Saturday, March 13, 2010

Those Long-Awaited Tips

Okay, for those of you still writing for Demand Studios or just thinking about it, here are those tips I've been carroting for weeks now. (Yes, "carroting": the gerund of "to carrot", meaning "to use an object for the purposes of inducing some short-sighted behavior in an other, while surreptitiously preventing the object from being obtained and deriving personal gain from the other's behavior. From the popular metaphor "carrot on a stick". Cockatoo's New World Dictionary, 7th ed.)

Okay, I don't actually think you're short-sighted. Cockatoo was just trying to be snarky. Sorry.

So Tip #2 (Tip #1 is in a previous post): As I recently learned, beware the plagiarism police. Now notice, I'm not saying "Don't plagiarize." Demand Studios is pretty much stealing from you, so why shouldn't you steal too? Yeah, two wrongs, blah, blah, blah... You need a paycheck, right? Well, Cockatoo is all for you minimizing the amount of time you spend on any particular article and thus increasing your pay rate. And doing this might require you to, discreetly, copy another piece from the internet onto your little Demand Studios work desk, right? Right. Except, the site checks for plagiarism on every piece that gets submitted.

So how do you evade the police?

Thesaurus, thesaurus, thesaurus, rearrange, rearrange, rearrange. Take that clause, move it to the front, change "start" to "commence", "illness" to "ailment", take that bit out there, add a couple words here, et voila! Basically, change the words and move things around. Their program checks for "shared content" which just means it checks to see if a lot of the same words can be found in some other document. So, mainly, avoid using the same words, and you'll be fine. If you still get flagged, though, and you've rearranged things enough, it just might keep the editor that has to look over your stuff from giving you the ax if it looks like you at least tried to hide your lifting.

Tip #3: Write $7.50 pieces. The $3 pieces will probably take you longer than a total of 12 minutes to find, research, and write. However, there are plenty of $7.50 pieces that can be done within half an hour, giving you an hourly rate of $15. Plus, you're getting paid $7.50 for 150 words (if you stick to the minimum, as you should), whereas with the $15 pieces, you have to write at least 400, which is $7.50 per 200 words - less money per word.

Tip #4: Skip anything unnecessary, like adding photos, and make sure to stick to your word count. If you do more than the minimum, not only are you doing unnecessary, unpaid for labor that no one cares about, but you're also running the risk of having to spend even more time on the article, rewriting it to the proper word count. They're nit-picky about having articles of the proper length. (Don't want to end up eating into sacred advertising space with all that pesky content.)

Tip #5: Don't suggest titles. They only pay you $5 for a 400 word piece if it was a title you suggested yourself. You'd have to be able to come up with the title, check that it's available, submit it for approval, find a reference, and write the piece, not to mention possibly do some rewriting, all in 20 minutes if you wanted to make at least $15 bucks an hour. This might be theoretically possible, but for the average person is probably not very feasible.

Tip #6: If you're actually serious about making some money through this aggregator b.s., consider investing in voice-recognition software. A couple of people on the Demand Studios website have mentioned using it and finding their productivity tremendously increased. Just remember for every dollar you make, Demand Studios probably makes about 20. Every article you write is more advertising space for them to sell and a better rating for them in the search engines. In other words, you're probably doing Demand Studios more of a favor than yourself.

Tip #7: Stop being so damn lazy and individualistic and quit Demand Studios. Get yourself a real job, where, yes, you might have to wake up early in the morning and deal with other people, but you also might be appreciated for the unique human being that you are (by these other people), rather than as just a content-regurgitating cog in a machine. Where you might get to do more than just rearrange other people's ideas all day, while passing them off as your own. And where you might get to make more than the $9/hour you're averaging now. Yes, the economy is still sucking, but there has to be something better for you out there. Something where at least you might get a decent reference once you leave or some decent clips that might help you land a better job. You can't get either from Demand Studios - your editors always remain anonymous, and the writing standards are too low to be impressive anywhere else.

Hmmph. Cockatoo promises to start taking her own advice any day now.

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