Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is Authorr.com legit or Is Authorr.com a scam?
What is Authorr.com?
A commenter on my Crowdsource.com review asked me about Authorr.com, so I decided to check it out at length. Authorr.com is a bid-based freelance writing site that requires authors to apply and, once approved, bid on individual jobs on the site against one another by offering the lowest amount per word they’re willing to accept.
How do I start at Authorr.com?
Once you hit the “Join Now As Author” button at the bottom of the signup page, you’ll be taken to a screen where you enter your name, address and email, which also needs to be your Paypal email, for reference. After submission, you’re sent an auto-email with a link to the following page:
From there, you’ll need to hit the “Account” button and, via a fairly user-UNfriendly form, apparently “opt in” to receiving certain assignments to take – as I was just starting out, the only thing open to me was the “Value” articles, and take a gander at the suggested rate – .005, aka half a cent per word. As you’ll recall, I emphatically stress in the Freelance Writer Guide that not even new freelancers should not accept less than a penny a word. I have, in fact, taken other freelance writing sites to task for routinely putting out projects with terrible sub-penny rates.
The next step after putting in my bid (I went with .01/word for experimentation’s sake) requires clicking the “Assignments” button. At this point, I want to remind my readers that Authorr.com mentioned that you’d need to submit some samples to actually be accepted to work, but had not up until this point mentioned if those samples could be previously written/published, nor specified if we’d be paid for them if they had to be new.
Okay, so 400 words is nothing to sneeze at, that’s a solid half hour of work for even advanced freelancers, and when you add in the restrictions of topic and audience, it may be even longer. I hunted through the site and also found nothing that suggested the writer retains rights to their work, which essentially means that Authorr.com likely keeps it, sells it, and keeps the profit. This is akin to the Craigslist writing scams and Freelancer.com scams that solicit fresh “samples” of work on specific topics with an open cattle call and, unsurprisingly, never seem to get back to the folks that submitted it.
Add that to the fact that the owners of Authorr.com, Velluto VIP LLC, are also behind a few SEO-work-for-hire firms such as ProReporting.com and you have a “Hmm.” moment on your hands.
How do I get paid with Authorr.com?
Authorr.com pays with Paypal, but no word on frequency. There’s also a nod that they may start paying in Bitcoins – a troubling, financially volatile concept at best for freelancers that depend on a steady income.
Helpful Hints for Authorr.com
Skip it. If their opening pitch is half a cent a word and they’re asking for a 400-word freebie out of the gate, you can bet that respect for the profession isn’t exactly prominent on their corporate horizon.
Thank you for this. I had seen this on Freedom with Writing (http://www.freedomwithwriting.com/freedom/uncategorized/get-paid-to-write-press-releases/) and it sounded like a low-paying egg to have. One of those that you just use for rainy days.
What you described is nothing like what is in that article. I think I will stay away.
I wish I had read this article before I had signed up with Authorr. I’m new to freelance writing, and also learned of it through Freedom with Writing. I’ve had issues with Authott at an alarming rate. Twice this week their timer on their site has had errors, and timed out long before the six hour deadline. That issue resulted in projects that I had put time into being lost and marked as failed. One of them errored out while I was submitting it.
I’ve reported the issues, they acknowledged that it was a bug on their end, but I highly doubt I’m ever going to get paid the $7 that I feel I am owed. After all, I did the work. I’m getting a bad feeling about the site, personally.
Hey Bianca – thanks for visiting the FWG! I’m sorry you’re having that issue with Authorr – it can be super frustrating to run into problems like that, especially as a new writer. I’m actually in the process of writing a followup on the site; I got an email yesterday stating that they were removing the bidding process entirely (??). Seems like an odd move to make without any advance notice whatsoever.
You still own your work if you haven’t been paid for it, so hang on to those articles if you can! You can use them as portfolio samples or toss them on a site like constant-content.com to sell.
You write very clearly and are clearly fluent in English, so don’t let this setback knock you on your butt. You’re a good writer and you’ll have success at another site if you take another swing at it. 🙂
Well, I agree a hundred percent. I think they
1. don’t know what they are doing
2. treat authors like the dirt on their shoe
3. are unable to provide value to customers with their “standardized” and “unformatted” pieces.
My full review can be read here: http://onlinewriterlife.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/authorrcom-my-experience-as-freelance.html
Hi Laura! Thanks for visiting – it’s always wonderful to have a blogging peer on FWG to reinforce and discuss site reviews. Readers, while I’m inclined to encourage you to return to the Freelance Writer Guide often to read my take on things, it’s important that you get a balanced impression. Blogs like Laura’s, above, and even blogs with dissenting opinions will help you gain a holistic impression of freelance writing sites you’re considering. Tl;dr – Do your homework when it comes to sites. 🙂
You are completely right. We need to “vet” companies to avoid getting robbed blind. The webinar put together by the company (on the blog post) said they were looking for “premium” writers, and this would be by “invitation only”. I did not expect them to invite me, but I got an email yesterday to submit an 500-word sample. My hopes were up, ran it through PaperRater, Ginger, checked AP guide, etc. Within hours I got an email:
Unfortunately, your submission for #7218 (Independent Contractors vs Employees) on Authorr fell short of our standards.
