Okay, okay, so, finally, here're (yes, I meant it that way) the tips on how to scam Demand Studios back. Okay, actually, (don't hate me) Demand Studios is a machine unconquerable by any measly human being, and there isn't really any way for you, for me, or anyone else - working alone that is - to scam them. Really, these are just tips on how to avoid getting scammed by them. These tips will help you to make at least $15 per hour, which, although a modest rate, I'm sure is not what Demand Studios wants to be paying each of their writers.
Whatever you do, stay away from the revenue share articles. This is probably the scammiest aspect of Demand Studios. Here's what they say about it: "There is no guarantee that a revenue share article will earn more than the flat fee payment would. However, we specifically choose the assignments that we believe will generate the most revenue"(FAQ, Demand Studios, 3/7/10.) Apparently, they would like to share this additional revenue with you, and so, for a "revenue share" article, they withhold the typical flat rate paid for the article. Instead, they only pay you depending on how much your article actually earns.
The problem is they nowhere explain just how your payment is calculated, or, in other words, what percentage of the total revenue brought in by the article you would actually get paid. They seem to try to distract the writer by giving them a list of other things that determine her earnings: "article views, the category your article is in, the website or websites your article appears on and more" (FAQ, Demand Studios, 3/7/10.) I guess the "and more" is a way of leaving out the most important bit of information - the percentage of revenue you'll earn - without technically lying.
So for all the writer knows, if that article makes $100 that first month, she might see $75 (I doubt they'd pay more than 75% of revenue. Hubpages, another aggregator, pays 60%, according to Writer's Digest [November/December 2009].)
Or she might see $2. But who knows? Demand Studios never mentions that little percentage. And why would they? Why, when they can just let the writer unconsciously assume they're getting 100% of the revenue? Why encourage writers to think about the large chunk of money Demand Studios is pocketing? Or how that chunk can be made larger at any time - because if they don't tell you the percentage, they're not going to tell you when they decide to change it, either... Why, when they can just conveniently forget to mention it at all?
And then there's the question of whether it's even true that these "revenue share" articles are the cash-cows of the site? I mean, is there any way to verify this? It's not like Demand Studios is going to start publicizing the algorithms they use to figure this out any time soon.
Given their lack of transparency, it may well be that the truth is the opposite of what they claim: revenue share article titles they make available to writers are actually the ones least likely to bring in significant revenue, and therefore the ones Demand Studios would be most interested in paying less than the standard rate for. Which they could easily get away with by saying "Oh, it'll make plenty of money, just give it time, give it time..." And paying the person keeping the secret a whole lot of money.
Why is it that in the forums, the only person who talks about having a consistently good experience with the revenue share articles is someone with a real position at Demand Studios, the "community moderator," who I'm sure would lose his job as soon as he stopped making Demand Studios look good? Most people probably wouldn't even stick around long enough, working for Demand Studios, to see whether they eventually made anything significant off of their revenue share articles.
Which actually means that even if Demand Studios were telling the truth, they'd still be bordering on scam. "Entice writers into doing articles with pseudo-promises of big earnings. By the time those earnings start to come in, the writer will be gone, and we'll be left with the cash..."
Okay, I guess Cockatoo might be sounding a little paranoid. Time to chill. More tips to come...