Susan enjoys travel, art, writing, and natural products. She lives in Kent, just outside of London.
Writing for a Content Mill
Before I begin my review, I'd like to acknowledge that there are many who say content mills are poorly paid, unethical and worthless. I have read opinions which say that no one should work for them! This is not an opinion I share. Here's my tuppence worth.
The rate of pay is normally low—often 1 pence per word—so a 500-word article will pay the writer £5.00. It is said by some that paying so little per word is devaluing the skill. The content mill itself also charges the client a commission, and they often charge quite a lot for their services. Many writers think this is bad, that they are taking advantage of people struggling for work. The fact that the writer does not get credited for the work is another thing that is unpopular. When you write for a content mill, you are handing over your writing, and the buyer can put their name to it if they wish.
I believe that trained journalists and experienced writers can get a lot more money elsewhere, and I believe their talents are best used writing for outlets which require their extensive skill set. A talented wordsmith would be justifiably horrified at being paid £5 for an article, and they would not like to hand over their work for someone else to call their own.
Use Your Unique Writing Talents Elsewhere
But like all things, there are different levels of skill. In my opinion, the content that is purchased from content mills doesn't warrant a great level of writing skill, and therefore the pay reflects this.
Most of the articles are bought to be added to websites purely to attract traffic, and the writer is given the key SEO words to add into the text. A lot of the work is simple product descriptions where all the facts are supplied to the writer; the job is simply to put them into readable sentences. Good grammar and a native understanding of English is needed, but the art of spinning a tale, or creating believable characters, or unfurling a complicated plot are not required.
Therefore, talented writers should be using their more unique skills elsewhere. It would be like asking Michelangelo to decorate your bathroom—yes, he is a painter, so technically he could have done it, but what a waste of talent!
Review of Textbroker UK
I have written for Textbroker for a number of years now. This website is my favourite and I go to this one first, usually on a daily basis, to see what work is available.
- They pay once a week, every week. Request a payout before Thursday night and you will be paid via Paypal around midday on Friday. Simple and reliable, they have never failed this.
- They pay in Euros and you have to have a minimum of 10 Euros in credit before you can ask for your money, which is the lowest payout level of all three websites I write for.
- There is a wide variety of 300- to 500-word articles loaded at all times throughout the day. No HTML or CSS coding is requested and usually the instructions are straightforward and not too complicated.
- Clients usually accept their orders within a day or two and you get paid instantly, auto-pay kicks in after 3 working days if the client doesn't do anything, so you never wait too long for your money.
- They pay in Euros and as the pound is quite strong at times, the actual rate of pay I get when converted into sterling is sometimes lower than other times.
- Sometimes the orders are very vague and you're not sure what the client really wants - but the review system seems to work well.
- You can only have one piece of work at a time 'in progress' so if you see a number of articles you'd like to write, you have to pick just one and hope the others are still there when you have completed it.
- Textbroker 'marks' your work even if a client has accepted it, and so you can find yourself having negative feedback from them, and positive feedback from your client.
For me the pros out way the cons considerably. I like the diversity of requests and I rarely get asked to 'redo' anything these days, and I have never had anything 'rejected'.
I look at the feedback from Textbroker carefully—when I was new I made lots of mistakes with my comma placements, and there were grammar rules I wasn't aware of, but I have learned a lot from those comments.
Review of GreatContent UK
Great Content UK is my second choice, and I usually pick up work daily here as well.
- They pay in sterling, so there is no currency conversion needed.
- The rate of pay per word is slightly more which adds up over an entire article
- The work is often used for well-known websites, and they often have huge orders with hundreds of the same type of articles, so once you get the hang of one, you can write quicker.
- You can agree to write a few articles at the same time—the number you can accept is set by each client, some will let you accept 2, others 3 or 4 at the same time. This is a useful way to plan your day - you know what you have committed yourself to without having to check for more work.
- Your work is normally accepted or a review asked for within a few days. I don't think I've had to wait more than 6 days.
- The minimum payment threshold is £25.00. This is higher than most sites.