We will not allow you to access further assignments in this type.
Feel free to resubmit a new sample assignment in a different assignment type.
So, they must have checked me out, as I have already had a fallout with editors, asking them straight whether or not they read the articles or the emails sent by the authors. Did not expect brownie points for that. Still, I would love to know “their standards” as I was given a straight, level 3 starter grade when I applied with The Content Authority, and have not had any problems with the editors so far. I get regular reviews and detailed comments from the site, something Authorr would never implement.
I think I am “ditching” the site for good, and many authors are already leaving because of the ignorance of the company.
When I vetted this company prior to joining up with them I couldn’t find any reviews. I wish I had landed here. As a newbie, I took the .005/word and wrote about 25 articles for them, 300-1000 words. I then upped my price to .01/word and that’s where the trouble started. They were also revamping their site and it was no longer a bid process, they introduced a sliding scale. They opened up a new category to me – Premier Articles- and I had to submit a sample. Well, guess what happened next. I was told that my writing was not up to their standards and my account was closed – I would not be permitted to write any more for them. Evidently they don’t like being challenged. I wrote an email requesting an explanation, with no response. 50 articles later and I’m not up to standard? They continuously charged me with plagerism when in fact I run all my articles through CopyScape and Grammarly. I got the exact same response as Ms. Laura Wolf :
Unfortunately, your submission for #7218 (Independent Contractors vs Employees) on Authorr fell short of our standards.
We will not allow you to access further assignments in this type.
Feel free to resubmit a new sample assignment in a different assignment type. (there are no others!)
I am done with them. Got my final payment today.At least they didn’t stiff me.
I just told Authorr.com to go to hell. Well, actually, I told them something much more strenuous, but, that was the upshot. I gave it a try, and it’s not worth the bother unless you are a new writer. I took on a 500-word job on “How Not to Dress for a Job Interview,” Simple enough. Spent maybe a half hour researching and writing it. Then a day later I was told to revise it with them claiming it had “excessive passive voice.” When I looked over it, there were maybe three places where passive voice MIGHT be claimed, but certainly nothing excessive. So, I revised it. A day later, I got “rejected due to grammar errors,” which is BS. I have been writing and continually published for more than 20 years, and it did not have grammar errors. I have noticed at the more amateur sites that they don’t understand AP Style, and I have no doubt this was the case here. Anyway, the minimum pay was 1.4 cents per article, which makes it barely worth the effort. They claim they want “the best writers on the Web,” but that is not the kind of pay the best writers get. I get paid much better through Scripted. I also just was paid 35 cents per word for a freelance article I just had published in a magazine. That was $747 for a 2,135-word article. But, the idiots at Authorr seem to think 1.4 cents per work merits Hemingway-like content, which it does not. Also, Authorr essentially requires you to write beyond the minimum word count “just in case the editor deletes content.” So, you do not get even 1.4 cents per word. It was a complete waste of time, and I told them to delete my account. I’ll stick to doing my freelance work, Scripted and am going to give Writer Access a try. Authorr.com is a rip off.
A brief update: After telling Authorr.com to “go F%%k themselves” and demanded they delete my account, I went back a few minutes ago to see if they complied. If I try to login, it now claims I was banned for “blatant plagiarism,” which is pure BS. Avoid Authorr.com. If you are going to write for a company that only pays 1.4 cents per word, make it Textbroker, which has its own issues but at least is more on the ball and pays every Friday via Paypal and even pays the Paypal fee, so you truly get at least 1.4 cents per word and can earn more with direct orders and team orders.
I write for a national daily as a court reporter, have a steady freelance client and have published countless articles in newspapers, magazines and online, and Authorr.com is a freaking joke that is desperate for writers but then treats you like crap. Avoid at all costs.
Scripted is the best online content site, but getting steady work there can be an issue, although I have gotten work from them. Textbroker I did for about a year before getting sick of it, but it served its purpose. As stated before, I will give Writer Access a try. They advertise themselves as paying at least 2 cents per word, which is getting into a better range.
Troubling indeed, Mike. While I’ve been accused of being harsh in my reviews before, I’m usually at least open to having my mind changed by the masses.
With the iWriter scam, I started shutting down comments when the site started paying people to spam blogs like mine with positive comments to drown out honest negative reviews.
With Zerys/Interact, I highlighted exactly what I felt the site’s weak points were, underscoring why I didn’t feel writers should be dealing with them. Beth Hrush, who is in charge if not the site owner, came onto the thread to defend her site, just as Kevin’s done here.
The difference between Zerys and Authorr – both sites that pay (in general/bulk) very low but advertise very high rates, and both sites where the head honcho has sought out MY blog to defend themselves – is that Zerys took awhile to amass a handful of negative comments. I don’t do any advertising for this blog outside of regular SEO in the posts, yet I’ve racked up several complaints about Authorr.com in a very short time period. Regardless of the content of those complaints, that’s an unprecedented timeline/result ratio for me since beginning the Freelance Writer Guide more than a year ago.
