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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Freelance Writing Site Info: Write.com Review

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

UPDATE, AUGUST 2014: Hey dudes and dudettes, just so you’re all aware, Write.com = Crowdsource.com (which in turn “ate” CloudCrowd, a Facebook-based paid online writing platform, last year). If you’re looking for reviews on Crowdsource.com, I got ya covered. This IS a viable place to make money, but do NOT go through Write.com to apply because it’s a bit of a pain and clunky – head over to Crowdsource directly instead for a smoother experience.

*** Original Write.com Review Below ***

What is Write.com?

Write.com is a “platformer” – a writing site that piggybacks an existing site to get work from writers, rather than posting and accepting work through their own site. Cloudcrowd, for instance, is a fellow platformer that uses Facebook, whereas Textbroker is a standalone site that allows workers to log in directly. Write.com uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk site – called Mturk.com – to farm out their tasks.

How do I start at Write.com?

If you’re interested in working with Write.com, start on their homepage. Click the “Join Our Team” link and you’ll be taken to a 20-question multiple choice test that, as typical writing site exams go, isn’t exactly a piece of cake. It is, however, surprisingly static – meaning that as far as I can tell the questions do not change. You’ll also have to submit a writing sample at the end – mine was on cabinet knobs.

Test Answers to Write.com Exam

Once you’ve successfully passed the writing test, you’ll receive an email that looks something like this, directing you to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program, which hasn’t been mentioned until this point (click to enlarge):

Write.com Acceptance Letter

 How do I get paid with Write.com?

Write.com, as we discovered earlier, uses the Mturk system to send out jobs for hire. This means that unlike the vast majority of write-for-pay sites out there, Paypal will do you no good here. Mturk is an Amazon invention, which means you’ll need an Amazon Payments account. Amazon payments are a pain if you’re used to using a Paypal debit card, as the only method for payout (other than using your credit on Amazon.com, natch) is to request a transfer to your bank account, which can take a few days.

How is the overall experience at Write.com?

I opted not to go through with it, after all that rigamarole – which should tell you something. I was initially enticed by the high pay for the usual 250-500 word articles Write.com had listed on Mturk, mistakenly believing that passing their entrance exam would give me access to these decently priced jobs. Once on Mturk, however, I found that the only tasks I had access to were piddly little things like keyword research that paid less than a dime for what looked to be 5-10 minutes of work. When I wrote in to ask about it, this is the response I received (emphasis mine):

Because you are just starting off as a writer in our system, there are going to be a few tasks that are not available to you. These writing tasks are listed exclusively for our “intermediate” and “advanced” writers that have earned those qualifications over time. As you begin to write for us, you can build up a reputation within our writing “career system.”

For our writing qualifications, we grant writers “intermediate” or “advanced” based on a few areas. We are able to keep track of how long a writer has been completing work for us and the feedback that writer has received from our editors. We use this information to determine what qualification each writer should have.

Each writer that works for CrowdSource starts at beginner. On average, a beginner writer moves up to intermediate when he/she has been writing for CrowdSource for three months. Going from intermediate to advanced, however, takes about six months of writing after the intermediate qualification is given. A thorough knowledge of the style guide and standard grammar is demonstrated.”

So, in other words, if you want to make any real money, be prepared to work like a rented mule for the better part of a year just to gain access to actual writing assignments. Funny, I thought I just tested for punctuation, mechanics, style, grammatical understanding, and writing ability to, yanno, write. It feels like a classic bait-and-switch to me, and I’m more than a little ticked off that a site that purports to be about writing is actually just looking for people to do mindless click tasks for pennies an hour.

Helpful Hints for Write.com

Skip it.