Review of TextBroker UK
I found textbroker.co.uk after seeing Textbroker.com mentioned here on HubPages back in 2012. A reputable site that pays upfront for articles is worth considering as an additional income stream, but I was disappointed to find that as a non-US resident, I couldn't join the dotcom site. Fortunately, just before I moved on, I saw a footnote saying that English-speaking, non-US residents could join their sister site, Textbroker UK. As a Brit, that's what I did.
How it works
I assume that Textbroker UK is operated in a very similar way to the American site but with a few differences. TextBroker UK is actually based in Germany, despite the very British focus, and it pays in euros. Here's an overview of how it works.
Clients submit article requests to the site. Authors (that's us), if qualified, can consider any posted request, and either accept or decline it. The request could be for an article on any subject and will most likely appear on a UK blog or website somewhere. The writing has to be in British English (unless requested otherwise), and the content usually has to be written with a UK readership in mind, although quite a few requests these days are for an Australian readership, and occasionally there are requests for American English. On acceptance of the article by the client, the author gets paid the stated amount.
Author ratings and payment
As I mentioned, authors, if qualified, can write the requested article. When you join the site as an author, you first have to submit a sample of your writing on a simple topic, such as visitor attractions of your hometown or a memorable place you've visited. Textbroker will get back to you in a day or so and award you a star rating of between two and four stars, which determines how much they'll pay per word for future articles.
- 2 stars - legible > 0.7 cents (euro cents) per word
- 3 stars - good > 0.95 cents
- 4 stars - excellent > 1.3 cents
- 5 stars - professional > 4 cents
As you can see, there's also a five star rating, and the pay per word is much better. However, admission to that level is by invitation only, perhaps after they've been impressed by the quality of your work, and by how well you provide customer satisfaction (as measured by client feedback).
A client will choose which author level is required for a particular article when submitting the request. Obviously, the cost per word to the client depends on the chosen level. As a four star author, I can accept any article requests of four stars or lower. If I accept a two or three star request, I'll only be paid at the two or three star rate.
Payment is made via Paypal and can be requested weekly provided you have a minimum of 10 euros accumulated in your TextBroker account. Payment requests in any week need to be made no later than Thursday for payment on Friday, otherwise the amount will roll over to the following week.
Article topics are highly varied, and requests can be for just about anything, such as, for example, to write a 450 - 500 word article on safe high-energy foods for exercise, or the best British broadband providers, top tourists attractions in London, tips on choosing home insurance, driving safely on British motorways, and so on. There are also international topics, such as holiday resorts in Corfu, Hawaii, etc., but they still usually require a British perspective (e.g., getting there from Heathrow or Gatwick airports, etc.). If a non-British perspective is required, it will be mentioned. Since March 2013, Australians have been required for articles with an Australian perspective. Other non-British-perspective jobs may ask for an article to be written in, or translated from, French or German, etc.
Authors aren't expected to have an in-depth knowledge of any particular topic, just a reasonable knowledge and familiarity, backed up by online research. I only accept requests that I'm comfortable with, and any gaps in my knowledge of any topic, hopefully, will be filled after I've researched the subject online. Also, if I'm unsure about what's required, I can use the messaging system to ask the client to clarify as sometimes the instructions are a bit vague.
Article requests often include keyword placement requests too for SEO (search engine optimisation - note the British spelling) purposes. Chosen keywords have to be inserted into the text the required number of times. Keywords requests may be wrongly spelt. As this may be a ploy to catch typo-prone web searchers, they mustn't be changed. In any case, the keyword checker won't accept changes to a keyword.
By submitting the article, you agree that the client can make full use of it and even claim it as their own. They can do whatever they like with it, and your name will never be associated with it. This is ghost-writing territory. You should think of these as disposable articles. Personally, I have no interest in the hundreds of articles I've written so far. I deliberately don't keep copies, and don't feel any ownership.
TextBroker obviously have to take plagiarism very seriously as they're being paid by clients for original content. After submitting an article, it's automatically checked for existing copies of it, or significant parts of it already published online. Unfortunately, even with no ill intent, it's quite easy to fall foul of the checker and be asked to change parts similar to what it found online. It's a bit too strict, I think, as one article I wrote about the UK was flagged soon after submission, because it contained the phrase "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of England, Scotland ... etc.," which was similar to another sentence it found online somewhere. It's kind of hard to avoid that sentence when you're explaining what the name of the country means.
Plagiarism, as in a whole article or significant parts of it, will, of course, get you banned.
Direct Orders and Team Orders
In addition to the open orders mentioned above, clients, if they like your previous work, can make a direct request for you to write an article for them. You can choose the rate for this type of order. Clients can also assemble teams of favoured authors and offer work to them at a higher rate than that of the open orders.
After you have submitted your first five articles, TextBroker puts a temporary stop on your writing until they review those articles and rate them, giving each one a star rating as they did with the initial sample. The average of these five ratings determines your new star rating. In my case, they were all four star ratings, so there was no change in my overall rating, and I was free to continue writing new articles.
Reviews are periodically carried out. Every article will eventually be inspected and given a star rating, and any typos, missed commas or grammatical errors, etc., will be brought to your attention, usually long after the customer has accepted the article and you've been paid for it. Too many mistakes will result in losing stars, which reduces your future earnings potential. Your overall rating is determined by the average rating of your five most recent articles, so even if you did drop a star, you could get it back by making sure all future articles are more carefully written and worthy of higher star ratings.
Rejections and Revisions
A client can either accept the article, request a revision, or reject it outright, which, according to TextBroker, is very rare, and only happens in about 0.5% of cases (half of one percent). If the client fails to do anything, the article will automatically be accepted after 3 days, and the author will automatically be paid.
The client may ask for a revision, and the author has to comply with the request within a day. If the author fails to comply, the article request will be returned to the article pool for any other author to accept. The original author won't be paid. There's no official limit to the amount of revisions a client can request, but if they abuse this option, TextBroker will side with the author, and the author will be paid. If the revision requests are reasonable, then TextBroker will side with the client.
If an author finds they've bitten off more than they can chew, they may cancel an already accepted request. The article request will then be re-posted for another author to accept. Cancelling a request that you've already accepted should be a last resort as frequent cancellations can lower good standing with the site.
So far, I've enjoyed my experience. I've been paid up to date, and I'm looking forward to future payments. I only accept higher-paying direct orders, team orders or 4 star orders that I can do based on my own knowledge with minimal research and can complete them in a very short time. If the hourly rate of any assignment works out at less than the legal UK minimum rate of around £7 per hour then it's not worth taking that assignment. In fact, it should be significantly higher than the legal minimum. Some clients expect far too much research and special formatting to make it worthwhile. Don't be exploited by such clients. Write well and get noticed by TextBroker or clients who'll send higher paying direct orders or invite you to join a team.
As for work available, sometimes there are just a few jobs on offer, sometimes there are lots. You just have to keep checking and grab any suitable request that comes up before someone else does.
So, if you're a Brit, or you're familiar enough with Britain to research and write articles on a variety of UK-relevant topics in British English, AND can write well enough to get offered higher rates per word, it's worth considering joining up as an author. Here's the link.
© 2012 Chas Mac