Kevin, if you’re following this thread, come read about another unhappy ex-employee here. This is what I mean when I say you’ve got a PR problem…writers talk amongst themselves, as you can see, and there’s a lot of blood in the water right now.
I suspect a big reason you are getting so many reviews from writers is not only is Authorr.com a joke, but your site is one of the few that show up in search results when looking for reviews on Authorr.com. In the couple of days I had an active account, I got several emails saying there was work available, but when I checked, there were only one or two assignments waiting. I’m really glad I turned down a 1,000-word article wanting a review on some sort of pharmaceutical as Authorr likely would have wanted 1,200 words, demanded at least one revision and quite possibly have rejected it. I suspect they still submit the allegedly rejected articles.
Anyway, keep up the good work on keeping writers informed.
I’m one of the founders of Authorr. First of all, please rest assured that we only have a handful of sample topics and we definitely use the samples ONLY for grading authors.
We have also recently raised our payout rates to a minimum of 1.4 cents per word and we offer cash bonuses of up to $75 a week for volume. You can view that information here: http://www.authorr.com/payout-rates/
As other commenters have noted, we definitely don’t stiff our writers and we always pay on time, every time.
If you have any further questions, we’re always here to help.
Nice of you to stop by the Freelance Writer Guide, welcome. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ve read the comments on this piece very closely. The only person claiming that they’ve been paid correctly and on time here mentioned it as an afterthought to her decision to leave your company due to poor and baffling grading practices.
This issue is echoed several times here, among others, and I actually have yet to see a word of positive support in favor of your company from this post…the only comments I censor are those that are obvious spam or to remove links in otherwise legitimate comments.
Authorr.com has instituted a dizzying amount of changes in a few short weeks and I get the overwhelming feeling you guys are desperate for writers. If I were a traditional employee looking for a retail job, I probably wouldn’t apply at a place that was spinning out frantic sales while peers were telling me that they didn’t have a good experience there as employees.
Maybe your company is good, solid and legitimate, but your brand tone is extremely off putting at the moment and suggests none of that. 1.4 cents a word isn’t something to write home about, and it’s a really weak effort from a company that was cheerfully paying out sub-human wages less than a month ago. When no one’s applying to the aforementioned retail job, can you imagine a business owner chasing them down the street, yelling “Wait! Come back! We’ll pay you minimum wage after you work a little for free!” Probably not, but that’s what’s happening here. You understand what I mean?
As a freelance guide and de facto community leader of sorts, I’m happy to facilitate a discussion on how you can ethically treat your freelancers and entice people of quality, if you’re open to it. I’m not here just to criticize, I’m here to try and change the industry for the better where I can.
Thanks for your quick response and for agreeing to publish my comment! I just want to clarify that we pay 6 cents per word for our Premium Articles and we are currently accepting applications for Premium at this time.
Let me ask you a question: if we had authors apply by completing a multiple-choice grammar test rather than a sample article, would that help resolve some of your concerns about the hiring process? We want to make things as easy as possible for legitimate authors to get onboard, but we have to do something to filter out the hundreds of overseas people with terrible writing skills that inevitably apply.
First let me say that there are MANY excellent overseas authors – many have mastered the English language better than some Americans. Location should not a determining factor.I understand the concern about terrible writing skills and while a grammar test may help sift some of them out, it appears that some of the editors you have on staff get hung up about the proper use of colon or semi-colon. It is appalling the number of articles I read online on reputable websites that contain missing words, misused or misspelled words. I am equally surprised by the number of articles written in the 1st person. Having said that, I respect your standards and guidelines and kudos to Authorr.com for having such high standards. However, I truly believe you can start the process with your own editors and review some of their terse, impersonal comments and replies to (this) author. You want good authors but treat them badly. Maybe you can go undercover like the program on TV and find out what is going on at the deck level.
Freelance is “wiggly” by nature as far as grading goes…it’s easy for me to pass judgement because I’m not an editor, but I imagine it’s tough as hell to be one and act as gatekeeper.
I do feel for my overseas colleagues, but I’ve spoken to several site managers like yourself and gotten the same impression – that there’s virtual hordes of barely-legible ESL applicants for every fluent one. There’s an irritated comment that will publish either before or after this defending overseas writers, but the truth of the matter is that for every legitimate one, there are a dozen that can barely string a sentence together.
Getting back to your testing question, I would advise you, if possible, to use Paypal as your gatekeeper as far as location goes, or somehow make proving ownership (not just access) of a Paypal account a condition of application/acceptance. Grammar tests would definitely help level the playing field; I’d suggest a large (100+) question test bank, randomization and forced-window timing to keep gamers and cheats at a minimum. If you write the questions yourselves, you can also enforce DMCA on that “content” through Google to prevent unscrupulous sites from publishing answer keys. (there’s a reason I use “writing site test answers” as a tag in my site reviews…you wouldn’t believe the traffic it snags!) After passing the test, I’d also do a mandatory cap & review of the first 3-5 articles to ensure that the person who took the test is the one doing the writing.
I appreciate your transparency, and I will likely take a closer look at your site soon and post a followup. My blogs are intended to grab searches looking for info on your site, and if I want to be fair the scales need to tip both ways. 🙂