What is Textbroker?
Textbroker.com is a content mill site for freelance writing jobs, which means that the site posts a variety of writing jobs from an array of clients that can be individually picked up by writers. Textbroker collects money from the client and, once the client approves submitted work, pays a portion of it to the writer.
How do I start at Textbroker?
To start at Textbroker.com, you’ll need 3 things – your filled-out W9 form , a scanned copy of your US identification (such as a Driver’s License), and a 200-word writing sample. Here’s some information obtained directly from Textbroker, exclusively for the Freelance Writer Guide:
Our internal processes are not generally made publicly available and are subject to regular changes as we update the site, but I can summarize the current one briefly for you:
- Author registers on www.textbroker.com under the registration link on the “I Write Content” page. Authors fill out all information.
- An automated email is sent that with a link to click to confirm the author’s email address.
- Author must log in and submit a writing sample of about 200 words.
- Textbroker will review the writing sample and request a US ID by email in most cases.
- Once we receive a scanned, faxed or mailed copy of the ID, we will verify it and rate the sample.
- Authors are rated from 2-4 stars with sound writing fundamentals (spelling, grammar, avoiding fluff content and repetition) being high priorities.
- Textbroker sends an automated email requesting a W-9 form. The author can begin to write.
- We require a signed faxed or mailed copy of the W-9 before the author requests their first payment, but the author can start writing right away and build up a credit.
For expedited processing, authors should start the process with their state-issued ID and W-9 form handy. Depending on registration volume, we process the US ID and rating within about one business day each. We only accept US writers over 18 as well.
How do I get paid with Textbroker?
Like many content mill sites, Textbroker.com uses Paypal as a sole form of payment, so you’ll definitely need an account. Cutoff time for work (which must be accepted/approved) is Midnight Las Vegas time (PDT) each week, and the payout for those jobs will occur the following business day, though the time does vary. Payout minimum is $10, and your payout must be manually requested by clicking a button on your payout page.
How is the overall experience at Textbroker?
I have a special fondness for Textbroker.com – like a passionate affair that ended on a sour note, I still carry a lot of good memories from the site and will always be grateful to them for kickstarting my now-thriving freelance writing career. When I really began in earnest there, it was taking up a long-forgotten approval that I managed to garner when I was with my ex-fiance, who constantly told me that writing wasn’t going to amount to any real money and really discouraged my exploring freelancing.
I poked at the site listlessly and wrote $10 here, $20 here, never cracking double digits for a month because I constantly heard that negativity in my head. When my ex and I split and I took up with my now-husband, he encouraged me to pursue my writing and for a long while it was our sole source of income as I flourished. I was offered five star status to work on a very prominent client’s roster through Textbroker, and eventually I was pulling in pretty decent paydays towards late 2010/early 2011, clearing more than a grand a month. Then the other shoe dropped and myself – along with many other 5-star status holders – were informed we were in violation of offenses that had never even crossed the radar in the three years prior – split infinitives chief among them, for me. My writing style and skill hadn’t changed, and in fact more than a few clients remarked on my skill, but Textbroker continued to find strange issues more befitting a college thesis than a 300 word piece on plumbing repair in Chicago, IL.
Error after error showed up in my random reviews, until one day my status was knocked down to 4. I attempted to talk to the higher-ups there, only to be rebuffed and handed the same strangely elevated standards with the edict that three perfect reviews in a row would grant me my status again – a feat that was essentially impossible at the time, and probably still is. The 5-star list took a massive hit in those fateful months, and a very large group of formerly 5-star Textbroker writers decided to pursue options elsewhere rather than tangle with the odd new demands. Later, when the mass of 5-star ex-pats conferred on public message boards, it was found that a too-large-for-coincidence group had the same experiences, right around the time when the previously-mentioned prominent client pulled their account. In addition, those that had passed the proofreading test (a requirement for moving up to 5-star) and moved onto the review portion of their upgrade application had all received the same entirely-subjective ‘awkward phrasing’ ding that kept them from advancing.
The takeaway? Textbroker is an excellent place for new writers to start, as they usually have a good deal of work at the lower levels and they do pay promptly every week. It’s a good place to get used to the ‘system’ behind most content mill sites, but once you’ve got your rhythm down, head off for greener pastures, because 5-star status is inexplicably difficult to obtain and even harder to keep.
Helpful Hints for Textbroker
You can only take one open order job and one ‘private’ job at a time, so choose wisely. Your rate of dropping/letting articles expire is recorded behind the scenes and it will prevent you from moving up a star level, so treat deadlines as firm.
I’ve had really good luck with Textbroker. I used to divide my time between Textbroker and eCopywriters. At eCopywriters I had a similar experience to yours, and they dropped my level for no reason that I could see and would not respond to my efforts to find out. So, I stopped writing for eCopywriters and write happily at Textbroker at a level 5. My only complaint is that the number of jobs at the 5 level is often very low. Do you know when they post new jobs? I just sign on randomly, but maybe there is a particular day that has more jobs?
Blog Owner’s Note: Thanks for the link, Katherine! However, I only link to the IRS form on the blog because I’m sure it’s secure – I don’t want to risk any of my readers getting their very personal info swiped! 🙂
Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand.
Does anyone know where I can find a blank “W 9 Form” to fill out?
Sure thing, here is the official IRS form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
There are a lot of scammers that try to comment on my blog with a link to a bogus W9 form, I would always suggest you go to IRS.gov (the official government site) to get any forms you need to fill out. Going elsewhere online could put you at risk to have some very important information stolen.
I had a similar experience with Crowdsource (now OneSpace) around the same time period. All of a sudden they started getting really picky and I got dropped to level 2. I figured it was some sort of culling because they didn’t really respond to the “what am I doing wrong?” emails I would send. They also ran out of work for a long time. I had a feeling there was some secret to making the job work for me that I wasn’t privy to.
I signed up for Textbroker a while ago but did not find anything I felt comfortable doing. Do you have any tips on creating content for vague prompts like the plumbing in Chicago article you mentioned? I’m never sure what they want.
OneSpace is definitely a crapshoot – I’ve found it to be intolerable as a writer, but actually pretty decent as an editor. As far as the prompts go, unless it’s a really weird fit, I’d say to always take the approach as if you were a company offering that service in that city. Even in informative blog posts, most clients’ goals are to steer the reader towards their services or something they offer.
If it’s just a concept, like “green shoes” or “funeral home” (which I think were actually prompts over at Textbroker), I would talk about discussing burial options before you need them with a funeral home, or maybe which shades of green are popular in shoes this season.
Sorry to reply so late, but thank you for the reply. I’d really like to get something steady going again with the writing next year, because I sure could use the money. I always got good grades on writing assignments in school, but I guess it doesn’t translate into the working world. I’m willing to give it another shot because the other options available to me are just…ick.