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Do You Really Want to Write for a Content Mill?

Updated on October 17, 2014

From the Frying Pan into the Fire

Never let it be said that I avoided a topic because it was too controversial.

No, this isn’t about abortion, or religion, or gun control.

This is about a real hot topic…writing for content mills.

Let me get my opinion out of the way immediately: I hate content mills and I think they hurt the writing industry.

Was that clear enough for you?

Allow me to explain.

My father was a staunch union supporter, a member of the Teamsters during the 50s and 60s, when the Teamsters meant something and carried some weight in the economic landscape of this country. He had a natural distrust for corporations, and he believed that the average working stiff didn’t have a chance at fair wages and treatment without the power and weight of the unions. My dad had no desire to be rich from working in a gravel pit; he just wanted to be paid what he was worth, and what his hard labor was worth.

He came from a generation that believed if you work hard, you should be paid enough so you can raise a family and live comfortably. He believed if you were lazy and did not work hard, you didn’t deserve a job. He saw management and the labor force in a partnership, and if both held up their end of the contractual agreement, everyone in our society would benefit.

I have a real hard time finding anything wrong with his thinking.

And that leads us to content mills.

I dictate prices from this desk and bypass content mills
I dictate prices from this desk and bypass content mills | Source

First, a Definition

I’m going to borrow from Wikipedia for the definition of a content mill, or content farm as they are also called:

Definition: A content mill or writers mill is a slang term used by freelance writers and given to a company, website or organization designed to provide cheap website content, usually at a significant profit to themselves, and usually by paying very low rates to writers.

There are literally thousands of content mills currently doing business around the world, and some of them are hugely successful. Demand Media publishes over one million articles each month, and is worth in excess of $100 million.

How does it work? In a typical scenario, a company contracts with a content mill like Demand Media to increase their search engine visibility through articles laced with keywords. Demand Media then pays writers to write those SEO articles for the customer. If Demand Media is any good at what they do, the customer will see his/her online visibility increase, and supposedly, then, their overall business will increase. Meanwhile, Demand Media is raking in the money paid for those articles.

But what about the writers who actually write the articles?

Now we’re getting into a topic my father would have loved to weigh in on.

What about those writers and their pay?

Is this what you want to work for?
Is this what you want to work for? | Source

So, What’s the Problem?

Imagine, if you will, writing a 500 word article. You research the information, write the article, and format it for publication. You invest an hour of your time doing so, and for that hour you are paid $3.50. In other words, if you work a ten hour day, you will have a grand total of $33.50 in your bank account at the end of that day. How does that sound to you?

My dad is rolling over in his grave at this moment, screaming at me, “Bill, don’t you dare work for that little amount!”

Don’t worry, Dad, I have no intention of doing so.

But I did at one time, when I was first starting out, because hey, I had bills, and I was eager to make anything writing, so I worked for a content mill and made five bucks per article….and then I woke up from my nightmare and slapped myself.

Let’s stop for a moment and take a deep breath, because I can hear some of you screaming that you make much more working for a content mill, and I know you speak the truth. Remember, I said there are thousands of these mills out there, and some pay “decently” for articles. I know writers who are getting paid twenty and thirty dollars per article, and although you will never get rich doing so, you will at least be able to pay your bills. Those writers are doing it correctly. On sites like Elance, they only take jobs that pay them well, and I’m all for that.

But the majority of content mills get away with paying five bucks per article, and they will continue to get away with it as long as there are writers out there willing to write for pauper’s wages.

This Is Not a New Concept, Folks

Take most major corporations, and you will find the same economic thinking applies. When you have a working force that is desperate to make money, then that working force will lower their standards and work cheap because hey, if they don’t, there is always someone who will. Ask any clerk at a convenience store why they are working for minimum wage, and they will tell you the same thing: they need to work and they need to pay the bills. They have no chance of getting ahead by doing so, and there is practically zero chance they will receive a raise in pay, but those bills have to be paid, so they do it.

And the corporations are planning on that desperation!

I Have One Other Problem with Content Mills

Actually, I have a lot of problems with them, but let’s focus on the fact that accepting low pay drives the pay scale down for everyone. Again, as long as there are writers willing to work for that ridiculous pay, then the market will not be forced to raise its standards.

It’s a bit like coal mining. Everyone with half a brain knows that coal mining is bad for the environment and horrible for the health of the miners, but there are still people willing to work in those mines. As long as there are those who are willing, coal mining will continue to be dangerous, harmful, and, for some, profitable.

You Have Other Options

I’m for the writers in this economic battle. Consider me your union leader.

I say cut out the middleman, and in this situation, the content mill is the middleman.

Instead of having the content mill drum up work for you, why don’t you go out and drum up the same type of work for yourself, and charge the customer what the content mill charges?

This is what I do and I pay my bills, on time, monthly by doing so. I contacted local business and gave them my sales pitch. I then charged them what a content mill would charge them, and I shared none of that with a middleman.

If you don’t see the economic advantage of doing this, then there is no hope for you.

I currently have two major customers I have been working with for three years. They pay me $30 per 400-word article. I can do three of those articles in an hour. In other words, I make $90 per hour, and now we’re talking about serious money.

Which sounds better to you, $3.50 per hour or $90 per hour?

But There Are Many More Options

Write for online magazines. Write for online newspapers. My goodness, my best-selling article has been sold to five different publications for a total of $650 to date. One article! It took me two hours to write that article, and probably a total of two more hours to sell it five times. Four hours of work for $650, or $162.50 per hour of work.

What sounds better to you, $3.50 per hour or $162.50 per hour?

Be your own middleman and share with no one
Be your own middleman and share with no one | Source

I Understand, I Really Do

Times are tough. I get it. I understand why people write for content mills. We need money, and we’ll do just about anything we can to make that money so our kids can eat and have clothes. Yes, I understand.

What I don’t understand is continuing to work for that little when there are viable options that will pay you better.

