Freelance Writing Site Info: Crowdsource.com Review

Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is Crowdsource.com legit or Is Crowdsource.com a scam?

What is Crowdsource.com?

Crowdsource.com is a content mill-style freelance writing and microjobs portal site, as well as the latest incarnation of Write.com, which in turn “ate” the freelance writing site platform CloudCrowd last year. What does this mean for you? Several things, and they’re all pretty positive. You’ll recall I panned Write.com in a previous Write.com review, citing a bait-and-switch style setup that lured in writers and then promptly stuck them with microjobs and little hope of advancing. Not so, anymore. The proverbial path is much clearer, there’s ample opportunity for bonuses, and there’s little to no confusion about what you’re trying out for and how to start working online for money. Crowdsource has effectively unseated Textbroker.com as my ‘go to’ place to herd fledgling freelancers looking to make a quick buck through computer work.

How do I start at Crowdsource.com?

When you apply at Crowdsource.com, you will be able to choose one of two ‘paths’ – writing for money online or doing microjobs for money online. Each path has its own assessment, but you are not restricted to one or the other – go for both, if you’d like! As with most freelance writing sites, the writing path requires you to create a new, unique piece – the microjobs path just has you answering a series of multiple choice questions, with a handful of “find this thing online” sort of searches towards the end of the test.

Neither the microjobs test or the writing test on Crowdsource.com looks to be timed, so you have the ability to consider and research a little if you need to.

Entry page for applying to Crowdsource.com

The welcome/testing page.

Crowdsource.com Microjobs testing entry page.

Microjobs testing entry page.

Crowdsource.com Writing Test Page

Writing test entry page.

Info on the Microjobs Test: It’s pretty easy and straightforward, if you’re fluent in English with a mind towards basic logic, you’ll be fine. There are 20 or so multiple choice questions, and – for me, anyway – one where you need to count the number of pieces in a bedroom set being sold on a site, another where you need to determine the toe shape of a woman’s shoe being sold on a site, three questions where you need to isolate and cut-and-paste the employee page url of a given company’s site (pay attention to the instructions on this one), and a final one where you need to find the name of a certain employee of a company. These questions are all pretty indicative of the type of microjobs you’ll be doing, if accepted.

Crowdsource.com test answers for Microjobs.

Microjobs test page.

Info on the writing test: This is a standard test for content mill sites – creation of a unique piece of writing. Crowdsource.com and other sites like it generally don’t accept content that has already been created, and if they do, they usually won’t carry the same “weight” as a fresh piece of content. The reason for this is that with pre-written pieces, you’re likely to play to your strengths – whether consciously or unconsciously – by writing about subjects you’re familiar and comfortable with. In the ‘real’ freelance world, while we do have some control over what projects we take, chances are a lot of them are going to be on subjects we’re lukewarm about. In addition, there’s really no telling if you’ve had someone write a piece for you or, worse, if you’ve lifted it from somewhere on the web without a little in-the-moment control on the part of the writing site. Crowdsource accomplishes this by giving you a list of subjects and keywords to pick from:

Writing test answers on Crowdsource.com

Writing test subject selection.

They’ve made it fairly easy for you to block out your article, and in fact they follow my guidance on how to write a freelance article, a subject we’ve previously covered on the Freelance Writer Guide.

Once you’ve completed either the microjobs or writing test, you’ll receive an auto-email that looks like this:

Test Email from Crowdsource.com.

Test Email from Crowdsource.com.

How do I get paid with Crowdsource.com?

Crowdsource.com pays through two methods, and you’ll have to select one: Paypal or Amazon Payments. I do not have an accurate idea of what is ‘normal’ for pay method selection in terms of new incoming workers on Crowdsource.com, I’m basing this on what I see when I log into my Crowdsource.com account, which was transitioned from Cloudcrowd when the company was absorbed.

Amazon Payments is the only off-Amazon payment option offered on the Mturk platform, which Crowdsource.com still works through. It requires a connection to a bank account, much like Paypal, and users can request payouts from their Amazon Payment balance into that account, a process which takes 2-3 business days.

