Letters To The Editor For October 21st

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LETTERS REGARDING: Demand Studios – What Their Average Contributors Are Saying…

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FROM A DEMAND STUDIOS CONTRIBUTOR:

Well, you are certainly getting a lot of coverage on the Demand Studios (DS) boards. Everything from that you are mad at Deb (Ng) for landing them as an advertiser, that you wrote for DS and got fired, that you wanted to write for DS and couldn’t get hired, etc. Two people wrote blog posts responding to you and the consensus seems to be that you’re a garden variety (expletive removed by WritersWeekly). You definitely hit a nerve. But it really needed to be hit.

ANGELA RESPONDS:

1. WritersWeekly stopped accepting new paying advertisers over a year ago. We do not compete for advertisers with Deb Ng. You should know, however, that Yury Polnar of Demand Studios contacted WritersWeekly back on August 5th, asking us to run an ad for them. I flat refused. At that time, we were in discussions with a writer who had been owed money by Demand Studios since 2007.

Yury’s response was, “…the issue concerning non-payment has been resolved.”

However, it had NOT been resolved by that time, and did not get resolved until August 20th (two weeks later), according to the writer.

2. I’ve never written for Demand Studios, nor for any of their other websites – nor would I.

3. I’ve never applied at Demand Studios, nor at any of their other websites – nor would I.

4. If telling people the truth, even if they don’t want to hear it, makes me an (expletive removed by WritersWeekly)…then I guess I am an (expletive removed by WritersWeekly). I’ve been called worse, that’s for sure.

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D. WROTE:

While I appreciate the article on DS, I think eHow could use a good once over from you also.

ANGELA RESPONDS:

Demand Media (owner of Demand Studios) owns eHow.com.

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FROM ANOTHER DEMAND STUDIOS CONTRIBUTOR:

Excellent job. I am using my real e-mail address so that you can see I am indeed a subscriber.

As you can imagine, people in the DS forums are not too happy about it, and are complaining that you were too negative and never intended to do a fair story. Boo (expletive removed by WritersWeekly) hoo! They really drank the Kool Aid over there.

ANGELA RESPONDS:

I also saw accusations from Demand Studios contributors claiming I wrote the article before I even asked DS contributors to contact me with comments. Ridiculous. Some of them are purposely spreading blatantly false information about me, which, in my opinion, simply shows desperation on their part. I was trying to help them (writers) with my article, which makes the odd backlash even more dumbfounding.

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A SATISFIED DEMAND STUDIOS CONTRIBUTOR SAYS:

Angela –

Just a few quick thoughts. I don’t have a lot of time as I have to get back to constructing my shrine to Demand Studios (These goats aren’t going to sacrifice themselves):

I really don’t understand why you’re acting like you’re exposing some weird, Internet writing child labor center. We all know the terms and conditions when we apply to work for Demand. Nobody is there against their will. Who cares? Nothing that you’ve published is secret, and some of it is actually factually inaccurate. But that’s beside the point.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions – I really could care less about the negative slant your article took. It’s the fact that you’ve chosen to write it like you’re breaking the scoop on the Nazi death-camps that’s mildly alarming. It also kind of prevents you from being taken seriously, to be honest. But I’m in a cult (your words, not mine. Plus, I’ve always prefer the term “Movement”), so what do I know.

The people who sent in negative comments are acting like Demand wants New York Times-worthy articles. $15 for a 400 word article isn’t bad when you can write six of them an hour.

Plus, we’re “publicly lynching” you? That’s a bit overly dramatic. It’s one thread with about 30 responses (there are well over 1,000 writers, by the way) on one of 13 official message boards. That’s a little self important, don’t you think?

Cult!

-S.

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RC SAYS:

Hi Angela,

Thanks for today’s expose about Demand Media. You might enjoy reading what Erik Sherman’s research revealed about the company:

Regarding Deb Ng – she’s changed her tune quite a bit about DS since the company became her site’s principal sponsor.

Thank you.

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C SAYS:

Hi Angela —

I am so gratified to see you take on Demand. I’ve been really creeped out by
Deb Ng’s alliance with them.

Keep up the great work!

C.

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WRITER AND EDITOR SAID:

Angela,

I read with interest your articles on the “content mills” previous to the one I received today. I was interested because I had just succumbed to the back cover and full page ads in Writer’s Digest for Demand Studios. I was approved as a writer and as a copy editor … although they had nothing for me to edit at the time (according to an e-mail). They also e-mailed and wanted to know why I had not chosen any assignments.

