My Thoughts on Demand Media Studios Weeding out Writers with Writer Development Program
My Answer to It
When I received the email informing me that my writing privileges at the studio were limited to just three articles that would be reviewed by a senior editor to decide my fate as contributing writer, I had to chuckle.
You see, it was just a week before that emails were flooding in informing me that my eHow content had been pulled and now sourced for other Demand Media forums, such as The USA Today Travel Tips, Chron (the Houston Chronicle Small Business section) and Garden Guides. These are sites for writers with special permission that come with a higher payout then the original eHow and Trails.com where my content was published.
In all, I have provided Demand Media with 342 articles over the last year and half on a very part time basis (I haven’t actually written a thing in over 6 months) with 75% of those articles published with no revision request on the part of the copy editor. As far as the other 25%, 18% were published after a rewrite, 6%, I chose not to rewrite for various reasons and abandoned and 1% were rejected.
So, evidently, despite the fact that the company felt my content was of a high enough quality to publish on these sites, I will not receive the same pay as given to the writers who know they are writing for them, and am not given permission to write for them either. I can just continue to work at my flat eHow rate and then they can choose to yank my articles to higher paying sites. Such is the life of freelancer. You sell you work upon agreed upon price and they choose what to do with it, but the whole scheme of things is still shady as far as I’m concerned.
Let’s get back to the marvelous writer development program. It seems to be based on writer scores, which demand provides via copy editors for grammar and research on a scale of 1 to 5. In previous times, writers were told that a score of 3.4 to 3.6 was average and 3.7 or higher would garner a consideration for special writing projects.
Now with this massive, we are weeding a ton writers, move, it is stated that these scores are less than mediocre and that writers should hold at least 4.0 score. A ridiculous expectation considering the fluctuating scores due to copy editor inconsistencies and available titles.
In my last six months of regular writing my grammar score was a 3.6, what was once considered an acceptable average, though now I am at threat of having my writing privileges revoked for it. My research score was a steady 4 or higher. So despite the fact that I have proven myself a capable asset as a contributor in the past when able to write content in my areas of knowledge (education, travel etc...) I am now expected to submit my best work ever while getting to choose from a loathsome title pool that is flooded with content expectations that I would never dare to attempt.
I am mean really, would you want to fulfill titles about how to make metal screws or disassemble a tanning bed? The bad part, these are the more relevant of the titles now available.
It has been stated by the powers that be at Demand that writers put on these limitations can write their articles in a day, a week from now or months from now, there is no timeline. The problem, they have been progressively moving any writable title to “specialty” sites to which I am not granted permission to write for.
So, the consensus, despite the fact that the extra income brought into our home in the past courtesy of my work for Demand Media, I will not attempt to “save” myself writing three articles on a topic that I have absolutely no interest in. I will cut my ties, move on, and know that though I love writing, forcing myself to write this way is not what I want to do!