Is Guardian Liberty Voice a Scam?
Note: This has been updated since I first wrote it in 2013. Please see the bottom for all updates.
I’ve heard a lot lately about Guardian Liberty Voice being a scam. I’m a writer for that website, and I have been since mid-November 2013. Seeing the complaints made me want to speak out about my experience, and why I don’t regard it as a scam.
I do still write for the site--and I want to make that clear right now. These are my experiences and I'm certainly not trying to pressure anyone into writing for the site or to change their views. I'd appreciate if people didn't force their views on me. I respect everyone's opinion, and all I ask in return is for my opinion to be respected.
What Is GLV?
This is a two-year-old publication website, which focuses on news. There are various categories for the different things happening in the world, focusing on the main Google News topics of World, US, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Sport, Science and Health.
Writers agree to write a certain number of articles per month for a set commission. That’s right a commission. This is not a pay-upfront opportunity, which is where a lot of people get annoyed. It is based on the number of views an article gets.
It can be difficult to fight for views. Recently, there has been a change in the duplicate content rule. While the same keyword can be used, a different angle or viewpoint must be taken. I find this really easy to do and a lot of the time it just means getting creative.
The GLV Bootcamp Process
There is a two week bootcamp, which takes a writer through the WordPress system and the way that the publication’s owner, DiMarkco Chandler, wants articles to be created. Within these two weeks, a writer needs to create 19 articles by the Saturday before Hell Day, and attend classes once a day for around an hour. The classes are at Noon PST for the first week and 11am PST for the second week.
Within that time, questions about working for GLV can be asked, and I remember quite a few questioning about the payment system. Chandler was very upfront about it being based on views. The more views an article gets, the more money someone is paid. There are people who have earned thousands from one article, but that is over time and because that article went viral.
This is the time to ask questions and find out more about the paper. It’s the time to find out about teams, and opportunities to go further.
It’s also the time Chandler explains the keywords, and using Google News for stories. This isn’t regular reporting. While interviews are a possibility, and I’m looking into doing one as I type, it is more of reporting the news that is already out there. The sources are secondary sources.
Hell Day takes place on the last Sunday of the two week process. Chandler states that it is a 24 hour process, but really it is a case of it takes as long as it takes someone to do all the tasks. I started at 10am GMT and finished at 8pm GMT that night. I didn’t even write for the whole 10 hours. I’d finished the six required articles by 2pm. I was waiting for the one to be assigned and then the final exam. I got the assigned piece around 6pm, wrote that and then did the final exam.
From what I understand, this process has since been changed. It is now run by others. Hell Day is the same, though.
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So, Is Guardian Liberty Voice a Scam?
A scam involves money being taken off someone with the promise of a particular service or product. The bootcamp process is completely free to do. Not everyone will pass, and not everyone decides to continue with it after the first day.
It is a lot of hard work that goes into it, but eventually you get quicker at writing and finding topics.
Where the scam question comes in is the fact that I didn't get paid. It took two months to start getting paid, even though I'd made the minimum payout. For a year, I was paid regularly after that. I got my stipend of $300 plus my share of the revenue. Then payments suddenly stopped and we were never told why. When I emailed to find out, I was told that my payment would be on its way. I ended up getting hold of DiMarkco on Skype to find out why I wasn't being paid. He sent me the money I was owed after that, but I had the same issue the month after that.
Not being paid for work completed is a scam.
Isn’t Guardian Liberty Voice a Pyramid Scheme?
I’ve heard of people complaining that this is a pyramid scheme. I certainly haven’t found it to be that way. Over the last three months I’ve been offered to create my own team, which would mean I get paid commissions for their articles too. I’ve thought about it, but the last three months have been extremely busy. I may consider it more next month and speak to my own editor.
There is no need to create a team to see good earnings. In fact, creating a team isn’t necessarily going to get the good earnings. It's all about finding the viral articles.
There was pressure on starting up a team, though. I'd regularly have Dimarkco talk to me about starting up my own team. It would mean training at odd hours of the night, and each time I made it very clear that I wasn't interested in being up at 2am! The earliest I would get up would be 6am. That's still the same now for any site that I'm eight hours ahead of.
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Getting a Viral Article Isn’t Always a Possibility
It certainly isn’t a case of getting a viral article every single day of the week. I’ve had at least one viral article a month though, which helps to create the bulk of my income for that month.
This is the case with any residual income site, though. Creating a viral article takes practice, and even then you’re not guaranteed success every single time. I just happen to find something big that is going on—and sometimes not even in the United States. In February, I latched onto the “no makeup selfie” craze happening in the UK and Ireland, and created a few articles about that. This month I had one about Beyonce go mega viral really quickly, so I’m excited to see the income from that.
When I started in November, I was really lucky that it was the hype of the Google Nexus rumors, so I created a few pieces about that. They really the initial stage of getting over the $50 threshold in the first month, and surprised my editor at the time.
Finding viral articles hasn't just been an issue for Guardian Liberty Voice. I have this issue with other sites. But when I do get a viral article, I see good earnings on other sites and I actually get paid!
Over to You!
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But News Stories Don’t Lead to Passive Income
Unfortunately it is the case that news stories don’t lead to passive income. While a few of my articles from November are still earning now, they’re not gaining the views that an evergreen piece would do. That is why I have created a mixture of evergreen and news pieces.
You see, once you graduate from Bootcamp, there is no need to stick with just the Google News topics. While Chandler would like you to stick to the trending keywords within Google News, it can lead to redundancy and duplicated content. I’ve started just looking at the keywords for some ideas. Just today I wrote a piece about Facebook and unfriending people. It has nothing to do with something currently happening in the world, but is more of an evergreen piece.
Another issue is that Guardian Liberty Voice will only "pay" (I put it in quotes because you don't exactly get paid!) active writers. Since I stopped writing for the site earlier this year, I haven't had any contact from anyone. I've not seen a penny. I didn't expect to, but I made sure that I didn't miss out on too much. My only issue is that I have articles on the site that are still making the company money.
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Grow Your Craft as a Writer
If I’m honest, I’ve found Guardian Liberty Voice okay for growing my craft as a writer. I stuck with the site because I was making money. When the site incurred a Google penalty, I was still getting my stipend and it worked out worthwhile. Once I stopped getting paid, it was no longer worth it. It started to zap my time, patience and love for writing.
The benefit was using the work as samples and getting clients from it. I also made a good friend who regularly tells me about the sites she's found and vice versa. I did connect with one of the editors on the site but lost contact again when I struggled to get started on his site (more of an issue with me finding my way around the site than anything else).
Update: While it was okay for growing my craft as a writer, that was only for a short period of time. There are plenty of other ways to grow your craft and make money online. I don't recommend Guardian Liberty Voice to anyone. The pay is atrocious, especially without stipends and without actually seeing the money.
Rather than Guardian Liberty Voice, I recommend Daily Voice News for those wanting to be online journalists. You do need some journalistic qualities already, but it is a site to be able to make money and actually get paid. The site is still growing, but the owners have proven to be trust worthy individuals. Another site I currently write at is Inquisitr, which offers training and is similar to Guardian Liberty Voice. The benefit is that the pay is better and you get paid weekly. It's not a perfect site, but it's at least honest in the fact that it pays!
Would I go as far to say that Guardian Liberty Voice is a scam? Yes, now I would!
Update #2: I don't use the content as samples anymore. While I don't regret writing at the site, I don't recommend it or want to send traffic to the site. I have plenty of other similar articles online now that I send prospective clients to.
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