Writer Confesses Content Mill Tricks

by nmwf
20 replies
Pay particular attention to what the mill (UAW) does to the content before blasting it out to God knows where. Then visit the mill, and see what they charge for that "service."



True confessions: I wrote for an Internet content mill | Ars Technica

(I ain't mad, though )
#confesses #content #mill #tricks #writer
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  • Profile picture of the author tsubibo
    Looks true enough. Good writers are hard to come by and very expensive.
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    • Profile picture of the author @tjr
      Originally Posted by tsubibo View Post

      Looks true enough. Good writers are hard to come by and very expensive.
      There are a plethora of good writers who either (i) don't know what they're worth, (ii) know what they're worth but don't charge more for whatever reason (fear, comfort, who knows), or (iii) live in an economical situation where they can thrive at what seems like lower prices to some of us.

      Look, I love the whole idea of the plight of the online writer more than most. All the good ones should get to charge a crap ton of money. But then there's reality, and that's where we need to live. So your statement isn't totally honest.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        The author seems to think writing five 800 word articles is a heavy work load for a writer. It isn't....and especially if you aren't doing it every day. Is UAW still available?

        I used UAW heavily for clients when it was first available. I paid $67 a month as a member there and was paid $45-75 per UAW-ready articles by clients who wanted to use UAW effectively. I wrote hundreds of those articles for authority sites, big online commerce sites, etc.

        What UAW "did to the content" was directly dependent on the writer's ability to effectively use all the UAW tools to craft "changeable" articles. When content mill writers jumped on it - the quality went down the drain and many of us moved on.

        Not long after that, Google caught on to backlink tricks and we had penguins and pandas and all sorts of stuff happening....

        If you write for a content mill that's a bit like working for WalMart offline. Works for some people but I always preferred Macy's myself.
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        • Profile picture of the author Zodiax
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          If you write for a content mill that's a bit like working for WalMart offline. Works for some people but I always preferred Macy's myself.
          I had to laugh...
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          I have always had a hard time understanding why truly talented writers would sell themselves short by working for content mills, and in fact, other companies as well. Yes, I know that sometimes people are desperate and need cash fast.

          But in essence, the writer is simply a slave to the time clock. Write so many words, get paid for that time spent . . . and that's it. Done. Finished.

          I want to get paid over and over again for what I write. That just seems like such a logical way to leverage one's time. I understand that some writers may not have a clue about starting an online business, writing a book to be sold on Kindle, and all the other ways to leverage . . . but to me, at least, getting paid just once, and at a very minimum wage, is no way to get ahead in life.

          Steve
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          • Profile picture of the author NFN8
            Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

            I want to get paid over and over again for what I write. That just seems like such a logical way to leverage one's time.
            Even better: get paid over and over again for what someone else writes. ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author camnettcontent
      That was a refreshing read. As IMers become more seasoned and honest with themselves its painfully obvious that higher quality content is more expensive, but worth acres of diamonds over the crap that's overrun the internet.

      Better to invest $100 dollars in one solid piece of content that offers dramatic ROI than 50 pieces of junk that will never bring a single converting click.

      Thanks for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarcParkinson
    That's heaps of good info in that article.. Great insight, love it
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  • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
    Steve, a lot of writers don't know how to land the higher paying gigs.

    A lot of them also need money when they turn in work, not waiting on something that "might" pay off -- if it pays off.

    Then there are more who just want to be employees. They're comfortable like that.

    I agree with you, it's no way to get ahead in life -- trading time for money. Different strokes, different folks.

    Kay, I made a bunch of money doing the same thing in one of the forums I was a part of. $25 a set, had a team putting them together. ;D I miss UAW lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I miss UAW
      You and me both! It was great money but also the people I wrote for were so happy with the results it was a win win for me. Big paydays and happy clients - can't ask for more than that as a writer.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        the writer is simply a slave to the time clock. Write so many words, get paid for that time spent . . . and that's it.
        Your view is one I understand and it's the prevailing "IM attitude" toward services - and toward 'jobs' of any kind.

        But there's more to it than that. If writing is easy and natural for you - then trading something you enjoy for a good hourly wage is not a bad deal. When writing was my main income - I decided how much I wanted to work - and I decided how much I needed to earn.

