Is Demand Studios A Scam, A Rip-Off, or Is It Legit?
Introduction to Demand Studios
Demand Studios is a website that certainly seems to cause a lot of argument and disagreement among some in the writing community. Some people argue that it's one of the best websites online for making income as a freelance writer, while others argue that Demand Studios is a scam. A lot depends on perspective. There are a couple really snobbish freelancers with blogs who blast DS and everyone who works for them, arguing that everyone should "work on increasing their value," ignoring the fact that there are only so many jobs that pay $1 a word and virtually all of those go to a select few writers. Demand Studios is definitely not a scam. They pay their writers in a very timely fashion (twice a week), and I've made several thousand from them in one month. Most articles are either $7.50 or $15 an article, and even beginners getting used to DS can often write a $15 article in 30-45 minutes to write while the $7.50 can take as little as 15 minutes and no more than 20. For many people that is way above what they make working a minimum wage job or struggling with unemployment. People can argue over whether this site is right for them, but the "Demand Studios is a scam" just isn't at all correct.
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So Is Demand Studios a Rip-Off Then?
Each person on their own can decide whether or not Demand Studios is a rip off, although in my personal opinion they are not. How can any place where you can make $22.50-$30+ an hour be a rip-off? That's far more than many freelance writers make, especially online writers. In addition, since there is always work there, writers don't have to spend hours working on sending out queries that never get a response. But I suppose this could depend on your experience, what connections (if any) you have in the rapidly dwindling print industry, and where you live. In Iowa if you're single you can live very comfortably at $18,000 a year. In New York City, not a chance. The pay amounts might look low at first, but you always have work available from home, and once you understand the style guides and figure out which types of articles do best for you, you'll be able to produce a very good hourly rate.
Some people would still argue that DS is a rip off, but short of learning to become a professional copywriter and knocking out sales pages that convert above 5%, I'm not sure what other type of online writing directly pays freelancers this well.
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What Makes Demand Studios Legit?
Demand Studios does have their flaws. For one, right now it's a US writers only club. In addition, many of the people angry at DS have horror stories about the incompetence of the editors. While the far majority of the editors I've deal with have been fine, the "problems with editors" excuse is valid. I've had to deal with contradicting information from one to another, a few snarky jerks who expect way too much for $7.50 or $15, and in one case, a rather incompetent editor who wasn't following the style guidelines that DS demands. In the end, it will only be a matter of time until you get some frustration with an editor, but that shouldn't deter you from pursuing DS as at least a part time writing option.
The reason there is no Demand Studios scam, at least in the opinion of this freelance writer, is that they pay their writers (and more than minimum wage), they provide solid work, and I haven't seen any signs of blatant attempts to run writers off or not pay them (as I've experienced at Helium and heard from many others as well). Because of all this, whether you like them or not, DS is legit.
What to Do with Rejected Articles
Recently on my freelance writing blog I wrote a popular article on what to do with rejected articles from Demand Studios. Getting an article outright rejected, or having an article sent back for a completely unreasonable rewrite, is by far and away the most frustrating part of writing for this company. My combined abandoned rewrite or rejected articles ranges from 7 to 14%, depending on the month. A key to succeeding with Demand Studios, and as a freelance writer in general, is to make sure you get paid for your work and get the most from your time. If an article rewrite is rejected, or if you get a rewrite request that is completely unreasonable, take that text and use it to start a HubPage. When they don't pay for the text because they don't accept the article, the copyright remains yours. Because of this, all you need to do is change the title they provide and then use your text to build a HubPage, throw on some eBay or Amazon modules (or both) where appropriate, and by doing so you can build your passive income while still concentrating on a freelance writing career. This helps you get the best out of both worlds, and the full blog post on turning Demand Studios rejections into passive income cash can be found there.
Okay, So What's Your Take?
So what am I for thinking $20 an hour is a good start?
Am I Helpful, an Idiot, or a Scammer?
Someone sent me an e-mail a couple weeks ago based on this page, which got cut off or something because it didn't make a lot of sense. But several condescending insults came in full force before the cut-off, so I think this is a fair question for all of you: Am I being helpful, am I an idiot, or am I a scammer?
So I'll suggest right off the bat that I'm not a scammer since I'm not gaining anything by recommending Demand Studios (there is no affiliate program), and I don't work for that company, and would probably turn down any job they offered me. I like my independence way too much. But the main argument and source of condescending seems to be from my comment that $20 an hour was a good start for freelance writers, a good income, and an excellent start for online writers. One question in particular to quote the e-mail: "Do you really think $20 an hour is a good rate for writers? Do you think any writer who is earning that is really going to stay writing for so little?" Other comments indicated I was an idiot and a scammer for thinking so.
So what's my final answer? YES!! I think $20 an hour would be an excellent start (and give credit where it's do, the person at least skimmed this page to get that number) for freelance writers. First of all, 90% of freelance writers can't make an income above the poverty line. $20 an hour at 50 weeks a year for a 40 hour work week is $40,000. That's more than 45.4% of individuals make in the United States according to the 2007 numbers. There's another 3% right around that 40k mark.
And that's the really low number because I didn't say I averaged $20 an hour. I average $22.50 an hour to $30 an hour. We'll go on the low side and call it $25 an hour to be safe, and that even assumes the same number of $22.50 hours as $30 hours (also a low estimate). That's $50,000 a year, and well over the 50% mark, which was at $44,000 a year as of 2007. It's also a ton more than the tens of millions of people who are unemployed. And I work 52 hours a week, and more than 40 hours a week. I also use Demand Studios rejections as passive income.
So is $20 an hour a good start? In my mind, absolutely. And even if that was all I could make, I will take $20 an hour freelance writing before I go to the most common jobs around here: All at $10 an hour or less. If you don't want to work for "so little," then don't. And I'm not saying everyone can write as much as I can, and I have a lot to apologize for in life (the zebra incident, the flaming pineapples, that duck tape thing) but I don't think $20 an hour as a good start is one of them.
Just to make it clear: I have no issue with people disagreeing with me. Everyone has different experiences. For example: I have no idea why anyone would defend Helium.com, but plenty of people do. But when leaving a comment, insulting other commenters is NEVER allowed, and insulting me:
- Doesn't hurt my feelings at all
- Doesn't piss me off at all (I have better things to do)
- Doesn't say much for your intelligence
I'll publish comments that disagree with me, but keep it civil and respectful, and don't write anything that can get me sued for libel. Other than that, it's pretty open game. Feel free to vote on the poll!