If any of this makes sense to you, then I invite you to join my union. It’s called the Fair Pay for Writer’s Union, or FPWU for short.

Seriously, what do you have to lose?

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

      We keep sites going yet get paid pennies if that. I love the photo of the grass. I have a similar one as my avitar on the SG Junior site.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 2 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Another excellent article. I have written and still write sometimes for content mills. I really need to follow your advice. Thanks so much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, as long as there are people willing to work for peanuts, that pay will continue. Simple supply and demand. Thank you for the visit and your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suziecat, thanks for sharing your experience. There is better money out there, but you'll have to hunt it down. Good luck.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      Many of these content mills are disappearing. I am amazed at all the writers they attract. I do write for Bubblews which is actually fun--but the pay is going down.. As we see changes in these sites--i think they are often on the way out. I have a new writing site I will be writing for (for pay). Will keep you posted as it unfolds. However, I think people are satisfied to sit back and create content and make a little money. It takes work to go out and get business. Right now I am making cold calls to get Christmas business for my gift baskets and totes. You have to follow up and and keep after it...Isn't it easier to sit at home and create content for little? UMMMMM

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, quite frankly couldn't have said it better here about content mills myself and am with 110% on this one. Tried once in the early days and swore I would never again after I realized what they were all about. Thanks always and Happy Friday!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Carol, I think you are right on in what you say. It is much easier to stay at home and work for little...great point and I agree completely with you.

      Thanks my friend and have a fabulous weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I think you made the right decision. That path you took turned out pretty good, 'eh?

      Thank you my friend and Happy Friday to you as well.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Ooooo, Bill. You present harsh reality so well. I take the message wholeheartedly that we should not short change ourselves when we are worth so much more. If I think about it too long, it certainly does feel like working for a content mill means I'm giving away skills for pittance. But when I think of writing for HP as a supplement to the business I run, I can live with it. I'm learning that writing full time is not an easy task unless you totally commit. I enjoy writing on the side for now and the gas money I get every other month or two for my car. But I will definitely take heed to your message that I'm giving away my milk for free. :)

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 2 years ago from California, United States of America

      Another good one, Bill. It seems as long as there's an opportunity to give people low pay for maximum work, companies will do it. The Internet has become the new frontier in that regard. I was selling articles for $8 a pop at one site and it was wearing me out without giving me much in return. I stopped doing that.

      It seems the only way to make decent money writing is to get in contact with people directly. Or, at least, by email. I have heard of people cutting out the middle man--known as ad programs--and going directly to advertisers to place their ads on their blog.

      At any rate, you're absolutely right that no worker should work for peanuts to make companies rich.

      Cheers, my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I make okay money writing for CopyPress. They pay $0.03 - 0.06/word. One client even gave the writers on his campaign their bylines. The problem is, the work is sporadic and the clients seem to take their sweet time approving the articles once CopyPress editors approve them. Pay is twice a month, but it's dependent on client approval. In one instance I missed two pay periods after my editors approved my work because the client took her sweet time closing the circle (cycle).

      I need to concentrate more on finding my own clients. It stills scares the hell out of me. I've reached out a couple of times and had favorable results, but not conclusive. I wish I could find the key to getting over my fear. I know I should 'just do it', but that's easier said than done.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Excellent article! As a newbie myself I have mulled this issue over and paid attention to what other new freelancers are saying (and to what experienced ones like you say too). The take away has been that the majority of new freelancers do not write for content mills to pay the bills because, as you clearly demonstrate, it just won't. They do it to get practice and, if they're lucky, some by lines.

      Here's an alternative. I choose not to write for content mills for exactly the reasons you stated. I am volunteering my writing services to my son's school. I am in the process of writing a Kickstarter pitch to raise funds for a musical production they would like to do. Once that is done I will volunteer my services (on their website) to a non-profit org that I love but have a hard time physically volunteering for now that my schedule has changed. Once I get some confidence I will submit articles to local publications as well.

      By doing it this way I not only opt out of the exploitative content mill system, but I actually get to do some good in my local community while getting those by lines. Even more than that though, I get to practice my professional skills in low risk endeavors. By cutting out the middleman I have to take the initiative and be a full-on professional, which is my goal-to be a professional writer. This is a win all around.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm with you on this one, bill. If we don't value ourselves then how can we expect to be valued by others? I've never considered content mills but fortunately, as you know, I don't have to. I can understand why some do.

      Getting off our backsides is something we must do, to earn our pennies, to earn respect and to prove ourselves. What works best in our own areas? Word of mouth! That's worth a lot more than CVs, self-promotion and the like.

      Go out and seek work, make a huge effort and you'll always be rewarded! One only has to look at you and it's obvious; surely everyone can see that. More power to your elbow, bill!

      Have a fabulous weekend!

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this information on content mills. I have never paid any attention to them, but there is wisdom in your perspective: "accepting low pay drives the pay scale down for everyone." Good writers are worth decent remuneration.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Jan. HP really isn't considered a content mill, although I can see the similarities.....and I agree with what you said...make some gas money, get your feet wet, work on your craft..all good reasons to stay.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nate, thanks for weighing in. I can understand people doing it, but there is so much more out there if one spends some time finding it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For some, Sha, it is much easier said than done. You'll do it or you won't, and it will happen when it happens. I understand about fear, so I make no judgment. Good luck my friend.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 2 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      We here at HP can definitely count on you to keep us straight on these issues. I believe, and I'm sure you'll agree with me that Carol said it just right, We all find, that is with the exception of you that, "It is much easier to stay at home and work for little", than to go out there and write the rules by which we work.

      Thank you. I can do better than pennies.... Voted up and useful.

    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 2 years ago

      Awesome article! Extremely sensible and useful. Wow, I certainly won't forget this and will make sure I'm careful as I venture out to fulfill this dream. This serves as an encouragement! Again, great article! Voted up and shared. God bless you...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Iris, I can't think of a thing to add to what you said. You are doing it perfectly. I volunteer my writing for the urban farm center in our community, and it makes me feel good by doing so, and it gets my name out there for others who might need a writer for pay. It is, indeed, a win all around. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

      I think a lot of these places use foreign writers as well and they CAN live on 3.00 an hour..unfortunately .

