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Demand Media Studios - Should You Write for Them?
I’m always willing to pass along valuable information for writers, stay-at-home moms and anyone looking to make some money by freelancing from home, so after remaining silent about Demand Media Studios up until now, I've decided to address some of their issues.
Demand Media Studios (DMS) has had its ups and downs in the past, but seemed to be making a real effort recently to maintain their existing writers as well as attempting to attract new talent by raising their pay rates.
Demand Media Studios Raises Rates
After writing eHow (owned by DMS) articles for quite some time, I was excited to be accepted to several new DMS content sites and was even more excited to learn that DMS pay had been raised from $15 to $25. Not bad for writing a 400 word article. Or so I thought.
Demand Media's Copy Editors
It has become painfully obvious to me that it’s practically impossible to write articles that will not require a rewrite and ultimately be rejected. The Copy Editors (CEs) are far from experts on the various articles they are editing and often make ridiculous and outrageous requests. I’ve written literally hundreds of articles for DMS in the past and have NEVER had one single article rejected. That was true up until this week when I had two articles in a row rejected. Some of my articles have received Article of the Week awards in the past, but now I suddenly don’t know what I’m doing.
The biggest issue I see is that, when you write an article for DMS, it’s a roll of the dice. You have no way of knowing which CE chooses your article. Although there are specific DMS guidelines, editing an article seems to differ greatly among DMS CEs, making it difficult for writers to keep up with the demands. In addition, CEs know who the writer is, but writers do not know who the CE is. Who's to say that if a writer has had an issue with a CE in the past it won't affect how their article is handled? I now find myself holding my breath and hoping my article is chosen by one of the "nice" DMS editors before hitting submit.
No Pay for Rejected Articles
The fact that a writer could quite possibly spend several hours researching, writing and then rewriting an article only to have it rejected and NOT RECEIVE ONE CENT IN PAYMENT is outrageous in itself. And, there is no way for a writer to find out if their “rejected” article has been used by DMS anyway. Think of it this way: If you worked at a job for several hours and the employer told you they didn’t like your performance for one reason or another or they asked you to redo what you had already done and then finally told you that you wouldn't be paid for all your effort what would you do? You’d sue, you’d file a complaint with your State’s Labor Dept, or you would do anything to attempt to recoup your lost wages. There is no recourse to the DMS rejection process. Appealing a rejected article very rarely results in having the decision overturned.
Appealing a DMS Rejection Can Lead to Dismissal
I’ve appealed the two rejected articles. DMS allows writers with at least 20 published articles to appeal a rejected article. I had several appeal credits available. Now I’m waiting for my Dear John letter telling me that I no longer meet DMS standards. I’ve heard of this happening to other writers far too many times to think it won’t happen to me.
Demand Media's High Google Search Results
Do this one thing: Conduct an online search on any search engine for ANYTHING. Take note which articles come up first in the search. Nine times out of ten it will be a DMS article (most often an eHow article). What does this mean? It proves that DMS is a multi-million dollar company that spends a lot of time and money on algorithms that guarantee high internet search results. Little of their millions go to the people who make that possible – their writers.
My honest advice to anyone considering writing for DMS is to carefully think about this decision. You may end up saving yourself a great deal of unnecessary misery and pain. I am always reluctant to be negative when it comes to reviewing any company, but I’m passing this information along to help other writers.
To anyone considering writing for DMS I say this – Good luck. You’re probably going to need it.
UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. I received an email from Demand Media with absolutely no explanation why the article rejection was "upheld", but here is the email:
We've carefully reviewed the decision made by your copy editor to reject the article, "Easy Ideas for Growing Grapes on a Wire," and we have decided to uphold the rejection.
The Demand Media Studios Editorial Team
Obviously, I'm expecting the same results for my other appeal.