CloudCrowd and Write.com / Crowdsource Merge

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:

Hi Delany,

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.

If you have any questions about what this acquisition means for you, visit our FAQ page. As always, feel free to join us in the forums; we’d like to hear from you!

Best,

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.

Freelance Writing Site Info: CloudCrowd Review

Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is CloudCrowd legit or Is CloudCrowd a scam?
UPDATE: 7/21/2015: Crowdsource is now where all applicants should head to (Cloudcrowd no longer exists as a standalone company). You can apply at this link: https://work.crowdsource.com/signup

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 leave you to work on the site itself (if you select Paypal as your payment option). 

What is CloudCrowd?
Aside from a tongue twister, CloudCrowd is a combination of a “mill” type writing site with many articles available for writing and a microjobs site, where small individual tasks can be completed for a few cents each.

How do I start at CloudCrowd?

CC has an unusual Facebook-based system, not a traditional .com site to work through. You’ll need a Facebook account, which are free to set up, and then you’ll need to click this link to start at CloudCrowd. From there, click the credibility tab, the writing section, and the English Credibility Test from there (see image below):

Getting Started at CloudCrowd

How to get started at Cloudcrowd

The test is timed, but you get about 40 minutes for the same amount of questions. English Comprehension Credential Test answers for CloudCrowd are fairly self-evident to native or fluent English speakers, and you can expect something like this:

CloudCrowd English Comprehension Test

The test results and credential award for this test should come back immediately, but don’t expect such a fast turnaround for the peer-reviewed writing or editing tests, which take a few days in most cases.

  • For the writing test, you’re called on to write a 150-200 word piece on a keyword (I’ve seen “green shoes” and “funeral home” on two separate occasions).
  • The marketing test will send you to an Amazon or Overstock product and require you to rewrite the product description.
  • The editing test directs you to a poorly-translated Asian site with the order to essentially rewrite the homepage text – which seems more “rewrite” than “edit” to me, but that’s my opinion.

All tests aside from comprehension and all writing tasks completed require you to submit your work as a Word Document – there are no text entry boxes on the site at all. The completed tests will not pay money.

 How do I get paid with Cloudcrowd?

You’ll need a paypal account to get payment from CC, there are no other options available. Payment is made every day – yes, you read that correctly – into your given paypal account. For instance, if you complete $3 of work on Monday and it’s approved by Monday evening, you’ll have $3 in your account by Tuesday evening. This makes CC an excellent platform as far as money desperation is concerned. If something’s about to be shut off and your other writing site paydays fall too far in the future, you can make the extra you need with CC. The payment times vary, but are generally in the 7pm-8pm EST range for yours truly. The site does NOT take a percentage off for themselves, so what you see is what you get – I imagine they’ve done all of their fee-trimming prior to posting the jobs.

How is the overall experience at CloudCrowd?

It’s a little tough. It’s easy to feel like no one’s listening, and you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with a lot of ESL types, which can make peer review – which the site runs on, by the way – a little bit difficult. Be ready to file appeals for wrongful rejections, but make sure you’re in the right by reading both the site styleguide and the individual task styleguide(s) before beginning – there’s a lot of reading to cover, in some cases. The writing portion often has exhaustive instructions, but they do pay .03/word, which is generous in comparison to a lot of other mills at an average rating level.  Lurk the forums for a bit and you’ll see what the common complaints are, which may help you avoid pitfalls of your own.

Helpful Hints for CloudCrowd

You’ll notice your “credibility” rating once you start at CC – this is an important little number. In general, you’ll get a single point boost for every microjob you complete, such as filling in product spec information for Amazon. (You don’t have to do these microjobs, as writing looks to be a fairly separate animal, but you will need higher credibility for editing tasks). Use the “skip” button judiciously – if you don’t know the answer for sure, just pass it by.  Skipping doesn’t affect your credibility and it may save you from hitting a “check task” – a task with a predetermined answer that, if answered incorrectly, will tank your credibility to as low as it goes and lock you out of CC for a full day.

Each task keeps you on the screen with a timer ticking down in the lower right corner – if you exit the page or the timer runs out, the task is gone. Don’t get through a 400 word piece and hit the back button by mistake – I did, and I was left with a lengthy piece that had no application anywhere else.