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Demand Media Studios - Should You Write for Them?

Updated on June 3, 2012

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:

Hello, Susan.

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.

Best,

The Demand Media Studios Editorial Team

Obviously, I'm expecting the same results for my other appeal. 

Have You Written for Demand Media Studios?

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    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 4 years ago from Texas

      I'm sorry you've had such a difficult time with them. It's beyond me why they don't treat their writers with more respect and encouragement - after all, writers are their bread and butter.

      I do agree with you regarding their guidelines - writers (and most likely editors as well) need to spend far too much time studying the ever-changing rules and regulations, instead of writing for fear of spending time in the naughty corner. Ridiculous!

      Best wishes!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 4 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      They took the heart out of me. Every time I think about writing for them, I get a knot in my stomach. Don't know that it was going to be my choice for much longer anyway.

      I forgot to mention that the lack pointed guidelines is just as unfair if not more so to CEs. I've worked with some who are very nice, but they are often dense and/or contradictory. I think it's a problem of management most of all.

      Thanks!

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 4 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for your comment, nArchuleta! I was under the impression that DMS had done away with the WEP because it was so incredibly unpopular and unfair. Ridiculous!

      You're right about editors being terrified - although, some seem terrified to get on the bad side of the DMS bigwigs, while others seem to truly enjoy being pompous jerks.

      Just curious - will you continue to write for them?

      Thanks again for your comment! Best wishes and happy writing :D

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 4 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I just got WEP (writer evaluation program.) I majored in writing. I can please professors with a doctorate in writing, but not some DMS CE? It all comes down to accountability. DMS is not providing adequate guidelines for their CEs who are then terrified to edit an article in the "wrong" manner or who can then use the DMS website as their petty kingdom. On the DM Sucks website, there's a link to a DMS CE who wrote the most pompous, dismissive rant about how he edits. It's not fake -- I accessed the rant on the DMS website.

      I'm a teacher -- it's ALL about accountability. If I can justify giving a student a grade by using a detailed rubric, then certainly DMS CEs can be expected to do the same.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 4 years ago from Texas

      Hi Randy! I'm happy to hear things are going well with Demand. It seems to be the way with them...up and down, just like you say. I've actually been thinking about trying them one final time. As you say, the increased payment is attractive! Best wishes and thanks for your comment!

    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 4 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      I am writing for them again. I have worked through two rewrite requests and had one article accepted without rewrite. It is an up and down ride, but I think it will be all right. My hubpages apprenticeship program is winding down now and need more income. It is worth the struggle and I am enjoying getting paid the increased amount.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for your comments Posts! Yes, there definitely are both pros and cons for writing for just about all online content sites :-)

    • posts profile image

      Gjivan 5 years ago

      And it's always better to earn 1$ a day for years than 50$ at once and forget it..

    • posts profile image

      Gjivan 5 years ago

      Well, I have also heard pros and cons of DM and their monopoly. I really had made up my mind to apply there but, after studied reviews by many of their writers, I had chosen hubpages. I had written lot of articles for ezine, odesk

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Neil, that's exactly how it should be - you should still be paid something even if it isn't the full $25. I'm sure CEs still get paid for editing an article even when they've rejected it. I can honestly say I wouldn't recommend DMS to writers. It really isn't worth the headaches. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • Neil A Ellis profile image

      Neil A Ellis 5 years ago

      I'd given writing for DMS a thought and am glad that I have moved on. I have written a couple of articles for a trade publication. I expected re-writes and made the re-writes. While my articles weren't used, I was still compensated for writing the articles.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      nybride710, that seems to be the consensus when it comes to writing for DMS. Thanks for your comment!

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Makes me glad they turned me down when I applied over a year ago.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for your input Christine. What a shame DMS is creating such a hostile environment for both writers and CEs while they sit back and rake in the big bucks. They're beginning to sound like the WalMart of content mills. Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image

      Christine 5 years ago

      In defense of CEs, they are under a lot of pressure not to let anything past them that doesn't meet DMS's supposedly high standards. CEs are terrified of losing permissions because it's hard enough to find a few articles to edit each day if you do have a lot of permissions. I was a CE until a few months ago when I finally reached my breaking point.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks chrisinhawaii! Yes, I'll end up submitting the articles elsewhere as well. It just irks me that I spend so much time fine-tuning an article only to have it rejected. There was a time when I could easily churn out 10 articles or more a week on Demand Media and never even have a rewrite request, much less a rejection. The additional 10 bucks an article hardly makes it worthwhile. Thanks so much for your comment and your vote!

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      I've heard up and down reviews about them, too. Haven't submitted to them yet, but I'm planning on giving them a shot. If they reject, then I plan to simply submit the rejected articles elsewhere as a Plan B. That's what I've done with stuff I submitted to Yahoo. If they reject it, no biggie cuz it's still "unpublished and I can just submit it at another site.

      Thanks for the review. Some of these places just aren't worth the headache =)

      Voted up and useful

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      TToombs08, thanks so much for your comment and feedback! I'll be updating the results of my daring rejection appeal :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great hub. I've heard of DMS but have never checked into it. Thank you for an honest review. Will be following this discussion. Voted up and more.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      DNemesis, your examples are proof of just how flaky DMS editors can be. I've spent some time browsing forums where writers can vent about the DMS process and have seen some pretty funny stuff. Well, it would be funny if our income didn’t rely so heavily on DMS editors. Thanks for your comment!

    • DNemesis profile image

      DNemesis 5 years ago

      The DMS thing is mostly hit and miss. It all depends on the subject and MOSTLY on the damn editor. Some editors are plain awesome, while others are a PAIN. This past month i have received about 3 rewrites out of 50+ written pieces, which is a good thing. However, my latest rewrite just proves how annoying the process can be:

      An editor wanted me to remove a so-called "obvious" statement in my introduction. On the other hand, though, he wanted me to add "CD" to the "Things You'll Need" section for the title "How to Burn a File to CD."

      Talk about contradiction, huh. Yeah, let me also add that I need a "Mouse" for the title "How to Use a Mouse" while i'm at it.

      It all depends on the editor you get, as some of them can reaaaally ruin your day and your mood.

    • lovesleftovers profile image
      Author

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Audrey, DMS has a reputation for churning out superficial fluff simply to increase their Google rankings. I'm glad you found my article interesting :)

      ruffdesign, Thanks for the info. I'll have to check it out!

    • ruffdesign profile image

      ruffdesign 5 years ago from London,UK

      I write for iWrite they pay really good also @ruffdesign1: Check out my hub on how to be more persuasive when writing http://t.co/nUTkC23e and my fiverr http://t.co/qvlzrUAV for a written article....

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Interesting! I have only written a couple of articles for them, but both times, what they asked for and wanted was a superficial treatment of a subject that actually required some depth---I will follow this discussion with some interest--Thank you