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I don't know what there is about you and your notes, but you make me smile every time I read your comments. I love your practical outlook on life, an old-school way of approaching a problem. Thank you for sharing your experience my friend, and Happy Friday to you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I understand why people write for content mills, but I think all they are doing is hurting themselves in the long run. Hard work will pay off if you value yourself. :) Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Comfort, I am in a unique situation for sure...I don't have to work, so anything I make is gravy, but I also went out and built my business from the ground up, and I did that the old fashioned way...I knocked on doors and asked for business. If I can do it at my age then any writer can. Best wishes to you and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you mothersofnations....God bless you as well. If you take the approach that looking for writing jobs is just like looking for any other job, then you will see the logic in my article. We do not have to work for pennies. There are companies out there who will pay more, but we have to attract them.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Oh dear! Am I old school? I suppose that's good in most ways!! :) I do have a practical outlook though; what else is there?!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brie, I agree, they do and it is. Thank you for mentioning that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, face reality, you are. LOL

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 2 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Totally true and very well said as always Billybuc. As someone fairly new to the industry, it has been so educational. I think many of us have to try things on, see how they fit, while we learn the ropes at the same time. If nothing else, it's good practice for us while we find our paths to better things. It's surely a learning experience.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi Billy! Great article, and I totally agree that content mills pretty much suck.

      I do want to weigh in on one thing though-- I kept Demand Media as an ace-in-the-hole for years. When I first started writing at all, I was writing for them before they were even Demand Media; I was invited to come on board when DM started. Whenever I needed a bit of extra money or when the holidays were coming, I'd pick up as many DM articles as I wanted for supplemental income.

      Even though they are the most well known content mill and are often used as a model for content mill nightmares, they don't actually pay dismally-- when they first started a 500 word article was $15; now they pay $25 to $50 on average, and if you're an expert in a topic in demand you can make up to $75 per article. On average I earned about $50 an hour writing for them.

      Some people are invited to work on special projects and make even more. The only DM articles I got $3.50 for were "tips" of 50 words or less-- of which I've done a few batches, at the rate of about 10 tips per hour ($35/hour).

      I also did some rev share articles for them a number of years ago (2006 or so I think), for which I still get royalties. I've earned a good $300 to $400 over the last 5 years on a few of those articles that took about 30 minutes to write. Not all of them have earned that much, but even the least earning ones have paid out over $50.

      They also would have bonuses (for example, on a holiday weekend if you produced a certain amount of accepted articles, you'd get a $100 bonus), contests, etc.-- one contest they ran for a year gave away a computer every month to one lucky writer.

      For a while there you could get some kind of supplemental health insurance from them as well if you wrote a certain amount, but I never needed that so I don't know much about it.

      Through DM I've gotten bylines on some pretty major corporate websites... clips that have looked pretty good in my portfolio and have helped get me better paying jobs with private clients-- which is why I don't have to work for DMS anymore.

      Don't get me wrong; overall I hate content mills. DMS is picky as hell; their pickiness is really the worst, as is dealing with the corporate persona. They have pissed off a lot of writers, who have turned on them to complain (most of whom are people who had difficulty keeping up with their increasing standards as the compay got bigger and below par writers began losing work).

      For me, they are a tedious chore. There is no joy or creativity writing for them. They are literally writing drudgery, equivalent to shoveling poop. Needless to say, I did not find them particularly inspiring.

      But writing for them was quite lucrative-- I have to give them that. They were a great stepping stone for me. I haven't needed to write for them at all for a couple of years thankfully, and the last couple of times I wrote at all for them they invited me on special projects and paid well. But my account is still active and it's always nice to know they're there.

    • Dean Traylor profile image

      Dean Traylor 2 years ago from Southern California

      Wow. Love this article. It's well researched and truly comes from someone with the expertise to back it up. I've been freelancing part-time...mostly to satisfy my yearning to write articles (I use to work on college and community newspapers, majored in journalism and screenwriting before going into teaching); however, money is a motivator that keeps me going, as well. Lately, I've been in a quandary. I've watched the demise of Internet writing for the last three years. I've seen how some of these companies take advantage of desperate writers. Up until reading this article, I figured I'd put more concentration into becoming a school administrator (currently a special ed. teacher), and put the writing away for the time being. In truth, I don't think I can do that. I need to write and to possibly start getting a viable freelancing career off the ground. I'll take a look at your blog. Again, great article.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      Good article! If you think writer's pay out is poor, artists get such low commissions on sales from POD sites you wonder why staying on. There's got to be a better way, I keep thinking.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub and cutting out the middleman writers can earn a decent amount.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I voted up and across the board on this one. I wrote for those guys but stopped when I realized that a guy with a reasonable program out of India could do the job better I quit. You see that kind of money feeds his family whereas here it does not feed two dogs.

      I also thought it was fun to pump and dump the articles. I had one rejected on camouflage bustiers though.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Right on, Bill! When I saw how little content mills paid, I passed on the opportunity. It's not that I thought I was all THAT and a bag of chips. Contrarily, before I started writing here three years ago, I was new to content writing and quite unsure of my content writing skills. Nevertheless, I could not see working for (virtually) free. At the same time, I can see where someone might work for a content mill to get their feet wet or to determine if they like the idea of content writing. But, that's about as far as I would go... unless I was one of the writers you mentioned who generate a sizeable income through content mills.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Merrci, most writers, I believe, will go the content mill route when they first start out, and I can see wisdom in it. After a couple years, I see very little wisdom in it. :) Best wishes and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, I have heard the same things, and that's why I did mention there are those who make decent money on certain content mills. It's those that pay horribly that I am totally against....but your information is important and I thank you for that....tedious for sure, but decent money, also.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Dean. in no way do I want this process to sound easy, because it isn't. But there is money to be made if you go out and find it. Locally you should be able to find enough work to pay your bills. I did and that means anyone can. Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is a better way, ArtDiva, for writers, but they have to actually peddle their wares and find the business...as for artists...I know not. I do have a couple friends who make their own greeting cards, place them in stores, and do quite well, but like anything else, there are success stories and there are dozens of failure stories. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Vellur!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Eric, it does not surprise me at all that you had fun as you did it, or that you had to dump over their outhouse to see what would happen. :) Thanks my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, how are you my friend? How's that mini-farm coming along?

