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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Demand Studios: My Experience

I joined the Demand Studios (DS) community as a writer in March of 2008 and in six months wrote over 180 pieces of content for eHow.com and Livestrong.com using the DS writing tool. (note: in an earlier post I said it was 130 but my DS account shows 187) I did this while building up my residual income, and stopped writing for the flat upfront fee when I reached my residual income goal.

My experience with Demand Studios was very good -- I chose their titles from the list of available assignments, wrote efficiently and was paid promptly. I made more money per hour than I had as a full-time editorial assistant/ reporter for a weekly newspaper in Washington, DC only a few years previous. I never experienced the overly picky or crazy Content Editor (CE) rewrites many DS writers detail. Only 2 or 3 of my early articles ever came back for edits and were subsequently approved.

Last spring, April-May of 2009, I wrote 15 Demand Studios revenue-sharing articles to compare the DS rev-sharing model to the eHow Writers Compensation Program (WCP) with which I had already experienced a great deal of success. I found there was no real advantage at the time, and felt the eHow platform was more lucrative for me and gave me more freedom as a writer. Over the past year, the articles have earned over $10 each on average, and of course are continuing to earn.

As I noted in my previous post, the reason those rev-sharing articles didn't earn as well as my eHow.com WCP articles, in my opinion, is that I didn't pick the titles -- DS did -- and their pagerank (PR) was not as high as those posted under my well-ranked WriterGig profile in the WCP. Further, I did absolutely no promotion or linking to the DS rev-sharing articles. I simply wrote them and left them and saw a PayPal deposit every month for the residual income. At the time, the revenue-sharing was capped at five years from the time of publication. Thankfully, DS has now lifted this cap and the articles will earn into perpetuity as they do with eHow's WCP.

Now that the eHow WCP has been closed to further publishing, I'm revisiting Demand Studios as one of the many facets of my residual income business. There are many things to like about publishing articles on eHow.com, most notably the high page rank and monstrous traffic to the site. The main difference now is that the writing platform has changed from the eHow tool to the Demand Studios tool, and that the rights to the articles written through DS now belong to the company and not to the writer.

There is no reason to cut yourself off from the excellent earning potential that is eHow. If you are worried about the ownership of the content, save your favorite niche writing or material you want to use in your own publications for yourself. But with the ease of rewriting content and the gazillions of niches available, there are scores of titles you can write for eHow through Demand Studios to which the copyright is a moot point because you have no need for or interest in publishing the material in a book or website not owned by yourself.

Demand Studios made a business decision--  to merge eHow writers with Demand Studios -- that will benefit the company as a whole and its writers, too, in many aspects (less spam and a higher quality standard). Now the business decision of where to write and how to earn money online is yours -- just as it has always been.

10 comments:

2enjoylife8 said...

Thanks for the update! I'm still waiting to be transitioned over to DS. I'm glad rev share articles will still be available, and as you say, DS's ownership of our articles doesn't seem to make a big difference at this point. It probably is time I had a little editor input;)

Dave Ward said...

Glad to hear your perspective. $10 for the year isn't all that encouraging, but if you didn't promote them at all then I suppose perhaps it should be.

I am primarily concerned with three things:

1. They can republish any material creating competing duplicate content and lowering my earnings off of that content since I won't earn of mirror sites (I am sure UK is coming back)

2. Since there isn't the ability to interlink your articles the page ranking of articles will be much more difficult to achieve. 500 interlinking articles makes powerful ranking force... 500 disconnected articles not so much.

3. Since we do not retain rights we have no leverage over DS to make them do anything, change anything, or reconsider anything. So, if mirrored sites begin to negatively affect our bottom line again we have no real recourse.

Any thoughts on those concerns Maria? I am sure you are being careful with your comments so as not to burn any bridges. But I would be curious to hear your reflections.

Thanks... Dave

Alicia James said...

Thank you Maria for sharing your view.
BTW, Dave you make some very valid points.

Lloyd said...

Dave,

you are right about getting concerned on your articles being republished. On the other side, it may be beneficial on the short term, if you use one or two sites only...

Lloyd

Maria said...

2enjoy -- the editors sometimes make great suggestions for info to add to your article, and once you learn the DS-eHow style, you'll have few re-writes.

Dave -- Not only did I not promote the DS rev-share articles, I didn't get to write my own titles for them at the time. Now, you can write your own rev-share articles, which for me is an advantage (as it is to everyone who knows keyword research and SEO).

The issues you mention concern me as well, especially that we can't access the Related Articles section to build interlink our related articles.

Mirrored content will hurt Demand Media and its sites as well, so i don't have a huge concern that they will do this indiscriminately. Ultimately, if the new model is not profitable writers will not go for the rev share article option, and those of us who are in it only for residuals will leave. I'm confident this can be a win-win for DS and for writers, but only time will tell.

Alicia-- you're welcome, thanks for reading.

Dave Ward said...

Thanks for chiming in and sharing openly Maria. I have been waiting for real numbers from people who have experienced it. I will try to write a few... hard to get the motivation up right now since I have so much promotion to catch up with on ehow. But I will give it a shot eventually. We'll see what happens. Perhaps over time as DS sees we can write good articles, and the negative voices get weeded out, they will listen to some suggestions from us and we can start interlinking articles again. Even if they just allowed us control over a "other articles by this author" section so that it was clear up front that these related articles were the authors. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

I would like to remain anonymous for this, but I just wanted to pass this along to the community for a big heads up. I know the eHow message board would delete this, so I decided I would post with someone reputable within the organization, when it comes to writing.

As a person that has been in the online industry for a while now making a really good living, I wanted to tell you that Demand Media is launching an IPO for their company in the upcoming weeks.

What does this mean?

Since they are launching an IPO, they need to impress the investors. This is one of the reasons that they dumped so many eHow writers.

While I didn't make much ($600ish/month) with eHow, I generally used it for a promotion platform for our websites.

Now, you guys are going to be in for a shock. In the next couple months, they are slowly going to weed out more and more people. You're going to basically have to be a full-time or part-time
staffer.

Even if you were accepted to Demand Media, it's going to be bad news.

Wall Street wants an organized crew.

I just really wanted to give the readers a heads up on the future, because it's not looking so hot for Demand Media and it's contractors!

Shirley said...

It was a tough change. Let's face it, no one accepts change easily! But, I've added DS more steadily to my repertoire and I'm good with the change......though, yes I still miss our old eHow !

Kelly said...

I have been with Demand Studios(Media) for about 1 year now. I have actually been using them to pay for niche sites. It takes me a 1/2 an hour to make $15 so it works I have had a lot of stupid rewrites-like "change the reference url" and make sure to use a hyphen when you use "inch"

If that is true regarding what anonymous said then I will probably be one of the ones that are cut.

Kelsey said...

I haven't ever completed any residual income articles for DS, but I love picking up assignments from them. The forums are really supportive there too.