        It's not PC to say it - but not everyone wants to have a big IM business - or be well known - or live the life of product launches and empire building. And that's OK.
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        • Profile picture of the author kilgore
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          It's not PC to say it - but not everyone wants to have a big IM business - or be well known - or live the life of product launches and empire building. And that's OK.
          Exactly right. And it's also very true that not everyone is cut out to run a business -- and let's face it writing and running a business are two very different things. It's not to say that writers can't also be good at running businesses, but they're very different skill sets.

          It's also important to note that most writers -- just like most people overall -- would be far better off financially by getting a job rather than trying the entrepreneurial route. For one thing, most businesses fail -- online or offline. And for another, even those that do succeed often take years to really get going. And that's not a luxury everyone can afford.

          My business is currently in the process of trying to expand our writing staff. We'll pay in the $20 - $25/hour range -- not fantastic admittedly, but also not horrible, especially since part of the deal is that our writers can work at home and on their schedules. And of course, the other aspect of that wage is it's guaranteed. If what they write sells, they get paid. If what they write bombs, they get paid. We shoulder the risk not them. Moreover, they will have an instant audience of literally millions who will read their writing, so they'll be getting exposure for whatever future work they might do.

          Even at $20/hour, at 40 hours/week our writers will make $800/week. Not enough to have a fantastic Manhattan apartment or a BMW, but then again, how long did it take most of the entrepreneurs on the WF to earn $800/week? From my experience at least, for our first several months we would have been happy to make $800/month, let alone $800/week. And I bet that there are plenty of other people here who have been at it for years who would still love to make $800/week. The point is that it's often the case that a writer (or a developer or anyone else) does better working for someone else than for him or herself. And there's nothing at all wrong with that.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            We'll pay in the $20 - $25/hour range -- not fantastic admittedly, but also not horrible, especially since part of the deal is that our writers can work at home and on their schedules.
            That's a fair deal for a writer and you should be able to attract good talent at those rates.

            As you point out - guaranteed work you can count on - and the flexibility to choose your own hours....is a great "job" for people who want to work at home. Most people aren't true 'entrepreneurs' - but want the flexible work schedule and good pay they associate with that label.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          not everyone wants to have a big IM business - or be well known - or live the life of product launches and empire building. And that's OK.

          Kay,

          Of course you are right. It's the entrepreneur in me that questions why someone would not want to work for themselves as compared to trading hours (when they can get them) for dollars (which they can't always control).

          The key that makes what you're talking about possible (working when you want for the amount of money you want) assumes two things: (1) that you will always be able to find enough work to keep yourself busy, and (2) that you will always be paid "enough" (whatever that is) per job to meet your income requirement.

          Both these "ifs" are somewhat out of the writer's control unless you are really good and have established places where you can pick up writing jobs whenever you want them.

          For most of the newbie writers that I see coming to the forum . . . they are not experienced, top quality writers and they do no have established venues for their writing services. I would say most, if not all, new writers are not going to be able to have all the work they need and be paid what they want for it for quite some time.

          Steve
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          • Profile picture of the author richpeasant
            Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

            It's the entrepreneur in me that questions why someone would not want to work for themselves as compared to trading hours (when they can get them) for dollars (which they can't always control).

            Steve
            Reminds me of what Robert Kiyosaki wrote in the Rich
            Dad Poor Dad
            series...

            "The ability to sell is the number 1 skill in business".

            It's also been called being "one skill short of a wealth".

            Talent alone isn't the answer. Marketing and selling are the key
            skills we are constantly working on.
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  • Profile picture of the author mysterrio
    In many cases, people who write PLR will ghostwrite for you too. There are good writers out there who work within any budget, you just have to find them. When in doubt, you might be able to use plr too.
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    • Profile picture of the author @tjr
      Originally Posted by mysterrio View Post

      In many cases, people who write PLR will ghostwrite for you too. There are good writers out there who work within any budget, you just have to find them. When in doubt, you might be able to use plr too.
      You forgot the *nudge nudge wink wink*.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    The automated content the writer finally gets to at the end of the article is key. Low end content writers just scraping by anyway are being replaced with automation.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author russflex
    I am one of the few honest writers on Fiverr which is probably why I do so well on there. I've seen gurus try to sell automated spinners and content creators, but those programs will never be able to match the content of a human writer.
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