An Insider’s View of TextBroker.com

96 Comments

We received a tip about TextBroker.com on our freelance writing jobs directory page. Halina, who had signed up for TextBroker after reading the comment, has offered to share her experiences since joining the program. Here they are.

I’ve been writing freelance for two years now, starting with Helium, then moving on to Associated Content, Constant Content, and lately, Textbroker.com. I’ve also written articles for my company and even submitted a few pieces to local Madison newspapers. The pay has been decent but nothing for which I would quit my day job. At this moment, I’ve made over $1400 on Associated Content, about $400 on Constant Content, and exactly $10.87 since joining Textbroker two days ago.

I initially discovered Textbroker because of a comment about it on www.ivetriedthat.com. I decided to give the site a try and signed up. Textbroker requires that you submit a writing sample in order to be assigned an author star rating of 2-5, with 2 stars being considered average, 3 stars good, and 4 stars excellent writing ability. The 5 star rating is reserved for professional writers, and I’m not sure how one obtains that qualification.

Within the same day, I received my author rating of 4 stars. This allowed me to claim and submit articles asking for writing quality of 2-4 stars. The higher one’s star rating, the more one is paid per word, so it pays to submit your best writing sample. Currently, my pay is 1.5 cents per word.

My first submission was accepted within 12 hours of submission and paid me $4.90 for about 400 words. The next day, I submitted another article, which was also quickly accepted and paid $5.88. I then received two DirectOrders, which is when clients request that you write for them specifically. I have since submitted one DirectOrder, which was then returned to me for editing. I re-submitted the article today. Should I have the latest article accepted, I will make up to $6.00 (the article is 400 words).

Textbroker will also evaluate your accepted articles and assign them a rating. The better your articles, the higher your rating and payment per word.

That I like most about Textbroker is that you do not have to write long articles. Many client requests are for 150-250 word articles. Coupled with the higher than average payment per word, that means I can easily turn out 2-3 articles in one evening and make a quick $15 or so. What I don’t like about Textbroker is that you need to wait a long time for payout; the site pays everyone only once monthly, on the 10th of the month.

This post was written by Halina. When not hunting out money-making opportunities online, Halina can be found making money on Associated Content at the following site: Associated Content.

There's only ONE program I really recommend. It's my favorite way to generate quick and easy money online. Click here to see how you can start earning today.

96 Comments

  1. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Hello Krusyos,
    Thank you for your comment. Wow, this entire post is certainly a blast from the past for me. You see, I started out by writing on content mill sites like Textbroker. However, at this point in time, I steer clear of them for several reasons.

    If I were starting all over again as a writer and just wanted to make a few bucks, then yeah, I’d try out Textbroker. However, because of the many limitations of Textbroker, I’d also try a few other things, like guest posting on paid blogs, starting my own blog, and even pitching to young adult magazines.

    You see, Textbroker might give you experience in writing as well as a little money, but you won’t get the clips that writers depend on when pitching real world clients for real world writing rates. So I’m on the fence about whether Textbroker is the best way to spend your time.

    If you’d like to know more, just let me know- and good luck to you!

    Reply
  2. I’m a teenager who wants to be a freelance/online writer for a career when I graduate from high school. Do you think that TextBroker is a good starting point where I can hone my writing skills, get experience in the field, and make a few bucks on the side for coffee and music? Would you recommend another site instead? I’m a homeschooled student, and due to my flexible schedule, I can probably be writing all day.

    Reply
  3. In my opinion, Constant Content, Yahoo!Voices and Skyword have very little in common with Textbroker. I’ve worked with Textbroker for five years, first as a writer and now as an editor outsourcing the writing. I like Textbroker because it’s very easy to use as both a writer and an editor. There’s always work at Textbroker, even if it’s just a few bucks. It keeps you busy, anyway.

    I find that Skyword is good if you can make it a priority. The nice thing about Textbroker is that if you start a piece and realize you can’t make the deadline, you just put it back. No harm, no foul. With Skyword, you have an editor to answer to.

    I was accepted to write for Purina through Skyword, but when I read the style guide, I had to back out. They had ridiculous requirements like not referring to pets as if they were human. In my mind, treating my cat as well as I treat my kids is half the joy in ownership. Without the emotional connection in the writing, it would have been too boring to write.