The reason? $15 PER ARTICLE for the most part. I have been a freelance writer for 13 years, both full and part-time. I currently write for a major daily newspaper. My minimum pay is $80 (and that is for a story that may take as long as 90 minutes). I often receive $100-$200 for a 400-word article, and have received as high as $400 for a single story. I also get paid for taking pictures. So, $15? NO WAY!

Thanks for your publication. I really appreciate all the work that you do for freelance … and other … writers.

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FORMER DEMAND STUDIOS CONTRIBUTOR SAYS:

I’d like to stay anonymous if this is posted. I stopped writing for DS. They have taken hundreds of dollars from my pocket due to poor editors and changes to guidelines AFTER I submitted an article.

(Editors) can apply with a phony resume and pay someone to take their editor test. I suspect this might be why so many writers are finding poor professionalism from editors and grammatical and factual errors in their work.

I am watching the forum debate about your article, and the people who are pretty blinded anyway are the only ones commenting. The ones like me who know you’re right have stayed out of it and said nothing, which is probably why the thread is less than 10 posts anyway.

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A READER SAYS:

Today’s article about Demand Media was excellent. Maybe it’s fair to say that those who’ve given the company a fair shake see with open eyes what is really going on.

Thanks for trying to pry people’s eyes open. Sadly, they will only see what they wish to. The world is different these days, and the last ten years prove this country is in terrible shape, with so many wanting instant gratification with little output…while naively (and ignorantly) allowing themselves to fall victim to a vicious, insidious, new form of Corporate America.

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L SAID:

I’m so glad that you are looking into Demand Studios and finding out what people have to say. I signed up for Demand and eHow and selected a few articles. When I realized just how much work they wanted for so little money, I sent the assignments back to them and haven’t been back since. Maybe I’m too proud, or not poor enough, but I would rather flip burgers for minimum wage than prostitute my writing talent.

L

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K SAID:

Thank you, Angela, regarding Demand Studios. This is what I’ve been saying all along! And what really stinks is that their many owned sites take up pages on the writing job sites.

K

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A READER SAYS:

What’s upset me is Deb Ng’s complete turnabout in her standards. She’d developed a nice website with a fairly good following, and I recall her trying hard not to bring those folks jobs that were beneath them. And now what? She gets a few bucks from Demand Studios and now she’s their evangelist?

Thank you for a great story and about the most unbiased article on that (company) yet.

I try desperately to educate writers on taking acceptable pay for their work and nothing less, but it’s as though some of these people have decided minimum wage is too far a stretch. I get seriously cranky when I see them saying “I make $100 a week!” Wow, really? That’s what I charge an hour. They’re getting a royal screwing and they’re welcoming it with open arms. I’m to the point I’m exhausted with it. I post about low-paying scum balls. I teach them how to market. The end result? Lazy people will continue to be lazy. Their careers are defined by someone else. I’m done with them. I’ll spend my time helping writers who want it. The rest can sit in Purgatory for the rest of their “careers.”

But thank you again. I’m thrilled to see you tackling this subject. People respect you, Angie. If anyone can reach them, you can.

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S. SAID:

You go, girl! I call DS and the others (Internet Brands, Suite 101, Hib Pages, Helium, etc.) the cockroaches of the Internet. The bad part is writers are such wimps they take this and thank them for it! And it’s bringing down the whole pay structure– I think I also told you (a medical publisher) assigned me a cover story, then offered half the usual pay–I said, “What?”

They said, “We looked at the ads (for other companies) and don’t have to pay New York prices.”

And yes, this (does seem) like a cult or something. Deb went to a whole convention of DS people cooing at each other…I notice she is not getting her usual slavish feedback on her site and had to offer a payment for responses

S.

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L. SAID:

Angela –

It’s hard to expose the truth. It took immense courage on your part to run the piece. I commend you for doing what you did. Please don’t let people get you down! There are also many, many people who stand behind you.

Should Demand realize how hard its contractors work and increase rates, wouldn’t that be something? That’s what I ask for: Demand treat the contractors fairly and compensate according to industry standards. Stop paying amateur rates for professional work!!!!

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L SAID:

Thank you for all the work you’ve done compiling the information on the various writing mills. I’ve looked at many of them and just couldn’t stomach the thought of putting in so much time for so little reward. I understand why people get sucked in, but I’ve been doing this too long to take a step backwards. I’d rather work at Starbucks. I’m also going to unsubscribe from Deb Ng’s blog. I’m quite disappointed that she’s a mouthpiece for Demand Studios. I think she’s above that, but perhaps not.

Please keep up the great work. I truly enjoy your newsletter each week.