire to continue working for myself. With content mills I would be working for a "client" and while I would get paid up front, I would still be working for someone else - catering to their subjectiveness. I know people who do quite well with the content mills; it's just not for me at this stage in my life. By the way, thank you for your vote.

catmalone - Thank you for your feedback. Your kind words mean a lot.

glmclendon - Thank you for your vote and for your feedback. I am glad you were able to learn a little more about the industry. I also learned a lot while doing the research before putting this hub together.

whowas - Thank you for your feedback. And, welcome to HubPages. It is a nice community. I think that is one of the joys of writing here. I actually looked into writing for content mills before revenue sharing publishers. At the time, I just could not see myself writing article after article, popping them out like spit balls just to make the numbers. I was overwhelmed just thinking about it. Then, I stumbled on to a revenue sharing publisher and gave it a try. I liked it, but the community was fairly nonexistent. Writing can be a lonely job and we need people to keep us alive inside. So, I looked for a site that had a rich writer community and found it here at HubPages.

profile image

whowas 4 years ago

Thanks for a great hub. very interesting and informative and well written, too.

I'm quite new to Hubpages and knew nothing about 'content mills' before reading this. I have previously only published on my own and others websites through private commission (and I'm always open to offers, if anyone reading this is interested!) or in traditional print media.

Personally, the drudgery of the mill sounds terrible to me - although I can see how it could appeal if you needed to make some money any old how.

So far, however, I adore the hubpages - both the inspiration it gives me to keep writing and the opportunity to experiment with different things. Not to mention the friendly and supportive community - and, let's not forget - the fab reading I get to enjoy here, too.

Thanks for your hub. Really found it useful.

glmclendon profile image

glmclendon 4 years ago

Voted up I thought this was good info and opened the light for me. There was so much I did not know and you had it in the hub. Thanks so much!

Stay Well

catmalone profile image

catmalone 4 years ago

Very useful hub in comparison with other revenue sharing web publishers.

profile image

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

VOTED UP, USEFUL, INTERESTING, AND AWESOME. Marlene, thank you for your article. I am kinda on the fence right now and am trying to figure out my next move. I made my money writing for content before coming to HubPages, and I'm sure I can do it again as long as I keep looking for gigs. Unfortunately, I also found that I had to pay TAXES! I've been checking out other sites, so this is a very helpful and timely piece for me.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Crystal Tatum, thank you for your feedback and for your vote. Like you I started using HubPages as a platform to showcase my writing style. Then, I noticed that the more I wrote and participated in the community, the more I earned. I believe people earn in direct proportion to the amount of time and effort they put into HubPages or any place they write. As writers, the number one thing we have to do is write... and write a lot. Then, and only then can we earn the kind of income we desire.

Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

Interesting hub. I stumbled upon HubPages without knowing anything about either content mills or revenue sharing sites. Your reasons for preferring the revenue sharing make good sense. Like you, I hope that eventually I can earn some extra income from HubPages. Thus far, I have earned only 29 cents, but that's largely because there was a misunderstanding about how to get my AdSense account approved.Either way, it doesn't seem like there is much opportunity to earn significant money on content mills or revenue sharing sites. I recently learned that most hubbers earn less than $10 per month. But I don't want to stop writing here because it provides me with an online portfolio, should I ever need one, and I love the community. Again, great hub. Voted up and useful.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi everyone, thank you for your feedback.

bizwin - Thank you for the recommendation of constant-content. I'm glad to see that writers can be successful there. It is definitely worth checking out.

Cyndi10 - I learned a lot while looking into both sides of the industry. I am very pleased that you enjoyed it.

giocatore - I'm glad to meet another writer who has been successful with content mills, you are confirmation that content mills is a viable choice for writers.

CR Rookwood - I think people who are snobby are the ones who know they couldn't possibly produce two articles an hour, let alone one article a month. I think they are jealous. But, tell me, what's the latest on yeast infections? Just kidding!

internetgeek - Thank you very much for your compliment.

LisaMarie724 - I'm with you... I am a happy hubber and I think that will be the case for a very long time.

Thank you all for visiting.

LisaMarie724 profile image

LisaMarie724 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

Good article. I think that there is really not a huge difference between what type of site you write for, as long as you put time and effort into your work you will make money anywhere. I write for hubpages because I really enjoy it here, and there is a lot of freedom. There are other sites and other things that I do with my writing, but I will always be a hubber :)

internetgeek profile image

internetgeek 4 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

This is really interesting and useful Hub regarding this topic. You have listed out some good differences. Nice written and well explained. Thanks for sharing and voted up!

CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

Great hub and on target too. I've written for both, and for my own blogs, and for paper print media. I think all have their advantages and drawbacks. Some writers get snotty about the content mills, but if you live in a part of the country (US) where it's hard to get work for more than minimum wage, pumping out two articles per hour is not bad pay. It's bad pay for writing, but it's not bad pay in this economy. The writing really sucks your soul out though. I've written over two hundred articles on yeast infections for spammy sites through content mills, and OMG am I happy to be here for awhile. Voted up, thanks@

giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

In my experience, work for the mills has dried up significantly. I spent a couple of years with one, mostly editing. The work is repetitive, and you can't always write on the topics you prefer, but it can be lucrative. I would return to the mill if I could. I prefer writing for HubPages because I can write what I want, but I expect that most of us could make significantly more money at a content mill, particularly in the short term.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

This was a very useful comparison. Thanks for taking the time to put it together and sharing the information with the rest of us.

bizwin profile image

bizwin 4 years ago from England, UK

Thank you for sharing this. I write for content mill websites and revenue sharing websites as well. Both are ok as long as you plan your time well. Another writing site i can recommend is constant-content, here you write and list your own writings and wait for clients to buy them, you set the prices yourself. So if you write on topics that are hot, evergreen and clients want, you will be surprised on how much you will make. Voted up and across.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

chamilj - Thank you for visiting and for your feedback.

chamilj profile image

chamilj 4 years ago from Sri Lanka

Very useful article for online writers. Thanks!

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, IndikaT and jainismus - Your feedback is so welcomed.

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

It is an informative and useful Hub. Thank you for sharing it.

IndikaT profile image

IndikaT 4 years ago from Kandy,Sri Lanka

Nice, informative article. Thanks for sharing..

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article