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Demand Media Studios: My Account of Getting Fired from DMS

Updated on January 17, 2012

Demand Media Studios is a website that pays $3 to $25 or more for content provided by freelance writers. Recently, the company made a variety of changes to its site, including reducing the number of titles. Though it became known because of eHow, the eHow titles disappeared completely. Titles for other “special” channels also disappeared. Many writers could not find any titles available. Only those with permissions for eHow Home & Garden, Auto Beta, or Tech Beta still had access to titles. In the mist of all this, Demand Media Studios handed me my walking papers.

My History with Demand Media Studios

In the early days of Demand, writers wrote for eHow. We created our own titles, created an account on eHow, and published the articles directly on the website. After sending an invoice, we received a check in the mail. After working on a few projects, I moved onto other things. When Demand launched its website and dashboard program, I became a writer again. During that time, the site approved me for several special channels based on my writing, including Travels, Trails, Golflink, Livestrong, and a special USA Today project. Demand Media Studios decided to create an eHow Home & Garden section with gardening and home improvement titles and I received permission.

Problems with Editors

Many writers express problems with Demand Media Studios editors. The editing is inconsistent at best, with editors frequently offering contradicting information. If one editor tells you one thing, you can rest assured that another editor will tell you something different. A good example is writing out measurements. In my last three weeks with the site, I had no less than six different copy editors express a different way to use measurements. Each did so in a snarky way, claiming that their information was correct and the other editors were wrong.

My Problems with DMS Editors

As Demand Media Studios started “firing” writers and copy editors, the rewrites started increasing. Some were for minor problems, but in many cases I found editors that wrote a rewrite longer than the 400-word article for a simple task. One particular editor claimed four of my articles and sent each one back with a long rewrite request. I have an advanced degree in historic preservation and one of the titles involved Ranch homes. The editor claimed that because he/she lived in one of the houses as a child, his/her experienced trumped my degree.

The same editor changed factual information and added passive voice and inconsistencies to the article. I sent a CE Complaint form to Demand, pointing out my experience. I also posted on the forums, asking if anyone else had troubles of this kind. I woke up the next day to find an email that I was fired or “let go” and that my writing permissions were revoked.

The Demand Firing Email

According to Demand, one title the bad editor inserted false information into was actually correct. The fact that he/she had no references for the information and that my references did and that I did the project in the past was of no concern. The email also contained instances of three articles that supposedly contained false information. Yet all three articles were approved without any rewrites and each is currently listed as-is on eHow.

The firing email pointed out that I had an abandoned rewrite percentage of ten percent in the last six months. That covers the entire period, but looking at my own records, the majority of those abandoned rewrites came during the last month with the lack of titles. While it might sound high, it also means that 90 articles were approved for publication and 87 of those articles had no rewrite requests.

Getting Fired from Demand

As a freelancer, I realize that I am not an employee, but it still stings to lose my writing privileges. At no point in the past did Demand inform me that my writing was sub-par, or that any editor had a problem with my work. I was never targeted for the evaluation program, which supposedly weeded out inferior or bad writers. Looking at my past work, I discovered that I wrote over 4,800 articles for the site since 2008.

I firmly believe that the only reason the site fired me was because of the problems I had with editors. If I did not contact that site about the editor, would I still have a writing position? According to the email, the site conducted a random audit and deemed my work unworthy. The email came through at 11 o’clock at night and less than 24 hours after my complaint.

It is clear from the drop in stock prices and the lack of titles that Demand Media Studios is a sinking ship. As a writer with a published book and a Masters degree, it is clear that DMS is not looking for experts as they claimed before. Another writer was fired a few months ago, despite working on a doctorate and having taught college level English. DMS seems like it is slowly weeding through writers that have problems and leaving only the happiest and most confident cheerleaders left. Once the titles stop completely, those writers will be left out in the cold.

My advice is that if you still have writing permissions, do not rock the boat. Keep being a DMS cheerleader until you wake up to an email that you can no longer write for the site or worse, that the site no longer exists.


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    • Max Dalton profile image

      Max Dalton 3 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Smoking:

      I can relate. I started writing for DMS about six years ago and wrote a ton of rev share articles. After they took that away, I started writing the paid stuff. The level of effort around writing the articles just became too much over the last couple of months, and I got whacked a few days ago. I was mad at first, but there were times when writing for that place just sucked the life out of me because getting $50 an hour for a side job was appealing. You can read about my experience here:

    • Mala Srivastava profile image

      Mala Srivastava 3 years ago from India

      Can a writer fired from DMS apply again after 6-7 months?

    • profile image

      alexsaez1983 4 years ago

      I wrote quite a few hubs about DMS. I started with them in 2010 and was "fired" in June after allegedly gaming the system as a title auditor (don't even get me started on the titles I saw. "How to Force a Burp", "How to Fix a Gay Son"). Shortly before, I'd appealed a stupid rejection and found myself in WEP less than a day later. I think you're onto something about Demand only keeping the drooling idiots around to preserve its image.

    • profile image

      Wendyc 4 years ago

      From my experience it didn't matter that I have a degree in my field, instead my editor wanted multiple links pointing to every word that she didn't understand. If I cited my personal experience or study on a subject as research it seemed they wanted me to still find links to prove it. Do they want experts or rewrites of other information on the web? Also, shouldn't an editor reviewing a piece on wine be able to spell Pinot Grigio?

    • profile image

      Facepalm 4 years ago

      I might be a troll baiting another troll, it "instead on" or "instead of?" Good job, Jimbo.

    • profile image

      jimbo 4 years ago

      RE: In the mist of all this, Demand Media Studios handed me my walking papers.

      Did you do a lot of things like use the word "mist" instead on "midst?"

    • profile image

      ChristineRaul 5 years ago

      I'm completely sympathetic to your experience. DMS "fired" me after I appealed a decision by a CE who wrongly accused me of "copying" one reference out of nine references I used, even though I gave a very clear outline of how all references were incorporated into the article (and it was not flagged by the third-party plagiarism checker). About half an hour after I sent the appeal, I was "fired," even though the article in question was rejected a week prior. I wish there a way to unionize DMS writers!!! It's a horrible content farm that leaves writers vulnerable to bad and often unfair decision making.

    • profile image

      Dondo 6 years ago

      By this posting, your writing skills appear to be far better than most DM writers. Your real problem is probably a lack of expertise in some of the subjects you covered (you couldn't possibly be an expert at that many subjects). In most cases with DM, it is the blind leading the blind. Non-writers are knocking-off content from quality sites, and they are being edited by half-assed editors. The whole effort is to create content that, though devoid of any new value, will attract people to click on Google ads. If eHow completely disappeared, the Web would be a better place.