Freelance Writing Site Info: Review

Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is legit or Is a scam?

UPDATE, AUGUST 2014: Hey dudes and dudettes, just so you’re all aware, = (which in turn “ate” CloudCrowd, a Facebook-based paid online writing platform, last year). If you’re looking for reviews on, I got ya covered. This IS a viable place to make money, but do NOT go through to apply because it’s a bit of a pain and clunky – head over to Crowdsource directly instead for a smoother experience.

*** Original Review Below ***

What is 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. uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk site – called – to farm out their tasks.

How do I start at

If you’re interested in working with, 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.

Test Answers to Exam

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): Acceptance Letter

 How do I get paid with, 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, natch) is to request a transfer to your bank account, which can take a few days.

How is the overall experience at

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 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.

Helpful Hints for

Skip it.


56 thoughts on “Freelance Writing Site Info: Review

    • I’m happy to – I started doing site reviews because I noticed that – overwhelmingly – all the other blogs doing “reviews” usually sounded like they were working for one of the sites as an employee, and hence carried a pretty heavy bias.

      I plan on doing many more reviews – the difficult thing is that I’m already “in” on most of the sites and have been for awhile, so I have to either make ghost accounts or trust my memory 🙂

  1. Thanks, man, you saved me some time, effort and disappointment, looks like. Their website felt scammy to me in that they didn’t want a pre-existing writing sample, they wanted me to write something on a topic from a list. To my mind, that’s just culling free content. Screw that.

    • I’m glad to have saved you some time, St. James – it can be hard to get a feel for a site before really getting into the application process, so I’m hoping to give fellow writers a shortcut through these reviews.

      I want to take a moment here to mention that not all places that want a new writing sample are scams, per se – if I’m not mistaken, I actually think has a clause that they will not use the work you submit for anything but grading. I always encourage new writers to go with their gut rather than getting entranced by the dangling promise of high pay and “opportunities”.

      If you or other readers have submitted original work to a site that claims they won’t use it, I always advise to keep your work and Google it in quotes (” “) a few weeks down the line. If it pops up somewhere, nick the site with a cease and desist through Google’s DMCA page, here: .

    • Delighted to have you, Mary Jo! Please feel free to circulate the url (/shamelessplug) in your social circles. Freelancing can feel like a no man’s land, especially to those just starting out, and I want to make sure they can avoid some of the obstacles I had to trip over in years past. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the review. I was about to sign up but decided to Google them up beforehand. Luckily I came across your site. I’m wondering whether you’ve encountered similar sites that are actually worth it. Any you recommend?

  3. Thanks very much for the helpful information. I am sick of these companies offering the sky and then the actual pay is pennies on the hour. It is criminal.

    Another site I’d like to warn people about is REZBIZLLC.COM a resume writing company. THEY PAY DIRT.

    They say $30 an hour for a resume and cover but, on average it takes 3 hours to one for an assignment. Also, having gone through the interview process they waste a WHOLE day of your time. They call you for a “preliminary meeting” which they say everyone attending is hired which is a LIE. Then they instruct you to stay on the conference call for setting up your account after which an administrator will follow up in a few days to finalize your account. They don’t tell writers upfront that the preliminary meeting is additional an email or on that call.

    I don’t know if you’ve dealt with them but they should be on your “stay away” list as well for writers.

    • Trey, thank you for the heads up on scam info. I generally like to review these companies personally, but I’ll repost your comment on my scam writing site page so that others will know what to expect.

  4. Glad I found this before signing up with but disappointed as it “seemed” legit. One thing that raised a red flag to me is that on reading through their mass of material after “passing” their initial writing sample test, I found three typos, one example being a mistaken instance of the frequently used subtitle Amazon “Turk” which became Amazon “Turner” in one sentence, and a misuse of a word, “tenant” which should have been “tenet” -go figure. There were a couple of others but these were encountered at what was a cursory first read-through.
    Pretty poor for an organization that touts a site allegedly dedicated to purity of grammar and spelling, not to mention proof reading!
    One area in which I differ from others here is that I submitted a random example of a piece I wrote on a subject they didn’t suggest -in fact it was a slightly tongue in cheek article on British Transport “Caffs” or Trannys” and American Truck Stops, and it passed muster, which was hopeful.
    Any more fruitful and legit suggestions welcome.