      Honestly, I have nothing against content mills if they pay....if they don't, then I think writers need to get off their duffs and go make a good living as a writer.

    • Hooks and Needles profile image

      Hooks and Needles 2 years ago

      Working for peanuts reminds me of writing at Bubblews. It also makes me think I should write for my own website more instead of sharing the money with writing sites.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      I agree 100% with your article. I firmly believe that a lot of spun content also hits the internet because of these content mills. I have been writing online for about 8 years and in that time sold only 2 of my articles. I quickly realized that I could earn more over the long term for my articles than if I sold them. The most I earned from a single article was $9,891.93 and that income took 4 years to add up which is a lot more than if I were to have sold that article for a one time payment. I would love to look at my Hubpage earnings 10 years from today and see those kind of stats but somehow doubt I will. I would also love to see Google figure out the content farms and rate them accordingly.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hooks, you are on the right path with the right way of thinking. Carry on, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lorelei, I'm afraid your comment is pretty common for many online writers....and I also hope the day will come when Google scores content mills the way they should be scored. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 2 years ago

      The people in these videos talk a lot and don't say anything. One even bragged that they don't do how-tos. She said you learn by osmosis, basically, by listening to conversations. OK, well I listened for ten minutes and heard her talking in jargon and generalities, basically taking ten minutes to say that she brought her friends in when Demand Media invited her to join her food channel with them. Both of them said it doesn't matter if you have skills or not. So what does that mean for those of us who have worked hard to develop skills? Is personality replacing skills?

      I have an ongoing job on Elance now where I'm paid $50 per 500 word article. But one of the first things they told me was, "I can see you're a different kind of writer and I want to work with you." I took that to mean that they really wanted someone who could write.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 2 years ago

      I also want to say that writing for content mills works for fast, spontaneous writers who a) Don't care about the accuracy of what they write or b) Whose areas of expertise are already popular (like sports or food) and they hardly have to research. The first one I worked for even told their writers just to spew forth whatever came to mind (my phrasing). There is something to be said for brainstorming, but it seems to be that web content should be more thoughtful.

    • BarbaraCasey profile image

      Barbara Casey 2 years ago from St. Petersburg, Florida

      You are such a great inspiration for us writers who watch dashboards for pennies. It wouldn't take much for many of us to gussy up our articles for submission to magazines. Good grief! I even have the 2014 Writer's Market sitting on my bookshelf.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Power to the people! Great advice, Bill. I was writing for Textbroker for a while but decided it just wasn't worth it to be making, at best, around $7-8 an hour. But I did gain a few skills in the process that have been helpful - like learning how to write more quickly. : ) But, really, it comes down to figuring out how much time you are spending relative to what you are getting paid.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Watergeek, thanks for sharing that....I do believe there are sites that will pay for quality writing. I think they are in the minority, but they do exist.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Watergeek, I think we are slowly seeing the web turn towards better quality, but my God, I've seen some articles that are embarrassing, and I know for sure they were written for content mills and probably written in ten minutes.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, it might be time to pull that Writer's Market down off of the bookshelf and put it to use. :) Keep on working at your craft my friend, and good things will happen.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe that too, Deb. I may not be the next Steinbeck, but I'm worth more than seven bucks an hour, and you are too. I'm glad you realized that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Maximum A profile image

      Jee Ann G 2 years ago

      I'm not a huge fan of content mills because of most of the things you've stated here lol! They're not a replacement for a regular job. They're good for a quick cash (or beer money?). They're also helpful for a quick summer job when an allowance isn't enough, but I think freelance writers who are seriously putting their entire frame into the business should, like you pointed out, avoid these sites that will pay so little for good content. Clients buying from content mills should also keep in mind that they shouldn't demand or expect a lot from the writers who get paid peanuts.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is useful and important information for writers to think about, Bill. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Susan Lewis profile image

      Susan Lewis 2 years ago from California

      I am chuckling as I read this because I've done this and I can say on one hand it had value - I made a few bucks for writing. But on the other hand, it's not how I want to make a living.

      I saw an add (Craig's List) offering $1.00 for 500 words. I hope to God no one does it.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 2 years ago from McLaughlin

      Around 2008, I started writing for Ehow and made decent money for a year or two and then things changed. I also wrote for Squidoo with not as much success but holidays were fun. Now I am writing for Hubpages --but I can't get the hang of it. Very interesting article--I, too, don't have to make a living out of it, so I write for enjoyment. Thanks for this well-thought out and researched article.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I can see the logic in what you're saying, why waste your precious time for peanuts, when the sites are making money from your work. The problem is that there are far too many writers chasing too few jobs. When the internet went viral, many seasoned journalists found themselves out of work as many papers and magazines closed down or streamlined. We now have every man and his dog writing online, so unless you are extremely good at what you do, there is only the content mills. I'm just addicted to HP, why else would I be here? :)

      My views have plummeted to what it used to be when I first started on the site, so I may as well write what I want to write. As always you hit the nail on the head. Enjoy your weekend, my best to you, Bev and Jazz.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maximum, I'm laughing...good for beer money. Right on! Thanks for your thoughts and experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan, I would like to say nobody took that job, but I'm willing to bet someone did. Such is life in 2014, but I don't need to be a part of it.