If you are given a choice of the two, I’d suggest Paypal for the convenience and the Paypal debit card option.

How is the overall experience at Crowdsource.com?

Pretty darn smooth. I was anxious to write an “updated” Crowdsource.com review because they’ve worked on their interface quite a bit and brought some of those slick, user-friendly graphics from Write.com into the fold. When you log in as a worker, you’re presented with a grid that lists all the jobs that are available to your current positions (Writer I & Writer II, Editor I & II, etc).

Available work grid  at Crowdsource.com.

Available work grid at Crowdsource.com.

Clicking these links will pop you over to their requisite listing over on Mturk.com, unless you’ve selected Paypal as your payment method, in which case you can work straight off the Crowdsource site.

Crowdsource.com HIT on Mturk.com.

Crowdsource.com HIT on Mturk.com.

Eagle-eyed readers likely noticed that little green moneybag shown on one of the available work squares on the grid. This denotes a bonus – what used to be a confusing and frantic scramble for freelance writing pay bonuses on the former Cloudcrowd platform has been streamlined and made user-friendly. A little in-job interface keeps track of how many tasks you’ve completed towards the bonus, how many you have to go, how many are pending, and so on.

Crowdsource.com Bonus Structure.

Crowdsource.com Bonus Structure.

Crowdsource.com Bonus Tracking Header.

Crowdsource.com Bonus Tracking Header.

 

Helpful Hints for Crowdsource.com

  • Crowdsource.com editors (aka fellow freelancers) take awhile to grade/approve/reject tasks after you’ve done them. If you’re working on HITs/Microjobs or writing tasks on Mturk, expect a 7 day delay before an editor gets to them. If it happens earlier, great, but if it doesn’t this buffer will keep you from counting your chickens before they’re hatched.
  • Keep an eye on the countdown timer for bonuses. You don’t want to end up with half of your work in one week and half in another, causing you to miss the bonus despite completing the tasks. Generally, the earlier in the bonus period you hit your ‘milestones’ of 15, 45, etc tasks, the better you’ll be – that gives editors time to get at your work.
  • Some editors are…questionable at best. Get a thick skin and learn to just roll your eyes a little when they feel compelled to dissect your work for a personal grammar preference. It’s a pass/fail system of advancing into slightly higher pay grades, so don’t sweat the small stuff as long as you’re passing.
  • UPDATE 7/10/14 I would caution potential writers against the higher-paying ($5+) jobs here. My adage encouraging you to wave off work with instructions longer than the project itself holds very true on this site, which is notorious for posting page after page of must-read documents for jobs under 500 words. The editing team (other freelancers) is often not inclined to assist or support your writing growth, and I found out the hard way recently that just stating “Instructions weren’t followed” and rejecting a piece apparently passes as editing.

Thanks for reading my Crowdsource.com review, and be sure to take a look at my other freelance writing site reviews through the navigation tab above!

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12 thoughts on “Freelance Writing Site Info: Crowdsource.com Review

    • I am not signed up for the site, but I went and took a look at it just now, and here are my impressions as a freelancer:

      Pros

      Site text is in coherent English without any foreign “tells” (works rather than articles, etc).

      They pay via Paypal.

      Cons

      They’re talking about offering Bitcoin for payment, which sends up a red flag for me.

      They’re very vague about the application process and don’t mention if you’ll be paid or not for “sample” articles. In addition, there are no hard and fast numbers anywhere – everything requires you to sign up (and possibly submit free work in the process) to see behind the curtain. That’s a huge no-no for transparency.

      It’s a bid-based site. Odesk and Freelancer are free-for-alls saturated with foreign competition and it’s very difficult to get a toehold because of that.

      They encourage you to “bid low” in order to advance in the rankings. That’s a common trap unscrupulous clients set for newbie freelancers – “Oh, well it doesn’t pay much but if you do it and it’s absolutely perfect maybe I’ll give you more work in the future.” The only person that wins in that scenario is the client, and if they’re willing to stoop to those tactics, I’d sidestep them altogether.

      ***

      I wouldn’t apply there, personally. Too many unknowns, too many red flags.