    • Hi Brian! Don’t feel bad, I was taken in too…they got a really nice site designer to throw everything together. My main complaint is that I feel it’s a massive front for a bait-and-switch; microjobs, HITs (human intelligence tasks), or click jobs, as they’re sometimes called, can be a legit way to make money, but only when they pay fairly. I feel that if scams people by luring them in under the pretense of “writing”, they’re not interested in being an ethical client/middleman. That’s not a place I want my fellow freelancers to end up. I feel that if you’re hiring for HITs, hire for HITs and stop putting up a front of being a legitimate writing site for newcomers.

      As I mentioned in the comments above, Textbroker is the best destination for sheer volume but the pay isn’t great, CloudCrowd pays quickly (daily) but it can be tricky and a long process to get in, and Interact is a middling runner up with payment every two weeks but a scarcity of jobs. I advise my fledgling freelancers to cast a wide net and sign up for a variety of sites to stay flexible. Personally, I write for Textbroker, CloudCrowd, MediaPiston, WriterAccess, Interact Media and a handful of private clients, but I’ll bounce from week to week in terms of “site loyalty” depending on where I can get the most work.

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks. I guess the ongoing old saw “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is”. I’ll check around and follow your leads. By the way do you find Word press? I’m looking for a startup web or blog site for several passions of mine including food, pottery and politics as well as personal. Really low on money right now.

  5. Oh WordPress rocks my everlovin’ socks. A dear friend of mine over at got me off the Blogspot train and over here many a year ago and I never looked back. WordPress is free, really flexible and easy to use (gotta tinker a bit and learn your way around) and making a .com is super easy – just plunk down $13 or so at GoDaddy or another registrar and “point/forward” it to your blahblah.wordpress. com address. is an excellent example. 🙂

    • OK, thanks.
      One more thing (anybody else experience this?). I write very well (and have had quite a bit of material published but not much paid for. Not blowing my own horn here; I know my worth and am fiercely self-critical) but am a crappy typist and don’t trust spellchecks as there are many words which can be spelt right but still be totally irrelevant due to one omitted or extra letter (example – “butter’ ending up as “utter”). many less common words are not in most spellchecks -especially MS Word. Also, if one writes in a kind of intuitive, playful, creative way by bending, combining and even creating words as I do, as well as playing around with grammar (just can’t help myself sometimes unless I’m doing technical writing) to create mind pictures or a sense of rhythm, spelling and grammar checks are a damn nuisance.
      On top of this, I have recently developed essential tremor, especially in my right hand which is a further impediment to my already low-grade typing skills (never typed before the computer age) and is a distinctly irritating incidence, especially as I’m a Flamenco and Jazz Guitarist as well!
      The “Good news” if such a term applies, is that I’m CONSTANTLY checking myself and saving but I still screw up enough to have my wife proof read for me before publication.
      How much of an impediment would you say this is in terms of earning power?

      • Well Brian, if you have a decent speaking voice, I’d recommend seeing if your computer has “Microsoft Speech Recognition” installed on it, getting a cheapie $9 headset with a boom mike, and giving it a whirl. My carpal tunnel acts up sometimes and I need to go verbal for a day or two, and it’s been a godsend. It writes (surprisingly well) what you say, allowing you to essentially write as quickly as you can coherently speak.

        In addition, sites like will help with some grammar and punctuation, but they aren’t foolproof. Have you tried “brain training” with games or sites like I love the word games on there and they’ve really hammered home prefixes and suffixes for me on some commonly misspelled words.

  6. Such a bummer! I was very hopeful that was a fair paying, legitimate company for which I could work part-time. I did some “googling” yesterday after they sent me a message saying I had passed the written assesment. I am glad, though I did not find any negative information upon yesterday’s search, I continued looking. Something just didn’t settle with me; I too encountered some spelling errors in my e-mail from them. I have read all of the comments, and will be looking in the directions you have pointed others. Thank you for doing all the dirty work for us. Best of luck in all you do! 🙂

    • Glad you found the blog, Kellie! I’ve noticed a huge spike in traffic lately for this review, which tells me either they’re making a push to sign up more “writers” or more would-be writers are getting savvy about Google first, work later. Either way, everyone’s time is valuable – it’s worth .12 cents a minute at minimum, according to the government – and I’m just doing my part to help people spend it wisely. Please continue to stop by the Freelance Writer Guide – got a bunch more reviews that will be posted in the coming weeks.