      Thanks for sharing that. I don't know whether to cry or laugh at that example.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gayle. HubPages is my enjoyment outlet. I make my money elsewhere and we well at it. I always say, if I can make money at this then anyone can.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, my views have plummeted right along with you....oh well. I'm only here to interact with you and others. I'll make my money from other sources.

      I'm sure glad you are here. Thank you and Happy Weekend to you.

      bill

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for sharing. Very useful. Great math examples, as reminders to us all! ;-)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      The only site I write any large articles for is HP. I've never done any free-lance writing nor do I have any plans to do so. If I change my mind, I'll keep follow your advice and look for places that pay me what I think my writing is worth.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Thanks Bill. Interesting Hub. I may take up your challenge some time. Nice to know that you can cut out the middleman. Peace.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      You all may think me "out there," but I have really never used my blogs for earning power, other than as self-promotional, directing possible buyers to my store. Admittedly, not up with all that's possible, and how it all really works, even here. Billybuc, your writing are very inciteful, in a very good way. Learning as I read your blogs and from those following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I'm glad you found it useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, if you ever do decide to, get in touch with me and maybe I can save you some headaches. :) Thanks and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You can indeed, manatita, and it is quite profitable to do so. Thanks for always being here my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ArtDiva, I don't think there is anything "out there" about that. For a couple years I didn't earn anything on my blog....you will or you won't, but bottom line is you have to enjoy it and it has to satisfy your needs. Thank you for the kind words.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I wrote a piece much like this a few years ago after saying similar things to good writers in an assortment of forums again and again. It almost physically hurts to see a struggling writer burning himself out writing magazine quality content for sweatshop pay.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great points Bill. Your father was no fool. I have never and will never writing anything for a content mill. As I have a day job so I do not need to rely on writing to pay my bills. When I get to retirement I will continue to write but never for a content mill. That's when I get serious and try to write for magazines, travel companies, etc.. Until then I need to hone my craft and keep writing and traveling. Great job. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kylyssa, you said it perfectly...sweatshop pay. That's exactly what it is...the perfect analogy. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I love your attitude...hone your craft and keep writing. You are laying the groundwork for a successful writing career, and i have no doubt you will attain it. Thank you my friend. Happy Weekend to you.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting reading. I haven't made money yet writing, but I'm a willing writer I may make it one day, but I think my time is getting a bit short now, too many knock backs with Squidoo and not doing much better here.

      Have a nice weekend, I enjoyed your article, gives you plenty of food for thought.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A while ago I had issues with Content Mills and right away got out of that mess. So not worth my time. You said it all here thank you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I'm with you on this one Bill. Sign me up to your union. There is a Freelance Writers group on Facebook where they advertise writing gigs but most of those offering and taking advantage of it are from India etc and the money offered very low. While there are people from lower paid countries willing to work for peanuts I don't like the chance of forcing the content mills to increase their payments. The only writing I have done for payment is text for children's picture books. My client pays me $50 per book, the first was 160 words poetry, the second 230 words prose. At present I am being given one book per month which isn't a lot but it only takes me around 15 to 20 minutes to write each one so that's around $150 t0 $200 per hour of my time. I just need more gigs like this :). I agree with you that writers need to try to cut out the middle man. I have never written for the content mill and never intend to. Hope you are having a great weekend.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 2 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Billy, Once again Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have to say your father was a smart man, I've worked both sides union and management. I'm a firm beliver in the fact that you can't have a union without a good company, on the other hand a company can have the best product, quality, engineering, and sales force, but will never make a penny without the people on the manufacturing floor. Thanks :)

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 2 years ago from Central Virginia

      That's what I call keeping it simple for us stupid people. Considering that I a still a newbie, I will admit that self-confidence holds me back. I'm still afraid I won't satisfy a private contract and will blow my reputation before I even have one. Around here, local means small town, good ol' boy club and word of mouth can make or break you fast. With all that said, your article certainly provides the motivation many of us need. It's hard to deny that $90 sounds better than $5 .

      You always inspire me Kindred. I'm going to work on that self-confidence thing because I could sure use a raise. Hugs on the way!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Elsie, and best wishes to you. I hope it gets better for you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, not worth your time at all my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, that sounds like a very nice gig. Keep looking and hopefully more like that one will pop up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Esmonaco, thanks for sharing your experience, and I agree completely. When labor and management work in harmony and mutual respect, good things can happen.

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      Thanks for another guiding hub Bill Sir! Your interactive style make us a part of your thought process. Your father was absolutely right who directly linked hard work to a comfortable living style. I think the third generation falls far behind our elders expectations.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      In a misguided attempt to earn some extra dollars, I dipped my toes into the content mill pool with Textbroker and wrote a few articles (all of which had to be highly researched and laced with keywords) for essentially peanuts in payment. I was disgusted at the low return for time invested and, although I didn't remove my profile from the site, decided not to bid on any more assignments.

      Months later, I began receiving direct orders through Textbroker from a client who likes my writing style and wanted me to write pieces for a wellness blog. Textbroker writers are allowed to increase their rates to whatever the client will pay for direct orders (with the site owner's 35% commission added), so I did, the client agreed to my new rate, and I completed multiple assignments for him. In fact, I have four new ones to finish this weekend, but the current batch will be my last. I'm no longer willing to accept the tradeoff.

      While my payment for completed work increased, the narrowly-defined research required before I even begin writing eats up huge chunks of time, thus leaving me less time in my days to work on other projects. (I just received two novel chapters to edit for a writer friend, and they will have to wait a couple of days due to the short deadline for the Textbroker client. That makes me dissatisfied with the situation.)

      An even bigger affront to this writer is to see my creative writing (to which I lose all rights after accepting payment from a Textbroker client) displayed on a Website--not a word changed--under another person's byline. I've decided the extra money isn't worth the hit to my self-esteem. A guest blog with credit is acceptable. Ghost-writing for an ostensible blogger is not--to me, at least.