      • The main site I work on currently has a few too many cooks in the kitchen, as it were, which is why I’ve been working so hard to profile others on the Freelance Writer Guide. If you’re just starting out, Textbroker or Crowdsource is a solid place to get your feet wet and let you see if Freelancing’s for you. If you’ve got a little more time in the game, a cautious stroll through Odesk might be in order. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Freelance Writing Site Info: Authorr.com Review | The Freelance Writer Guide

  2. Crowdsource is extremely scammy at best. Here’s how they roll, they let you accept an assignment, but you can’t submit the assignment. So basically, you’re left spending a few minutes to an hour on an assignment only to find that you are not allowed to submit it.

    Also, be careful with the quality of work, if they find that you are not writing up to standard, they will ban you from projects, which is fair. The projects which you are banned from will not appear on your dashboard.

    But their crap about letting you accept an assignment and waste all of your time getting it done only to find that it won’t let you submit it, that’s not respectable. They are going to get shut down that way.

  3. I pay my rent off of the $5+ jobs on CrowdSource. It’s definitely not a scam or a “joke.” We just have a lot of malcontents who got booted from the system for sucky writing or trying to game the system for money.

    I’ve been there from the beginning, as I was with ClowdCrowd before it (R.I.P.), and I honestly don’t know of a better-run mill in the whole series of tubes.

    • I’m glad that you have had success with the platform, “That Guy”, but your experience doesn’t necessarily reflect the experience of the masses. I made over a grand in the last month editing on Crowdsource, but attempting to answer a single question knocked me down a level and reduced my potential pay by nearly 20% – AFTER I waited over a week for it to be approved. The editor in question took out my own manufacturer-sourced, factual information and replaced it with incorrect information from a secondary site – had I been on the editing side and received their “corrected” answer, I would have rejected it. They also marked me as having committed several errors I clearly did not.

      When I edit, I carefully review text, offer suggestions as well as criticisms, and point out where exactly the writer made a mistake, if they did. I am quick to offer tips and encouragement, and only reject for egregious errors, such as pieces written by writers that clearly don’t understand English or pack their assignments with meaningless fluff. The fact that I get torn apart for a 200 word, straightforward answer despite consistent 5-star status on nearly every other popular mill site means that the writing atmosphere on Crowdsource – especially for the beginners that read this blog – could easily be described as “hostile and discouraging.”

  4. I’ve been working with CrowdSource the past two weeks and practically every article I’ve submitted has been flagged. The comments are frequently contradictory and nonsensical. I’d like to learn how to work with this platform, but right now it seems to be more trouble than it’s worth.

  5. I began writing for CrowdSource a little over a month ago. Things were going great until last week when I got burned in a bad way. A glut of my writing submissions had accumulated — some dating back to two weeks prior. After getting a trickle of tasks reviewed and paid out each day, suddenly dozens of them got moderated all at once. The editing and moderating was done very haphazardly on this cluster of submissions; from making edits that rendered my articles less factual, to ERRONEOUSLY claiming cited information was not found in the sources I provided.

    More than a dozen rejected submissions was the end result of this sudden flurry of reviewed pending task. I awoke to a string of emails congratulating me for promotions (for completing certain numbers of tasks at certain success rates), notifying me of demotions, and finally one that informed me that I was permanently restricted from writing. I was denied payment on maybe 15 or 20 tasks. This amounted to nearly $200 when including bonuses. Adding insult to injury, they refuse to answer my emails, even though I’ve documented the incorrect edits. They could at least acknowledge me.

    I’ve heard through the grapevine that they are experiencing a staff shortage at the office. This is why most writers at CrowdSource are accumulating huge backlogs of pending tasks. While editing is done by freelancers, the tasks get their final approval from a moderator who is an actual employee. I strongly suspect that my accumulated work got reviewed hastily by an overworked moderator.

    My advice is that you have the potential to make decent money with CrowdSource, but with the caveat that you stand the chance of getting swindled and cheated by inattentive and completely unconcerned staff.

  6. Thanks for the review! I have read a lot of good and a lot of bad comments about them. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

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