Do You Really Want to Write for a Content Mill?

I phrased that subject as a question because it would be presumptuous of me to say what’s right or wrong for your situation. Content mills are, however, the sweatshops of the writing world, so make sure you have a good reason for working in a sweatshop before signing up to work the virtual sewing machine.

There are some truly eye-opening, stupendous articles about how these operations work and you should really take the time to read them instead of just skimming this blog post. In one sense, you’ve got to admire them. They’ve figured out how to exploit a system (the Internet according to Google) and to make millions of dollars by paying very little and bringing in a lot. They find categories where they can dominate the search results and then put as many AdSense ads as possible on each page to get readers to click on something. Dimes to dollars to millions over time. It’s a great business—if you’re at the top.

For those at the bottom however, the peons known as writers, it’s barely a way to make a buck. But the earnings are not anything substantial until you have slaved away for years (in cases where you get paid based on traffic) or if you can crank out silly how-to articles for Demand Studios on subjects you don’t really know anything about. A few dollars in your account? Yes. Work you can be proud of? Rarely.

But again, it’s your choice. I know people who work for and Suite101 and are making decent money. Not most, mind you, but some. It pays some bills, it gives them an outlet for press trips or hosting, and they get a lot of practice.

Just do your homework ahead of time and know what’s in it for both parties. Also think about where you want to be five years from now as a travel writer and whether this is really going to help you get there. It might, if you use it properly, but it might just be time wasted without much income or attractive clips you can put in your portfolio.

The Answer Factory – A fantastic Wired magazine article on Demand Studios. (Frankly, it blew my mind.)

Stories from the trenches on people who have worked for Demand.

How much are writers really earning?

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