    On another Skyword client, I found a similar restriction. They wanted me to write about depression and drug abuse without mentioning medications. That’s silly. Psychiatric treatment for these disorders is a vital part of the conversation and that requires talking about medications. Anyway, that’s why I don’t write for Skyword, although they do pay well compared to others. I also received strong support from my editor and understand that the client controls the restrictions, not Skyword. Their assignments just didn’t work for me.

    Constant Content takes way too big a cut (35% commission) and requires a strong sense of what will sell if you want to succeed there. I’m still struggling to figure out why some of my posts get thousands of readers and others get a handful. I just don’t have the intuition needed to make a strong living there.

    Yahoo!Voices pays too little. I get a few dollars a month for the 44 pieces I wrote for them when they were Associated Content, although admittedly, I was paid upfront for a small number of them (something like $6 each). I like that Yahoo! has stayed true to AC’s original format. But there are a limited number of topics available.

    As far as other sites to write for, here’s the list that I started out with: http://www.killfive.com/extra-buck-or-two/(sorry the site’s been languishing. I’m too busy writing). Now I work exclusively with my own clients and use Textbroker to outsource the writing when needed.

    My advice for success: Try everything.

    I just kept trying different writing sites until I found my stride. If you throw enough different things at a wall, eventually one of them sticks!

    Eventually, I found my own client base, a little at a time. Sometimes, they see your writing somewhere and contact you. Other times, you find job ads on sites like Guru or Craigslist (be cautious with that one). I answered one ad and after 4 or 5 months, I figured it was a no-go. They just contacted me for a gig at my full standard rate. So, you just never know.

    Expect a full year before you can do this full time and still pay the bills. Good luck!

    Reply
  4. Hi Frank,
    Thanks for your comment. Sites similar to Textbroker include Constant-Content.com and Yahoo! Voices. These were the other sites I wrote for before quitting and taking on private clients. I’ve also heard that Skyword pays a pretty decent rate for content. I hope this helps!

    Reply
  5. Frank Grayson says:

    I am interested in Textbroker, but I would also like to know what “other” sites some of the commenters here are talking about that are “so much better” than Textbroker. Or are there any?

    Reply
  6. Jacquelyn Roberts says:

    What grammar tips can you give for writing for Textbroker? I am comfortable with AP style, which is what we use at the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and I have learned a bit of the Chicago style while preparing for credential tests for Cloud Crowd. TB states that they want AP, which for me is encouraging, but the post above that talks about a distain for dashes, and more recent comments about grammar concerns makes me wonder what I am going to need to avoid, or to use. I’ll appreciate any guidance. Thanks – Jacquelyn

    Reply
  7. I totally agree. Grammar is a moving target. I just researched this recently and came across several grammar books that all agree less is more. http://www.killfive.com/5-killer-grammar-books-bore-death/

    Some rules are just outdated. They should be using the American Heritage application of grammar, not the Oxford, which is better for stuffy research papers, not the web!

    Reply
  8. I started on text brokers in late July and have made close to $400. I get excellent reviews from the clients. I have been dropped from a level 4 to a level 3 for alleged grammatical errors. I was a newspaper reporter for 16 years and PR director of a trade group for 22 years. I do make errors. However, I find some of their “corrections” to be very arbitrary. I am going to stay with them for a while. I try to write at least one story a day, but the topics that are sometimes offered are not my style. I do not bother with stories that are going to pay less than $5. When I was level 4, my threshold was $7. Good grammar is a necessity, but good content is also necessary. I do not believe any credit is given to content. Furthermore, they do not understand research. I have paraphrased copy from websites while giving the web address and been accused of plagiarism. The staff is not very encouraging. By, the way, I use a grammar checker called White Smoke and will run the copy through the program several times, but Textbroker always finds something, thus proving that the application of the rules of grammar involves some subjectivity.