      Fortunately, a local published writer and friend who is often requested to edit for other writers asked to refer those people to me for editorial services. (He teaches a college writing course in addition to his own writing and hasn't time to take on any fee editing gigs.) Since I enjoy editing as much as (but in a different way than) my own writing, this seems like a win-win situation. If the editorial arm of my freelance business increases, I can say, 'Adieu!' to Textbroker without a backward glance!

      Thanks for your ongoing encouragement, Bill. You unselfishly help the rest of us who write realize the importance of establishing and achieving our personal goals. Your admonitions against the sneaky pull of content mills are important toward helping freelancers keep the big picture in mind as we chart our own courses.

      Voted Up++ and shared

      Jaye

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      I would NEVER consider writing for a content mill, as to me, in my pea brain of a mind, that is not writing. Writing is an art. However, having stated such, I know those who write for a living, must pay the bills, but does writing for content mills, pay any bills? I do love your options you have presented here. This is all easy for me to state due to the fact that I have a great fulltime job that pays well already. Hopefully, not too far in the near future, I can indulge my passion for writing, in the manner in which I would never have to write for a content mill, but as the gift of writing and the pleasure it brings and as an added bonus to possibly impact one life for the better.

      Blessings and peace always.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Amen Bill! Amen!

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Great perspective Bill. I hold back from jumping into the mill because I do value my time and effort. If that means I must wait or find other sources of income well then I guess that is what I shall do. Hard work does pay off and I don't mean pennies. Have a good weekend Bill.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill......This is a wonderful eye-opener for those writers who are basically giving their time and talents away for peanuts. My least favorite thing in the world.."Greed."....the rich get richer and the poor........Makes my blood boil.

      Thank you for helping people to see a better way! Up+++

    • russinserra profile image

      Russ Inserra 2 years ago from Indianapolis, In

      This is all new to me. I have been writing for pleasure for years and am just now beginning to publish. As far as I can tell, my writing compares favorably with most on this site. I could use guidance and help from veterans out there.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 2 years ago from Georgia

      You make some valid points here. And I LOVE the picture! It's just hard for those of us just starting out to find places online that will pay more. Have you written any hubs about that, or can you?

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 2 years ago from western pennsylvania

      I think that we always try to find someone who pays better. I would take any advice and help that I could get. greta job again.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 2 years ago from Newport Beach

      You are EXACTLY right, Bill. Sign me up. I made about $1.60 last month. I have never sold one article anywhere! I am toying with the concept of taking my articles that have a thread running through them and making an ebook of them. However, everything needs promotion. The children's book I wrote as ebook and now in paperback doesn't sell, the app I just made for a kids' Halloween game hasn't gotten any downloads at the googleplay store, my audio essays that I made into an app is offered $3.99 and not one download. So, I'm totally frustrated and feel as if no one wants what I have to offer. I never DID like writing the "how to" type of article and wanted to do short stories, etc. But I came here just to have SOMETHING in print. I know I gave up too easily on submissions to magazines, etc. (Someone once told me that you should try for 5 rejections a week. Then you know you're submitting enough.) But the internet is easy and rejection is low, but we pay a big price in self-esteem and in our bank account by allowing ourselves the comfort of publishing without adequate compensation. I also have always wondered why we couldn't promote each other's writings on our websites. I do in fact, link to writers here who have content that fits my site to help up the numbers of a writer who my visitors will appreciate. Well, back to painting the picket sign. I think I'll go burn my draft card now. Great article.

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 2 years ago

      Thanks for an interesting article. You opened my eyes. So, where do I find the places that pay for my writing?

    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 2 years ago from Madurai, India

      Great news billybuc, you have made me take another look at my writing career. I am in the middle of something serious, and I need to do some serious thinking. You lead on, and I will follow. Voted up and tweeted.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Excellent and well-presented points, Bill. But... (gulp) I wonder what you have to say about the fact the "The Big G" apparently considers Hub Pages itself to be a "content farm," and has slapped it repeatedly and accordingly. ???

      I agree with your concepts; I just did not take my writing far enough, education-wise. I was an English major in high school, because then I was a lazy student, and it was an easy "A" for me.

      But--I did not go on to college directly, and when I did go to community college as a mid-life student, I did not pursue literature or writing courses, except for a single creative writing class (taken for fun). Likewise, my high school journalism classes were not enough of a springboard.

      My problem is being the proverbial "Jill of all trades; master of none." I'm considering an e-book or two, but I'm not working very hard at those. I have so many other personal issues on my plate these days with hubby's health, that I don't have the time or energy to devote to "proper" application to a writing career.

      If only I could travel back in time and slap my 15-year-old self upside the head.....

      Voted up +++ and shared.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      There is absolutely no way I would write for a content mill. I value my own talent more than that.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      I could write for a content mill hmm... kidding just kidding :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      m abdullah javed, thank you. I'm glad you find my interactive style to be enjoyable.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, great comment, but then I expect that from you. I love that you came to the realization that your time is worth so much more. I can say from personal experience that your editing skills are excellent, and you are worth oodles of money for that skill...and your writing it topnotch as well. I think we do a disservice by accepting these jobs from content mills...writers need to find value in their skills and charge accordingly.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, you know I agree with you 100%. Writing is an art, and a good writer an artist....and artists should not work for $3.50 per hour....no way, nowhere, no how. :)

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Audrey. Don't you think writers and poets should value their work more? Of course you do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michelle...we do have to find value in ourselves and not prostitute ourselves for pennies.

      I am having a wonderful weekend and I hope you are as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I simply will never understand greed. I wasn't raised that way and I've never lived it. How much money is enough? I won't be a part of it....pay me for my work, which is valuable, or hit the road, Jack!

