Demand Studios Forums – this post is for writers

Recently, there have been some big changes over at Demand Studios. After years of churning out staggering numbers of articles, suddenly, operations seem to be shutting down. But what’s most interesting from a read of DS and related forums is the raw anger that a whole lot of the writers express toward content editors.

Skim a DS forum and you’ll see a lot of colorful language about bashing in soft skulls with baseball bats. Shocking stuff. But if you read more, you’ll see what really generated a lot of this anger.

The equation seems to run like this: pay writers pennies. Then create an arbitrary process for approving what they write. Hire unqualified and sometimes completely idiotic people who can rule on a particular article with impunity.

This kind of system is a double whammy for writers, a potent cocktail of underemployment and disrespect. There’s the core issue of having outsiders negatively reviewing your work, and then there’s the abusive pay system that seems to actually be taking bread from your family’s mouth. It really is enough to make a lot of people really mad.

As someone who has previously spent time in the content mill trenches, I have a pretty intimate view of these issues. Even much further up the line, there’s the issue of arbitrary, unfair and sometimes extremely stupid reviews from an editor…to be fair, this doesn’t happen nearly as often outside of content mill territory.

The bottom line is that the demise of Demand Media, or should we say, the “change” shows just how transient a lot of work is in the digital realm. That’s all the more reason for individuals to “work their way up” through effective outreach that proves their worth, rather than laboring in what amounts to a twenty first century sweatshop. On the other hand, many of these people are parents and breadwinners, without a lot of time and money to put into a “new business strategy”…at the very least, there should be some kind of network where these embattled providers can talk to each other and maybe hash out a better way forward….boycotting content mills would be a start. For more, check out Angela Hoy’s awesome blog “Writers Weekly” which includes warnings on unethical shops and more.

Inefficient Platforms

It seems like a lot of companies, from small retailers to large project sourcing firms, are slow to realize that the functionality of a platform makes a huge difference in any online project. What happens, more often than not, is that project managers shift the burden of access, data entry, etc. onto freelancers, which cuts down their revenue and can ultimately stall out a project.

I’ve seen great business initiatives work on WordPress, Joomla, and other platforms, and I’ve seen others fail spectacularly using the same technologies. When it comes to self-built custom environments, the best companies try to engineer them for a user-friendly result. If they’re not built this way, the whole thing can collapse as the ‘posters’, freelancers who get paid by the word, get frustrated with the time-sucking requirements for delivery. This is where having experienced freelancers, and listening to them, can help a business build a good, effective web site and not a fiasco.

Making Bankruptcy Law Readable

In the past, Local Citizen has worked with a lot of bankruptcy lawyers offering various services to the public. One of the principles that we work on is explaining bankruptcy and related legal aspects in a clear and straightforward way to a broad spectrum of readers. In general, bankruptcy is a practice area that can become drab and technical: the challenge is to engage readers and make this a vibrant kind of outreach in the same way that some of the more colorful personal injury practice areas are much more suited for. Talk to us about how to bring more readership to your bankruptcy and financial law practice to really stand out from the crowd.

Insurance News at InsureMe.com

Though it’s been going through somewhat of a hiatus for the last couple of months, the InsureMe site has a lot of my work on it. The site can be a resource for some of the other firms partnering with Local Citizen: after all, at the heart of the insurance industries mentioned in these articles is the principle of risk assessment. I encourage those who are thinking about working with Local Citizen to take a look through the many of their articles available on the site n auto insurance, home insurance, and other kinds of insurance policies and changes within the insurance industry as a whole. This Bankrate/CreditCards.com property represents a quality site dedicated to informing consumers and educating readers about some of the most recent changes to state insurance systems and multi-state insurance markets.