- They changed their payout policy in August 2018. Now, you request a payout after reaching the £25.00 threshold, but you do not see the money for 30 days after your request has been submitted. This has made this site undesirable as a writer. To give you an example, I wrote several small pieces that added up to only £19.00. I had to wait a further two weeks to see more orders that I could do before reaching the £25.00 minimum payout threshold. I then requested a payout, and the money went into Paypal 30 days later. So that is a total of 6 weeks to receive around £25 in this real-life example. The whole joy of this kind of work is that it's a quick turn around and a speedy way to get a few quid in your wallet. Greatcontent have taken this 'pro' away and made it into a very big 'con'.
- This site has a lot of product descriptions and thinking of lots of ways to describe things like fridges, dishwashers, men's trousers or children's t-shirts can be hard.
- The clients often have an in-depth tone of voice, strict layout rules, requests for HTML and 'do not use' lists of words which means a brief can take a while to fill while you try to incorporate all their requirements. I have found I often get 're work please' from them, usually to do with the tone used rather than errors.
- The writing is not so interesting to do.
- They charge a small fee for every payout—both a fixed fee per request, and a percentage of the total amount. This seems strange to me, to be charged to get your pay goes against the grain, but the amount is only small.
Review of Copify UK
I have only be writing for a few months for Copify UK. They have quite interesting topics to write about, but there are a few things I don't like.
- They pay in sterling.
- The payout level is a fair £10
- If you request a payout before 2pm, you receive your money the next working day. That is fantastic, especially if you have a bill to pay or a night out to enjoy. What other work could you do that pays like this?
- The rate of pay varies for each client, but a number of them pay higher than the other two websites.
- The instructions are usually quite good.
- The website is stylish and a pleasure to go onto, and you can go in and edit a piece of writing after you have submitted it if the client hasn't yet accepted it. Sometimes this is useful if you suddenly have an epiphany about some fact!
- The deadlines for some articles are really short, and I don't really understand why they do that. You can click on an order and the deadline will show as 2 hours from now. That means you can't pick up work you like the look of to do later in the day, you have to work on it immediately.
- The worst thing is the time it takes for a client to accept the work. As I write I have 5 articles waiting, one of which I wrote 10 days ago. They auto pay after a calendar month if the client doesn't react—but a whole month!To get £4.00! Come on, Copify—change this. The deadline to write articles are really short, but the deadline to get paid is too long. I have also discovered by experience that a revision, or tweak of an article resets the auto pay time. I have just had a piece of writing waiting for payment for 28 days—2 days short of the auto pay date—before the client asked for a few tweaks, which I did immediately. The auto pay date now says a whole month away again. The piece is worth £5.70. Why would a client ask for a job to be completed and then not return to it for 28 days? It is very odd and annoying. Again—I write for the money, not for the love of it, so this is the single reason why I only work for Copify as a last resort.
- The instructions from clients are sometimes spread across a number of websites, spreadsheets and documents which makes writing complicated, and I often give up with this kind of article and don't bother to accept the work.
- I like the blogs, as they give you quite a free reign, but often the only instructions are 'write anything you like that has not already been covered' on our website—which means skimming though pages and pages of blogs to see what has already been done. This is time consuming, and you can find any ideas you had for a subject has actually already been covered. So you cannot think of anything interesting to write.
Some Things Are the Same Across All Three Sites
- Legitimacy: All these websites are legitimate and have been going for some years.
- Writing Test Required: All of these websites require you to submit a piece of writing before you are accepted as a writer, and so they can give you a grade or level. You can only accept work from this level and below. You need to have good to excellent grammar, and be able to write like an English or American native speaker.
- Necessary Qualities for Success: You need confidence, you need to be happy researching subjects to get all the information you require to write an article and you need to be able to meet the deadlines. You also need to have a bit of a thick skin sometimes to accept comments/criticism about your writing.
- PayPal Required: You need a PayPal account to get paid.
- The Process of Accepting Work: To accept work, you log onto the the website and look at the available orders for your level. You click on a title that looks interesting and you have a few minutes to read the request and see the rate of pay on offer, and then you choose whether to accept the work, or release it back into the 'pool'.
- No Bidding: You never have to accept anything and there is no bidding; you either accept it for what it is, or drop it for someone else to pick up.
- Deadlines: There are deadlines in each case—if you don't upload an article before the deadline is reached, the order is dropped back in the pool. You can't be a second late; the systems are all automated to drop an order back into the pool when the deadline is reached and nothing has been uploaded.
Can I Make a Living Writing for These Sites?