      Thanks Sis...Happy Sunday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      russinserra, keep reading the words of the veterans and learn from them...ask questions...you'll learn soon enough.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Karen, I guess I could. I probably have, or at least mentioned it in other hubs, but I can do that. Look for it soon, and thanks for the article idea.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks handymanbill....starting out is hard in this business...no doubt at all...but I did it and that means any other competent writer can.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billie, boy, does all that sound familiar? You just spoke for thousands of online writers, and I do understand. Those who do well with ebooks either have an incredibly unique idea or they are marketing geniuses...or both. I would first suggest reading all you can about marketing your ebooks. My guess is you are falling short in this area. I also think you need to reconsider the magazine route...this is something I have been successful at and really haven't tried hard at. It just takes perseverance. Keep sending out queries and yes, there will be rejection, but there will also be money.

      Best wishes my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      agaglia, in your own community. Go out and talk to business owners...offer to writer for their business website.....I also found good paying jobs on craigslist believe it or not....the jobs are out there.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      snerfu, I wish none of us needed money and there wasn't pressure to make it...I wish we could all just write from our hearts and not have to market our work. But that's not realistic....keep working my friend.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DzyMsLizzy, while you're slapping that 15-year old, slap me too. :) I started out wanting to be a journalist and took a fifty year detour. LOL I finally found my way back.

      As for HP, it really doesn't fit the definition of a content mill, but Google has their own criteria and that's fine...I'm just a writer.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, good for you. Always value your talent. I wish more writers did.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, you have too much talent to do that...keep doing what you are doing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred, I'm not sure what happened to your comment, but it showed up late and then was marked as spam. Sorry about not commenting, but I just noticed it.

      I happen to know...not believe, but know...that you are an excellent writer. I do not pass out praise easily or cheaply, so if I say excellent I mean it. You were meant to be published, and I want that self-confidence to soar. We need your words, with your byline, in magazines.

      Get with it my friend.

      bill

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 2 years ago from Northeast United States

      Billybuc: Thank you so much for the education :) I have never heard of content mills before. Rest assure I would never bow down to these cheap proposals, I would take a third job if I had to at a grocery store which pays more :) Most useful and awesome hub. I liked your direct and genuine approach :) Maybe one day I will be successful writing for a living but for now I work two jobs. Thanks again! :)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Sign me up for the FPWU immediately. As a Union worker who makes a decent living (though not too decent in pricey California) I understand the necessity of Unions for working people and I lament their decline. Fortunately, my decent paying job means that I do not have to rely on the shameless tactics of content mills, as some writers do. But I think the biggest danger of content mills and other writing sites such as Bubblews is that a serious writer can become bogged down in them and not take the necessary steps to advance his or her ambitions. Great hub as usual!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for showing us the way as always, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carrie, you work two jobs AND write? Bravo for your dedication to writing. I am appropriately impressed my friend.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I love this! It's so cool. :) Thank you for your advice, and honesty about everything.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I've had offers to write for content mills but found them too demanding for the pay. Your wisdom is appreciated.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Well said.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, you just made a statement I have made on several occasions. I think our writing suffers when on those sites....and I won't allow anything to let that happen to me. Thanks for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, vkwok, and I thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you social thoughts...glad you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Dianna...demanding for very little reward. Thanks for summing it up perfectly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pawpaw!

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Yup. The proverbial nail has been squarely hit on the head with this one, Bill.

      Content Mills are pretty dark and satanic, really. Nothing to add to this except to applaud you for saying it. And of course, many of these sites also accept very poor work created by people struggling for existence in some of the world's poorest countries. Utterly corrupt.

      But the best thing about this piece is you hand out the solution for free. Just cut out the middleman. And you've proven that it can be done.

      :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you stuff4kids...it really is not that hard to do....but it might require writers to actually do some marketing on their own. :)

    • Shorebirdie profile image

      Shorebirdie 2 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I strongly suggest that if anyone wants to write for mills, or any other site, that they network with other writers. You will find most mills will have forums where writers will often post which other mills/clients are great, and which aren't. It also helps to find friends who write full-time who know all the clients and mills out there. Some mills, I feel, take total advantage of their writers, while others are more than fair.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shorebirdie. Great suggestion and I appreciate you sharing it.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 2 years ago from Newport Beach

      Bill, Reading this over again, I realized that I thought you were writing about hubpages. Isn't hubpages, in essence, a content mill?

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      Both artists and writers are exploited. It's how you use it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billie, by definition, a content mill sells articles to a business....so I'm thinking no, HP is not one...but I can see why people think it might be.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true ArtDiva.....use me, I'm cheap! :)

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      Yup, my strategy, also. Coming in under my competitors for many projects. Kept me employed for many years, and with a very loyal client base until someone beat my price. It's all part of the game.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks for sharing this information, Bill. I like having the rights to my own articles and writing what I like, so I don't care too much for those annoying articles for others. I've done it here and there, but prefer not to do it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ArtDiva, you hit it on the head...it is all part of the game, and we either learn to play it or fall by the wayside. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeannie, you and me both. I don't mind working for my loyal customers, but overall, this is not my gig and never will be.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      I am a hobbyist writer. I "worked" at IWriter before trying my luck here where I have just finished my second hub. To me it has been a thrill to get paid anything at all for doing what I have always done strictly for fun. I did learn a lot there, since I never would have chosen to write on many of the topics that were requested. While there, I wrote about 100 articles of various lengths and earned about 150 dollars. I think the experience gave me the confidence to come here. Thank you for your point of view as a professional writer. You make an excellent case for avoiding content mills like the plague. I agree that if you have experience and can make more elsewhere, that you should.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Besarien, thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you enjoy HP as much as I have. There are some wonderful people here. If I can ever be of any help to you, feel free to ask questions and I'll do what I can.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      I have officially voted you in as my union steward! :) Since many of my clients are unions and I live with a union hubby, I totally get this. I have never written for a content mill and don't intend to. BTW, I've created my own local of the WGGP (Writers Gotsta Get Paid) union. *snickers*

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you can be the shop foreman and whip these writers into shape with some common sense. We have to value what we do, or nobody else will.