      • A friend referred me to He asked if I’d heard of it and then went through the testing. Today I took the test and submitted a writing sample. I was impressed at how detailed the test was, so I suspected it was legit, but we’ll see. Thanks for reviewing them and doing the legwork. I’ll test them out for a bit and see how it goes. If I don’t like it, I’ll email them and give them my input. You’re absolutely right that our time is much more valuable than pennies.

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  8. I just want to say that I agree with your review of, but not so much with the info. regarding Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. I started working with MTurk in early December. I took a writing test for Top Tier writer for one of the requesters. That requester was Crowdsource and they also run the website. My test for Top Tier was approved and I am now getting paid $10 – $11 per 300 word SEO article that I write. I also make $2 for a small article highlight paragraph – less than 50 words. So the potential is there – just don’t go through I tried CloudCrowd and totally hated it – they rejected 50% of what I tried to do. Crowdsource just approved about 500 new writers in the past month and have now put a hold on new testing. You can see that if you go to – there is a waiting list for new tests.

    • Hi Susie;

      When I attempted to test via CrowdSource/Mturk, I was sent -by Crowdsource- to the site to take the test, leading to the debacle I’ve outlined in this post. This happened about Autumn last year, so things may have changed in the interim, but I’m afraid I have to be a little suspicious of your stated experience. As you can see from the email excerpt in my post, I was told by someone within the Crowdsource/ company directly that the time frame that you’re describing here is literally impossible to achieve.

      So, that leads me to believe that someone isn’t telling the truth. I’m not saying it’s you, but I think you can understand why someone in my position would be cautious about pulling a 180 on a site that’s bordering on scam behavior.

  9. Hi, I just wanted to chime in to say that my experience with Crowdsource has been good. I have the Top Tier writing qual and am currently making $325 a week writing short articles for them. No complaints here.

    • Hi Dsilkotch; can I ask how long you’d been writing for them before you got bumped up to that top tier? I’m getting conflicting stories from Susie, above, and the email that I got from the person who works for the site. I’d like to give my readers an idea of what they can actually expect. 🙂

  10. I actually signed up as an MTurk worker before I’d ever heard of Crowdsource or; it was near the end of last November, so about 2.5 months ago. I joined a few forums and soon learned that the Top Tier writing qual was something to aspire to. I don’t remember when exactly I took the test; I do remember that I timed out or my browser crashed or some sort of technical difficulty prevented me from completing it. I tried to retake it, but the system on MTurk only gives you one shot at that qual. So I contacted, and they let me take the test there on their website. A day or two later I got an email saying that I had passed. As I recall, my qualification didn’t actually become active until nearly two weeks later, even though it was supposed become active within 48 hours of passing the test. Anyway, my patience was eventually rewarded and I was able to access the Top Tier jobs. For the past few weeks Crowdsource has been offering a great worker bonus: $50 for each week that I submit at least 25 (accepted) assignments. That’s on top of the $11 for each assignment. So this is basically the equivalent of a full-time minimum wage job, except I can do it at home in my jammies. Crowdsource gets a thumbs-up from me.

  11. Hey there,

    I have to echo the sentiments expressed in the last couple of posts – I signed up a couple of weeks ago and so far hasn’t treated me too poorly. It seems like there has indeed been some kind of change in hiring practices, because I responded to a Craigslist post calling for new writers and wasn’t even made to take a qualification test for the top tier writing credential (I just submitted a staggeringly inconsequential article about college care packages). I’ve submitted a few fluff pieces and had them approved, and the pay isn’t terrible for relatively easy work. I’ll admit that the whole operation does seem a little shady and obfuscating (I haven’t been able to find any mention of where these articles end up once published, or whether your name appears on the piece – I’m guessing not – and they pretty much just drop you into the Mechanical Turk environment with very little in the way of introductory info) but as an underemployed post-collegiate layabout, this job has really helped me out. It seems like this last round of hiring was pretty heavy though, as I’ve watched the number of available articles diminish significantly over the last week or so, down from hundreds or even thousands of requests to double (even single) digit numbers in some categories. They do seem to add new requests fairly regularly though, but we’ll see how sustainable the whole endeavor is in the long run. (This scarcity of articles also makes me think they’ve likely returned to the practice of treating new hires like slave labor, and may not be so generous in passing out the top tier writing qualifications, but who knows?) But yeah, so far: definitely a little sketchy, but not a complete scam, at least for this young writer.

