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A Writer's First Impression of iWriter
Writers who have tried iWriter, how was your experience?
A week ago, I decided to take a look at something that seemed too good to be true. These were websites that paid users to write content for their clients, all from home: content mills. Easy money, right?
Goodness, I can hear the veteran writers groaning already.
Despite hearing plenty of criticism for these companies before, I just needed to try one for myself, to see if these polarized opinions, from low pay to horrible clients, held any truth.
And thus began my little trip down iWriter lane....
Honestly, the only reason I picked iWriter for this experiment was the simple registration, at least compared to others that require identification, addresses, and the like.
The website itself seemed popular enough to have work, and it only required a name, email, username, and password to get inside. Awesome.
When I first stepped into the main iWriter interface, I was greeted with a little guide and welcome letter. From the two panels near the top, I could tell that both writers and clients used the same website.
Scrolling further down, there were some tutorial videos available both for people posting and writers taking jobs. I watched both, and I can say that the tutorials did explain the interface well enough for me to navigate the site.
There was one thing however that concerned me however. In the video for writers, the guy who was explaining it began to talk about tiers, and how writers would have to write at least 25 articles with a 4.1+ rating before being moved to the premium tier.
You'll begin on the lowest tier... But everyone has to start somewhere!
-iWriter Tutorial Video for Writers
After clicking the "Write Content" button as directed by the video, the interface changed to a long vertical table, with elite, premium, and basic tier jobs from top to bottom.
As I reached the bottom, I realized why they didn't place the jobs side by side. The basic tier jobs paid an absolute pittance compared to the elite and premium jobs.
Two dollars and forty three cents for a 500 word article? And the clients expect quality? Seriously?
My previous suspicions had been confirmed. I would have to write for nickels and dimes for at least 20 hours of my life before I even got a chance at making more than chump change.
Patience is a virtue, but iWriter might test mine to a maximum.
A few more minutes of browsing, and I realized another thing.
There are literally hundreds of jobs in the higher tiers, and a mere handful (often less than ten) in basic, which are constantly replaced as new writers scrabble over them.
Not only that, but a majority of the assignments in basic had special instructions that were absolutely ridiculous.
Some clients attempted to specify a single author in their instructions, typing things like "This assignment is for MyFavoriteAuthor2 ONLY! Any others will be rejected!" I wouldn't mind it much, except iWriter has a specific field on the client form for exactly that.
Another one of my favorites is the request for 150 words, but has at least twice that amount in detailed written instruction. Obviously they want something so specific they could have written it themselves. Oh wait....
And then there were some that honestly made no sense whatsoever. Vague keywords, sentences without verbs, yet asking for professional tone and knowledge on the subject.
The approvals rates of the clients were placed next to their jobs though, so that was nice.
The one or two legitimate jobs I saw on the first day were usually taken immediately after being posted. I didn't know writers needed trigger fingers.
I did eventually snag some reasonable assignments to do, ghostwriting short blog posts and writing reviews.
After accepting a job, I was presented with a rather sparse text editor. The interface was simple, almost too simple. It was a plain text box that accepted words, like a notepad application on a computer, with about as many options.
Pressing tab to indent the first line of a paragraph did not work when I used it. Rather, it indented the whole paragraph. Okay... I can live with that.
There was also a warning to not copy and paste from Microsoft Word, because of formatting issues. Whatever. I ended up writing my work in Notepad instead, and then copypasted it over.
The timer in the corner didn't bother me much, but it didn't leave much downtime to wait before writing. I could understand why they needed it though, since only one writer could accept an assignment at a time.
If I remember correctly, a writer would get 2 hours for a 300 or 400 word article, so there's plenty of time to research and outline before drafting if you've written since college or high school.
The first inexcusable problem happened with one article I already submitted. When I clicked review article from the list, I noticed that the empty lines I left between paragraphs, to replace the broken indentation, was removed from my final product. Bangs head on table.
Approval and Rejection
So it turns out that writing at a collegiate level and writing for a blog are not the same thing. Despite some clients calling for a "professional" tone and "knowledge" on a subject, words longer than eight letters seemed to get my work rejected in a heartbeat.
That was my fault completely though, I didn't know what kind of people I was working with. Some clients were also plain insensitive and only acted like I was a tool for enhancing their website and not another human being. Unfortunate.
A low approval rating on a client definitely warrants avoidance.
The one highlight out of my rejections was the man who called me rather professional but pompous with his one star review. It made my day, but I was unable to leave a return review on his client page describing his own lack of professionalism.
That gave me great cause for concern, because his client page contained almost no low marks, obviously because no spurned writers got a say in it.
Other clients were indeed very decent people, but they were few and far between in the basic tier.
Payment, or Not
A few days after this experiment began, I decided to call it quits. There wasn't enough money in my account to make a withdrawal, so I didn't even bother setting up my Paypal account in iWriter.
My mind couldn't justify working below minimum wage for a broker that let their bottom tier of workers fight over a handful of low paying, broken assignments like dogs, while the higher tiers were brimming with unfilled jobs.
Others who have gone this route report that they do pay out to writers when they reach a minimum of $20 USD. Below, I do point out that their support team is rather responsive now, so I'll give them points for that.
Deleting my account was actually quite a pleasant experience, after I found out how to do it.
From a quick google search, it turned out that the only way to delete my account was through contacting iWriter through their support system.
So I sent them an email with the standard lingo asking to delete my account.
Lo and behold, I received an email within a few minutes confirming that the request was received. And the next morning, I got another email telling me my account was deleted. Apparently they were sorry to see me go.
I tried to log into iWriter one last time to make sure everything was gone. The login screen gave me this message: "Account has been blocked due to deletion."
That just seemed like a precaution against bad writers from starting fresh. Fair enough.
I wanted to like iWriter, I truly did.
But it just felt like I was selling my soul for a tiny cup of coffee, only to get it thrown back every once in a while, with a free insult.
I'm sure there are people patient and thick-skinned enough for iWriter, but I'm not one of them.
Thank you for reading this. I hope I didn't sound too ahem, pompous haha.
Toodaloo my friends!
clients are a mixed bag
new writers start at the bottom
nice tutorial videos
provided text editor is workable
rating system easily abused
fast support system
must contact support to delete account
only a handful of jobs for new writers