    Reply
  9. I am a 3 star writer for TB, and I make $30-$55 a day. The hint I want to give out to the new writers is don’t except any project that you can’t understand! If the instructions given are 2-3 paragraphs long for a 200 word article, don’t wast your time. Set a goal for how many articles or how much money you want to make and stick to it. You have to see this kind of work in a business mindset, meaning if you understand the assignment take it rather you like it or not! Good Luck!!! (;

    Reply
  10. Hi Amy. I’s stick with the level 3 rating for now and write a few articles for Textbroker clients that were of superior quality. Assuming your editors would rate you at Level 4 or better, you could then write Textbroker and ask for a re-evaluation. That’s how I initially got into being a Level 5 writer. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  11. I have recently registered with textbroker, but I must confess I find the website a bit of a maze. I have been given a rating of 3 which took a really long time to receive and I must confess I am disappointed. My ‘audition’ article was well written and I worked very hard to make sure it was technically perfect. I have now discovered that all assignments available require a level 4 rating or higher which has left me rather useless. I have tried to add a writing sample or two in the hope that this might improve my rating but I am not sure if the site is even accepting them: The text has just gone faint and I keep seeing ‘textbroker verifies’ on the left hand side. Does anyone have any hints how I might proceed?

    Reply
  12. I tried Textbroker and wrote 21 articles. The rating system is obscure and tardy. Good luck getting a prompt rating of your work. I’ve written professionally for over 20 years and was rated at only 2 stars. Without current and timely feedback, it is impossible improve ones rankings.

    On a positive note, all my customers were happy with my efforts and some requested my services for additional assignments.

    If you are looking for a paying hobby, there are other sites such as Interact Media snf The Content Authority to name a couple.

    I do not recommend Textbroker due to their inability to provide realtime rankings and feedback.

    Reply
  13. Hi Lynal, Thanks for your comment. Funny coincidence- I was just looking at Textbroker over this weekend and marveling at how much work and research the clients wanted for the amount of pay (although you can adjust your personal rates). You’re right; for what is required, you’re better off getting your own clients. At least that way you get clips.

    Reply
  14. The low pay isn’t really worth selling your own words, time searching, and hard. It’s ok for a person thats just beginning freelancing work.

    Reply
  15. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Hi Eric, Thanks much for your comments. I’ve been writing professionally for several years now and never took a writing course in my life. My degrees are in genetics and microbiology, not English. With that said, I do brush up on my writing and grammar skills almost daily. If I don’t know how a certain grammar rule works, I look it up. Having done this on an almost daily basis now, I get really riled up when I hear statements like “15 items or less” or “this data shows”. Heh!

    Formal writing education isn’t a bad idea; however, I don’t feel that you need to pay for it at this point. There is a lot of good information out on the Web now and many free e-courses, e-books, etc. If you plan on writing long-term and picking up high-pay assignments, you could take some free writing courses to improve your writing and give you some confidence.

    You can also check out other freelance writing blogs like The Renegade Writer and Make A Living Writing. I hope this helps!

    Reply
  16. Hi:

    Thanks for responding. You won’t believe this, but I am also a proud owner of Stylewriter. I used it briefly to assist me in college with writing term papers. Stylewriter was my best friend in college :-) It had to be the best invention for independent freelance writers who do not have an editor to assist.

    Thank you for the encouraging words. I agree that it does take self descipline to meet the deadlines of all writing material. I have been fortunate to accept independent projects to help colleagues of mine that have time constraints that I have successfully completed before the deadline. I have never been the type of person to be counterproductive; I think writing would be an excellent opportunity.

    I always thought becoming a professional writer would require me to go back to college to earn a degree in English. One classmate advised me that wiriting is one of those fields where ongoing learning is endless. Words to the English language are still being added. I guess you can say that I have always wanted to be that person who they say who has a way with words :-) I have been told that before, but I know that there is still so much more to learn about writing. It is a fortunate industry that a person can enter a writing career without knowing everything about the role.

    I have hopes of starting to receive small writing gigs so that I can develop my writing career portfolio/samples.

    Again, I appreciate your kind words and I hope that I can continue to visit your website for suggestions and advise in writing :-)

    Best Regards,

    Eric

    Reply
  17. Yes, you absolutely should! Take it from a woman whose former employer publicly announced that she wrote like a “retarded monkey.” There were sour grapes behind it, but after a year or two of success, I wasn’t about to let it bug me. In total, I’ve been at this almost 5 years. I haven’t had to look for a client in 3 years… they find me.