  12. I recently got hired by and wrote 132 HITs for them over a three week period, from 28 January 2013 to 21 February 2013. On 23 February 2013, Amazon Mechanical Turk shut down my account without warning or explanation. I was till owed $988 for work I had done. and Crowdsource are now telling me that they cannot pay me the money they owe me. They are trying to pretend that they can’t pay me the $988 they owe me through any other means but Mechanical Turk. So, WRITE.COM IS A SCAM, don’t work for them, and if you’re currently working for them, quit before they screw you over too.

      • Marjorie — if the money was in your MTurk account when Amazon shut it down, then Crowdsource did pay you. MTurk and Crowdsource are two different companies. Amazon shuts down worker accounts for violating their terms of service, and at that point any money in the worker’s Amazon Payments account is forfeited. Amazon may or may not have shut down your account for a good reason, but Crowdsource has no power to reopen it, or to pay you via any other payment system.

  13. I have made a little over $1400 in 2 months with mTurk (signed up with, primarily CrowdSource projects. When I can find good projects, it’s totally worth it. For about 2-3 hours/day tops, with certain projects, I was able to make around $100 per day. It’s just not consistently-available work, so it’s not steady income. And I didn’t need any high-level qualifications for the work that gave me that income. (The project was to write a 20-75 word “callout” that highlighted an article or gave a little extra information on the topic discussed in a brief article.)

    And any time I have had a question about approvals or payment, I just emailed someone from CrowdSource and they got back to me within a day or two.

    I think it’s a good gig if you don’t expect to be able to make decent money every day and see it as merely additional income every once in a while. I would recommend it to anyone. It’s made my life and finances easier these last few months.

  14. I am a seller at and i make sufficient money by writing contents for website. LOL i also write love letters and get paid for it.

  15. I saw some red flags with, too. I took their test anyway and they said my editing “did not meet their standards,” which is weird because I’m a book author and a former copy desk chief for a New York financial media company. I probably over-edited, which probably threw their formulaic system for a loop.

  16. Has anyone tried the editing side of this site? I’m not terrible concerned about getting paid a whole lot, just trying to find something I can do to list on my resume. Thanks!

  17. Hi there, I’m a recent grad thinking about doing some freelance work and came across this blog while looking for info about the web site you talked about in that post. I had come across an ad of theirs on Craigslist and it sounded way too good to be true. Judging from what you’ve written, I’m not quite sure if this is the kind of thing I want to put myself through. I just wanted to say thank you for posting this.

    • I’m very happy to be of assistance, Kai! I plan on posting more reviews on sites like and, it’s just a matter of finding enough hours in the day 🙂

      Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever need advice or guidance, I’m always happy to help new writers.

      • If you were a new freelancer looking to sign up for one site today, what would you choose. You’ve mentioned a few options in your comments above. Rank them for me! 😀

      • Right now, there’s a ton of upheaval / “improvements” on several sites – Zerys, Textbroker and Upwork to name a few – and none of it is good news for writers. The only site I can recommend in good conscience at this exact moment is WriterAccess….please tell them Delany sent you! 🙂

  18. Hi! Just found your blog today and it’s so helpful! Thanks so much for keeping on top of all of this!

    Just wanted to jump in and say I had a very different experience with – maybe they’ve changed it up in the past year? I got to take the Editor test right away and for a few weeks all I could earn were the small review things (like you mentioned, which definitely aren’t worth the effort). After only a few weeks, though, a writing test opened up and I got top tier certification. Now I can get up to $12 for every 400 word article. The only issue I’m having with them is it doesn’t seem to update too frequently (so often the same topics will be there for a few weeks at a time), so for me it’s only good as a side-job right now.

  19. Hello and thanks. I too am bookmarking your page for more reasons than one. I’ve passed the assessment and submitted my mturk id so now I’m waiting for the next step. And after reading this, hoping for good things. I appreciate this information and I will definitely come back and share my experience. Btw, I don’t remember signing up for anywhere but I received an email starting that I had been selected to take the test.