      Thanks my friend and Happy Tuesday to you.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

      And here we all are writing for HP and doing just what you talked about...and having Google destroy what little we make! What's a mother to do!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Your father’s work ethic and philosophy were admiral, Bill. We were raised with the same perspective. Sadly, I see too little of this today. Content mills sound like the infamous sweat shops. You have provided invaluable advice on other options. Thank you! Sign me up for your Union. :-)

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney

      What you say is so true. Unfortunately there are so many "writers" out there desperate to have their 15 minutes of fame, even if they get paid nothing for it. Plus legions of people in developing countries, for whom $1 is a lot of money.

      I feel sorry for the REAL journalists and writers, because the host of amateurs willing to work for peanuts is driving down their salaries. Same for photographers and many other artists.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, oddly, I don't consider HP a content mill, but I can see why you and others interpret it to be so....the main difference is that there are no "business customers" here at HP, but then there are the advertisers, so it is really splitting a fine hair either way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marisa, very true..the same is true for anyone in the Arts, and it is sad. I don't see it ending, either, as long as money is in short supply and instant gratification is the name of the game. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      After all these comments. what is a Content Mill?

      Here's Wikipedia version: In the context of the World Wide Web, a content farm (or content mill) is a company that employs large numbers of freelance writers to generate large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines. Their main goal is to generate advertising revenue through attracting reader page views.

      After what happened this last week with Google I would consider HubPages a Content Mill.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Wow, Bill! I'll have to send flowers to the friend who brought me to Hubpages to thank her for warning me off content mills from Day One! A pity more budding writers don't find HP before wasting their time (and dignity) on them. But then I suspect they found the "mills" by Goggling "make money writing". The irony being the intro blurb was probably written by an underpaid "miller".

      Your dad had the right idea about work and unions. To venture off-topic, I'm ever puzzled why a certain political party is bent on destroying unions, when in fact corporations are nothing more than white collar unions. At least unions in your dad's day understood that if the "little guy" was paid a decent wage plus a few bucks to splurge on, not only did the company get its money's worth and prosper, the local economy prospered, too - that money flows OUT and UP, not down as the aforementioned political party wants us to believe.

      Enuff of that! Upped and shared! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna! Someone else made that analogy to sweatshops too, and it is quite accurate.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Elsie! I can certainly understand why you think so.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, it has been interesting to see, over the years, not only the decline of unions, but public favor going against unions. Yes, there was corruption, but there was also a protection for the rights of the worker, something that is sorely missing today....and talk about corruption....look to the top of any corporate structure to find all the corruption you care to see.

      Thank you my friend...great thoughts.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      A day does not go by where I receive an invitation to join one of these content mills you describe in this hub. I did not really know they had a name: content mills until after reading your hub. Thank you for outlining how all of this works. Fortunately, I am happy just sharing on HP where I do not make any money, but friendships that are priceless.

      Wishing you a wonderful day.

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you...you, and others like you, are why I am here and I will remain as long as all of you do.

      Happy Thursday my friend

      bill

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

      Bill: Unfortunately, Google does see HP as a content mill, and I can understand why. Until this site rids itself of substandard work that does not meet even the most basic guidelines of professional writing, it will be what it is. When I came here the song was "write from your heart", etc and "You don't have to be a pro to write here"...but that has changed. However, those who came as amateurs and did not learn to be pros while here are ruining all of us because Google will not respect this site. I hate it, but it is what it is.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, boy oh boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head. That is as clear an explanation as I have read for the problems at HP, and the staff just doesn't seem to understand. Sigh...I hate it too, but I sure do love my friends. Thank you!

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      You make great points Bill, and we write at HP cause of folks like you who are the friendliest people in whole wild world. Wild is right. I wrote for a few sites that I liked at the time but later wasn't real happy with them. I love your article and feisty attitude for those who get pennies for hard work. Sharing. Blessings. Audrey.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, thank you! We are worth more than pennies, and the sooner all writers realize that, the better for all of us.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I don't like the idea of receiving a measly 4 bucks for my writing, but sometimes, if I am in the mood, I crank out a few articles. I haven't done it in quite some time, and I have to admit, I don't miss it! Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

      Now that I think about it, I did write for a content mill. It helped pay my bills. However, the problem was clients that did not know what they wanted, continued to change their minds and want rewrites, claim writer did not follow their instructions. The clients could not write an intelligible sentence. I had other things going on in my life, and after a bit, I went back to find out that my account had been shut down without one email or even a phone call. The supervising staff did not normally behave like this. I never bothered to go back and reapply. It just got to the point where it wasn't worth the headaches and the time involved.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, breakfastpop....I've done it too, until the day came when I realized I was worth more. ;)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I have heard similar stories about rewrites, and to me that's almost like losing money, because in the time it takes to do those rewrites, I can be making money from another source.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 2 years ago

      I have some experience with Textbroker, and I hate it. I have written a few $5.00 articles and some as high as $9, but I am worth so much more than that. I am taking your advise and am searching for bigger and brighter things. I currently have another tab opened with the writing guidelines for Nevada Magazine. The first rule of writing is to write about something you love, and I love Nevada. ( I even looked up the words to "Home means Nevada") Bill keep writing articles like this and being an inspiration to the rest of us.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

      Textbroker went to the dogs. You get great ratings by clients, yet are kept at the bottom of the pile by editors.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      rtburroughs, thank you for sharing your experience with textbroker, and good luck with Nevada Magazine.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I've never tried Texbroker, but thanks for the warning. Now I don't have to bother.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      We certainly deserve to be paid well if we write well, no question about that. Thanks for helping us to drum up better work and be paid what we are worth.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      i believe that's true, Deb. We can determine our own pay if we all stick together and demand more.....think of it as a writer's union. :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      This was interesting to me in that I'm not super familiar with content mills. They don't sound like something I'd be interested in writing for, especially for the pay. A few of the comments here group HP in to that title, but I don't because here I write what I want and when I want, knowing that it may or may not make any money for me, but hoping it will.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I've never considered HP a content mill, but I understand why people think that. I guess it's all about perspective and definition. Whatever we define HP as, I'm glad you are here.

      Thank you!

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