I couldn't make a full-time earning, but I make several hundred pounds a month across all three. You need more than one site to achieve this, often there is nothing you have the knowledge to write about on one site so having a choice of three or more to check helps. I think I earn about £5.00 an hour - I don't mind this as I do it from my home, when and if I like, 7 days a week if I want. But, even if there is the work available, I cannot write hour after hour. After three articles I need to walk away for a bit. I have a part-time regular job as well to make sure I have a dependable income.
Other websites require you to bid for work, they want you to offer samples of what you can do. You may get paid more, but you may not get the work at all. These three sites - Textbroker, GreatContent and Copify, have work which you can pick up, write and upload within the hour if you want. It is true that the client can 'reject' an article and you do not get paid, but this has happened twice to me altogether over the years.
Most often I get asked to tweak something and the guideline on what the client wants becomes clearer with the additional clarification. Something like, 'please can you add more about the safety features of the washing machine and remove some of the programme description' is a typical example of a product description change request. But most of the time, as long as the grammar is correct and the SEO key phrases have been captured, the clients have what they came for.
I thought I'd return to this article and update it. A year later and I only really write for Textbroker and Great Content these days. Several months ago I wrote a quick paragraph for Copify for which I was owed £1.00. That was OK in itself, but I wasn't paid for it until the auto-pay kicked in one month after I had submitted it. I waited 30 days for my £1.00 and vowed not to use them again!
Great Content upgraded me to a Level 5 writer at Christmas time, and the pay is higher. There are lots of product descriptions at this level which are quick to do once you have taken a bit of time at the beginning to master the client's style. I love these as I scatter them throughout the day, I write a few first thing, a handful in the afternoon, and a couple early evening, but the money slowly builds up to a decent total by the end of the week. I hope it remains this way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2015 Susan Hambidge
Hanibal asmelash on January 21, 2019:
I like this program
Samuel maina on August 05, 2018:
I love it
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on February 21, 2018:
Thanks Alfie - I think it has more jobs if you get higher rankings. I have been writing for them just this afternoon at Level 5.
As with all of the sites, it is hard to prove yourself when you first join as everyone tends to get entry level ranking. The trick it to keep checking every 30 mins or so, and when you get something, make sure you do your best work. If you feel you should be ranked higher after lots of good feedback from clients, drop the site a nice email asking them for pointers to improve your work. Hopefully they will just up your rank after looking a bit more carefully at you.
Alfie on February 21, 2018:
Greatcontent never has any jobs!
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on January 18, 2018:
There is a contact email address, but as I am an author on there, I have access to different parts of the site. Try looking for a 'contact us' after you have logged in and send them a charming and friendly reminder. I have found them to be helpful always.
I wish you luck.
Illiah on January 17, 2018:
Thank you for writing this post. I applied to work at GreatContent over a month ago and the site still says it’s reviewing my application (despite saying it takes 1-2 weeks). I was worried it was a scam so it’s good to know others do actually use it. Perhaps they’re snowed under due to the Xmas holiday period. I wish I could contact them to follow up but there’s no email address and I left a message on their phone system but never got a response...
Jan G - UK on September 26, 2017:
What a useful post, thank you.
Emma McEvoy on August 02, 2017:
I was very pleased to come across your review after having read many horror stories. I have another, steady job, but would like to earn a bit more and cut my teeth in the world of writing. Thanks
Jan on November 01, 2016:
Is this available if you work in Canada? I would think if they are paying in euros the conversion rate might not make this feasible? Sounds like something I would really enjoy.
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on July 22, 2016:
Thank you Scoop. I log onto Textbroker UK several times a day and like the way it works. I could be happier if the rate of pay was a tiny bit higher but apart from that, I love it too.
scoop on July 21, 2016:
Textbroker is a great site. I know there are a lot of other sites out there, but I personally think Textbroker ranks among the best.
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on May 31, 2015:
Thank you Flourish - I hear a lot of negative things about content mills but I think they have their place. I wanted to share my experiences.
FlourishAnyway from USA on May 31, 2015:
This is good because it provides specific insight into what the positive and negative features are for each site. I've heard a lot about content mills but not to this level of detail, so thanks for providing a drill-down.
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on May 20, 2015:
Thank you Thelma - Give text broker a try first as it is the easiest to work for - as you are from Germany I see, they often have German translation work on there you could have a look at. Good luck
Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 19, 2015:
A very interesting review. Thanks for sharing. I have to check those sites.