  20. Got to say, I’m a bit confused. My experience with and Mturk was better than the author’s, but not nearly as lucrative as the people in a lot of the comments.

    Now, much like a person from one of the above comments, my boyfriend was rejected because his writing was “not up to standards”. He, too, is an author– but despite having wonderful ideas, he is terrible at coherently expressing them on paper. The only reason he’s gotten published is because I’ve been heavily editing all of his work for him– stories, essays, scripts, you name it!– since high school.

    I, on the other hand, took the test on their site and did quite well with the 20 questions, but then proceeded to write up the most terribly awkward article on leukemia treatment options that was ever conceived. It seemed like a fairly cut-and-dry topic in terms of required research, but I hadn’t taken into account the immense grace required to broach such a delicate topic in the opening paragraph (or to leave off on a positive note in the closing paragraph).

    Somehow, I passed (despite my incredibly weak opening and closing paragraphs). I disclosed my Amazon Turk ID, and in return they gave me the lowest level of their Top Tier Writing Qualification. This allowed me to create reasonably sized articles (250 words? 350? It varies…) for $7.25 and $8.00, with the promise that once I get better, I’ll be able to do those same-sized articles for up to $13.50. Even then, I’ve already managed to snag one 650-word article for $16.50.

    It’s alright pay for an hour or so’s work, and I’ve written ten or so articles so far and gotten paid for all of them (even a really quite terrible one that they didn’t like at all), but therein lies the problem– there’s never ENOUGH work! I can only seem to snag articles after 11 PM, and even then, there’s never more than one or two available.

    Turk is legit, and is legit; both pay in a timely fashion. But I just don’t think it’s feasible to find enough work there to support yourself on– at least, not at entry-level. I hear majestic tales of writers far greater than I making $2,000 a month through jobs on Mturk, but I’m just not seeing it.

    While searching the web for better content mills, I stumbled upon word of one that pays $25+ for the same sorts of articles that I’m writing at Turk now, so I think I’m going to work on finding greener pastures.

    Still, if you’re just beginning, there is nothing wrong with CrowdSource/ It’s an honest income, however small, and there are also lots of very smart and respectful editors who can help you improve your writing.

    • Eve, thank you so much for sharing your experience! Every weigh-in that writers like yourself post helps cobble together a more accurate picture of the work experience on a site.

      In retrospect, I almost wish I could go through and erase my account, starting from scratch. I get the opinion there have been some big changes to the system and workflow since my own experience and I’d love to report on it. I may “sign up” my husband just to peek back inside with fresh eyes.

  21. Pingback: CloudCrowd and / Crowdsource Merge | The Freelance Writer Guide

  22. Thank you so much for your insights! I believe they were thorough and fair. I came across and wasn’t sure how it worked or if it was worth it. Admittedly, I was really taken aback by the site’s ~$1.85 million in payouts on 490,000 in jobs. (This appears on’s front page like it’s great news!) That’s an average of only $3.78 per job! Your explanation helped me to understand why the number is so low. Thanks again!

    • Tiffany, it’s my pleasure! It’s folks like you that are the reason I do this stuff – if we huddle up as a profession and spread the truth about low pay and alternate opportunities, maybe we can start getting the idea of a fair wage out there 😉

    • Rose, while the firm answer to that will be based on the site’s rules and regulations (typically it’s a long webpage you click “yes” to when you sign up), it’s generally accepted that your works remain your own until money changes hands. If a site pays you for an article, 99% of the time it is theirs and they’re free to put a different name as the author, change words, rewrite it, etc.

  23. Pingback: Freelance Writing Site Info: Review | The Freelance Writer Guide

  24. Thanks! I wished I read this sooner though:( I actually just applied like yesterday…BUT funny thing is I already do some of their writing through Mturk. I thought going through would get me to some more writing gigs sooner. Ugh!

  25. Here is what happened. I visited and upon clicking the sign up button which said Become an Expert, was taken to I created an account and after reading all these negative reviews, Should I create a new account directly at OneSpace now and forget my old account because it was created via

    ThatWordChick says do not go through them? Does that mean going through them will get me cheap tasks that are not worth the time and effort?

    Thank you.

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