Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is Write.com legit or Is Write.com a scam?
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What is Write.com?
Write.com is a “platformer” – a writing site that piggybacks an existing site to get work from writers, rather than posting and accepting work through their own site. Cloudcrowd, for instance, is a fellow platformer that uses Facebook, whereas Textbroker is a standalone site that allows workers to log in directly. Write.com uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk site – called Mturk.com – to farm out their tasks.
How do I start at Write.com?
If you’re interested in working with Write.com, start on their homepage. Click the “Join Our Team” link and you’ll be taken to a 20-question multiple choice test that, as typical writing site exams go, isn’t exactly a piece of cake. It is, however, surprisingly static – meaning that as far as I can tell the questions do not change. You’ll also have to submit a writing sample at the end – mine was on cabinet knobs.
Once you’ve successfully passed the writing test, you’ll receive an email that looks something like this, directing you to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program, which hasn’t been mentioned until this point (click to enlarge):
How do I get paid with Write.com?
Write.com, as we discovered earlier, uses the Mturk system to send out jobs for hire. This means that unlike the vast majority of write-for-pay sites out there, Paypal will do you no good here. Mturk is an Amazon invention, which means you’ll need an Amazon Payments account. Amazon payments are a pain if you’re used to using a Paypal debit card, as the only method for payout (other than using your credit on Amazon.com, natch) is to request a transfer to your bank account, which can take a few days.
How is the overall experience at Write.com?
I opted not to go through with it, after all that rigamarole – which should tell you something. I was initially enticed by the high pay for the usual 250-500 word articles Write.com had listed on Mturk, mistakenly believing that passing their entrance exam would give me access to these decently priced jobs. Once on Mturk, however, I found that the only tasks I had access to were piddly little things like keyword research that paid less than a dime for what looked to be 5-10 minutes of work. When I wrote in to ask about it, this is the response I received (emphasis mine):
“Because you are just starting off as a writer in our system, there are going to be a few tasks that are not available to you. These writing tasks are listed exclusively for our “intermediate” and “advanced” writers that have earned those qualifications over time. As you begin to write for us, you can build up a reputation within our writing “career system.”
For our writing qualifications, we grant writers “intermediate” or “advanced” based on a few areas. We are able to keep track of how long a writer has been completing work for us and the feedback that writer has received from our editors. We use this information to determine what qualification each writer should have.
Each writer that works for CrowdSource starts at beginner. On average, a beginner writer moves up to intermediate when he/she has been writing for CrowdSource for three months. Going from intermediate to advanced, however, takes about six months of writing after the intermediate qualification is given. A thorough knowledge of the style guide and standard grammar is demonstrated.”
So, in other words, if you want to make any real money, be prepared to work like a rented mule for the better part of a year just to gain access to actual writing assignments. Funny, I thought I just tested for punctuation, mechanics, style, grammatical understanding, and writing ability to, yanno, write. It feels like a classic bait-and-switch to me, and I’m more than a little ticked off that a site that purports to be about writing is actually just looking for people to do mindless click tasks for pennies an hour.
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