Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Textbroker: Counting Pennies in Hell

I've been putting this post off for far too long.  I really want to discuss the beginning of my personal freelance journey and the important differences I discovered between two of the biggest freelance writing communities: Elance and Textbroker.

When I decided to try my hand at freelance writing, I didn't really know what an important and widespread field I was getting myself into.  A friend of mine told me she had made a few extra hundred dollars a month with a site called Textbroker.  Extra hundred dollars?  Ok, yes I'm trying this out.

Textbroker is a website where clients post their writing needs in different categories and writers can choose to complete these articles for a rate of less than two cents per word.  Categories include jewelry, home, business, computers, family, travel, etc.  Depending on how your writing rates with the Textbroker editors, you have access to different levels of writing jobs that pay different amounts of money.  The highest rating you can get as an "amateur" is a four star rating.  That's where I started. 

Here is the problem with Textbroker.  Er, there's more than one.  First, the jobs are first come, first served which means that there is no bidding process or freedom in deciding how much you are going to make.  If you write a four star article, you get paid 1.7 cents per word.  Every time.  No exceptions.  The second problem is that the a lot of the articles are filled with REALLY COMPLICATED guidelines that you have to complete before the article can be written.  Sometimes, just reading the guidelines for each article would take me fifteen minutes.  Then, the article would only pay about $5-$8.  Not exactly cost effective. 

The last problem I had with Textbroker freelance writing was the process by which they moved you from a four star writer to a five star writer.  Ideally, once you have written ten articles in a row with a four star rating, you can apply to be a five star writer which gives you access to better paying jobs.

Well, I've written about a hundred articles with all four star ratings.  I applied to be a five star writer.  I was rejected.  Why?  Because in ONE of the hundred four star articles, the editor at Textbroker didn't like some of my phrasing.  It wasn't wrong.  It wasn't grammatically incorrecct.  She just didn't like it.

After that, I abandoned Textbroker for Elance.  And I absolutely love Elance.

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