UPDATE. 6/9/14: Applications and work for BOTH the former Cloudcrowd site and Write.com now go through Crowdsource.com, which in turn will kick you to Mturk (if you have Amazon payments as your preferred payment method) to work on tasks after achieving qualifications or keep you working on the site itself (if you have Paypal payments selected).
Last week, I received the following email in my inbox:
We have an exciting update that will have a positive impact on your work experience at CloudCrowd.
Servio, the company that operates CloudCrowd, has recently entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by CrowdSource, a leader in enterprise crowdsourcing. Similar to Servio, CrowdSource specializes in providing content solutions for enterprise clients, including Fortune 500 retailers and online publishers.
One of the reasons CrowdSource is acquiring Servio is because of our loyal and talented workforce. This acquisition will bring you access to work with an extended client portfolio, giving you opportunities to work on a larger, more diverse set of projects. In addition, CrowdSource will dedicate more resources to improving your work experience.
A few things, however, will not change. You will still find work through CloudCrowd and will not need to create any new accounts. You will still get paid in the same way.
We want to thank you for your continued hard work and dedication. Everyone at Servio is excited about working with the team at CrowdSource to create the most robust crowdsourcing solution in the world while providing a world class experience for workers.
The Servio/CloudCrowd Team
This is not necessarily a cause for celebration. If you’re scratching your head, wondering where you’ve heard the name “Crowdsource” before, it’s the pseudonym used by Write.com on the Mturk platform to solicit workers for their projects – most of which, in my experience, have not been writing. Here at the Freelance Writer Guide, I’ve heard from a few writers that have had a very different, e.g. positive, experience with Write.com, unlike my own, and you can read their comments to that effect on my Write.com review page. As of this moment, however, neither Write.com nor Cloudcrowd look to be accepting new applicants, so it may be a moot point. I doubt they’ve reached capacity though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full-scale fire-and-restock/retest overhaul or a new writer drive once the merger is completed.
Why does the merger concern me? Several reasons, not the least of which is that Write.com / Crowdsource left a bad taste in my mouth when I gave it a run. I felt like the system was unnecessarily clunky and offered virtually no reward for jumping through a lot of hoops. The official representatives of the company gave me a completely different set of expectations and rules (in writing!) than my fellow writers have reported dealing with, and they work/worked through Mturk, which is nearly filled to capacity with scam jobs, laughable foreign rates and a staggering amount of foreign competition.
Write.com is buying Crowdsource, not vice-versa, so it would stand to reason that they buyer’s setup would take precedence if there were two on the table. That means that the Facebook login, daily Paypal payment setup of Cloudcrowd is in jeopardy, if not now then at some point in the near future. If they shift Cloudcrowd over to the Mturk/Amazon Payments model, many of the tried-and-true writers that have spent years with Cloudcrowd may walk – many in the business depend on the pay frequency and flexibility of the Paypal payment system, and Amazon payments very noticeably lacks a debit card withdrawal system like Paypal’s, leaving payees stuck with a week-or-more long wait for their money to transfer into a bank account. Add this hangtime – a benefit for the paying company and Amazon but not for writers – to the idea that Amazon Payment’s fees are likely considerably lower on the business end than Paypal’s, and you have a decidedly writer-unfriendly scenario brewing.
I only dabble in Cloudcrowd work these days, getting the majority of my assignments from WriterAccess without much need to stray, so this isn’t world-ending to yours truly. I still harbor a considerable amount of worry for new freelance writers, though, because the big fish chomping the little fish means one less independent source for work. I will keep the Freelance Writer Guide updated as I hear and see more about this development.