    Use the web to help you answer those pesky grammar questions. I learned to kick passive voice in the butt by using Stylewriter. It’s expensive, but really did the trick to kill a rotten habit that is very bad for your writing career. Here are the most important things you need to learn to succeed:

    Use active voice, in clear, easy to grasp language. (Up to three instances of passive voice in an article is okay. Sometimes it’s unavoidable.)
    Keep paragraphs a maximum of four sentences.
    Avoid run-on sentences.
    Use a header in bold to break up every paragraph or two, making the article scannable.
    Check your facts.
    Use information sources anyone would trust. When in doubt, don’t use it.

    Finally, use the spelling and grammar checker in Word, setting options to look for passive voice and other grammar problems that plague you. Then use another spell checker, and then a third. Unless you use a proofreader / editor, it’s the only way to avoid mistakes.

    I use Word, then After the Deadline, then http://www.microspell.com. After all that, I let articles sit for an hour and then go back in to read them with fresh eyes before sending them to the clients. Spelling and grammar errors are embarrassing for a professional writer, and we writing on the web don’t have the luxury of on-staff editors.

    For the first year or two, you should not make this your full-time job. You’ll write for pennies in the beginning. It takes a good year or two before you can develop a strong portfolio and command better pay.

    I really hope you decide to give it a go. Writing has given me the freedom to be a mom first and a worker second. I set my own hours and work from a recliner.

    One word of caution… If you are bad at motivating yourself to get things done without a boss looking over your shoulder, this job is not for you. It’s too easy to blow off a day to do what you want. Unless you care deeply about your clients and getting them what they need on time, you won’t succeed.

    Good luck to you!

    Reply
  18. Hi Hilana:

    Reading your post has encouraged me to pursue freelance writing online as second source of income. Before I get into that, I want to ask you a question–should a person like me who considers themselves to be a “non-professional writer” enter the profession? I don’t consider myself a writer simply because I think that there is still alot about writing that I do not know and that I need to conquer. Even as a college graduate, I feel the need to take a writer’s course to enhance my writing abilities. What advise could you give to a rookie writer like me who wants to enter the field of writing, but one who is still not quite content and comfortable in their writing abilities?

    Sometimes I second guess myself with word usage and punctuation–“Should I place a semi-colon here? Should I add more to this sentence because it appears to be a fragment? Am I writing to the level of the audience that may be reading my literature? Am I writing at a level too low that the audience may feel that I am imcompetent? Am I saying too much? Am I saying too little?”–these are the questions that are going through my mind while writing.

    I was speaking with a colleague of mind and asked if it would be a good investment for myself to take a writing course. She sincerely responded with an answer indicating that a writing class may not improve my ability because I have my own unique writing style and it may not be beneficial for me.

    I wanted to get advise from a professional writer in the field who may be able to guide me in right direction.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely and Best Regards,

    Eric

    Reply
  19. Hi Gracey, I certainly understand where you’re coming from with respect to writing on the cheap. To be fair, after I started writing for Textbroker I did move up rather quickly to the 5-Star Author status where one is paid 5 cents/word. This made my writing more worthwhile. I also had a few private clients find me through my work at Textbroker. However, the assignments that go through Textbroker are seen only by the site’s clients. Once you submit a piece, it’s gone and only the client knows that it was ghost written. Furthermore, you can raise your per word rate with Textbroker if you’re not happy with the rate that the site assigns to you. Lately, Textbroker has been opening up its orders to higher paying clients; I’ve even seen some Team Orders command as much as 30 cents/word or higher. The site is full of possibility and a great way to get started as a freelance writer.

    Reply
  20. Don’t whore yourself by writing for a penny a word. No legitimate editor will respect you or give you real work if they find out you write for outfits like this. Get a job on a weekly newspaper–and work your way up.

    Reply
  21. Textbroker is basically where I got my start in freelance writing. They have some issues now … I know that many people believe it’s no longer a great option, but at the time I started writing there doing so gave me the confidence to branch out into other things.

    Reply

Leave a Reply