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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >     
Content writers all seem to follow a code
Automotive site

 11:48 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

It does not seem to matter whether you pay a writer $10 or $20+ for an article, they all seem to produce content that is very similar. Its like as if they follow a guideline on how to write web content.

I have used upward of 30 writers I think over the last 5 years and in that time two have been what I would describe excellent writers who produce really compelling and engaging content. Unfortunately, one charges $10 per 100 words so had to give up on her after only a few articles (couldn't justify the cost of paying between $50 to $100 for an article of 500 to 1000 words). She is from the States and writes for fairly large sites. I am sure she makes 10s of thousands of dollars a month writing. There is no need for her to bring down her price for me as she is already highly established.

The second writer is equally as good and charges $20 irrespective of the length (be it 500 words or 1000+ words). He can do this because he is from India where cost of living is obviously lower. But he has his hands tied and can only do a max of around 20 articles a month.

I use two other writers and they are both much inferior (both American actually).

I need a second high-quality writer on board but can't seem to find one (unless you are willing to pay prices that wouldn't really make sense for a regular site owner such as myself). Like I say, they all seem to follow the same pattern of writing. There is no character in the writing. Its all descriptive rather than analytical.



 1:18 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its all descriptive rather than analytical.

There's your answer. Descriptive is easy to write and doesn't require in-depth knowledge of a topic/product.

Analytical is a different kettle of fish, requiring some experience of the subject - it's the experience you are paying for, not the number of words.


 1:19 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

It does not seem to matter whether you pay a writer $10 or $20+ for an article

Isn't that like saying "I bought a used car for $100 and another one for $200 and they were both equally unreliable". Yes, they're both in the super lower end, don't expect much.

I am sure she makes 10s of thousands of dollars a month writing.

Maybe she makes a decent living but I doubt she's rich. More like you're really underestimating the time and effort required for writing a real article.


 1:29 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Writing content is very time consuming, so web content writers do not make a lot of money.


 1:42 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Those that do really analytical stuff have days if not weeks to write a story. That means $$. For $10 what do you expect, seriously.


 1:59 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

You appear to have misplaced a decimal point.

What hourly rate do you consider reasonable for writers? How long do you believe it takes to write a thousand-word article (four double-spaced pages, for those who still think in those terms)? Not just time at the keyboard; you need to include all research, including the amortized value of any knowledge that the writer already happens to possess.


 2:47 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

You want to pay mickeyD prices for writers ?..you'll get mickeyD quality ..insubstantial, ersatz pap on a page..

Or, to put it another way ..wanna pay peanuts..expect monkey crap.

A $100.oo for a good article is dirt cheap, maybe you are forgetting that she too has to eat , pay taxes, research, write, and run her business..and she is the one with the talent !..

btw ..the math that you "assumed" to get "10s of thousands per month" ?

Lets say that she can write 1000 words in an an afternoon ..( lets give her no time to research, answer the phone, take a leak, nothin', just pure writing , no corrections and typos even )..So she could make $100.oo in an afternoon ..in say 4 hours..

So to make a $1000.oo ..she'd have to work for 40 hours 'cos 25x40 = 1000 ..so to make $10,000 she'd have to work,( no breaks, no typos, no leaks , no meals, etc etc ..for 25x40x10 = 400 hours per month )..now if you gave her Sundays off ..she'd have to work for over 15 hours straight everyday..to make $10,000.oo

Maybe Saturdays off instead..who knows what religion she might be ..same figures..

So maybe a half a day a week for shopping to buy the food that she'll have no time to eat ..

She'd then have to work for nearly 17 hours a day..never leave the keyboard ..except to sleep..

Thinking about paying "talent" for what someone can do and what they know ..and doing the actual math as to their potential earnings, might help you understand better ..

real talent charges what it does..because slavery was abolished.."outsourcing to India etc" is trying to bring it back, by hiding it further away..if everyone that made websites was outsourced ( maybe even regular site owners :) then where would we be ..

oh yeah ..ehow


 7:20 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Content writers all seem to follow a code

I hate the way everybody always generalizes.

Automotive site

 8:27 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Her making at least $10K is not out of the question. She probably charges even higher rates with larger sites and to Clickbank vendors - who require top notch sales pages. Also, she is highly experienced and her turnaround time is pretty fast.

I don't think $25 is cheap and you will find at those rates there would be a huge number of writers queuing up even in the West. How much does Demand Media pay their writers? I heard most make around $15 to $20 per article. And whilst most content on there is not great, it is by no means garbage.

And paying someone in India $20 per article is certainly not slavery. Twenty bucks is equivalent to at least $50 or more, considering the general cost of living is much lower there. In fact, a few weeks I offered him an incentive to do 40 articles a month (instead of the current 20) by offering to increase his rate quite significantly, but he couldn't. I think he is a Masters student so has commitments.

Automotive site

 8:37 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I hate the way everybody always generalizes"

From my experience that's been the case. The writing style is very similar in most cases. Its like as if there are guidelines out there on web content writing and they all follow it.

As a matter of fact, from my experience, writers in the West are worst offenders. I have used several writers from India and they seem try harder to please you and try to return work to you according to the way specified. This could be because $20 goes a lot further in India than does in the West, and actually represents a fairly good living there.


 10:36 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

The big problem is that any writer who knows how to write articles that will make you money also knows how to make money via his own website. He will not work for less than he'd expect to make himself - why would he? The days of the uninformed exploitable are over. Once past the initial hump of "desperately needing cash," a web content writer becomes well tooled to be his own entrepreneur.

That, of course, is a generalization, as many good writers are as yet unaware that they're just a couple of steps away from being successful webmasters, too. But that's changing.

I have this weird vision of the future where it's not just entrepreneurs who hire writers and website designers, but writers who hire website designers and entrepreneurs and designers who hire writers and the vision people...in this fearful new world, it's hard to see who's going to end up exploiting whom, hmmm?


 11:13 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

How much does Demand Media pay their writers? I heard most make around $15 to $20 per article. And whilst most content on there is not great, it is by no means garbage.

Isn't that the whole point of Panda? To devalue $15 articles out there that pollute the web with quantity over quality?


 11:45 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I hate the way everybody always generalizes" was meant to be a joke.

The statement is an oxymoron.

Sadly, I must explain the linguistic humor.


 11:50 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Everybody (generalizing) has different overheads, even if you're in the same town. The rate someone charges to write a piece can and will vary considerably, so there is no set rule.

One person's view of the value of $20 is a lot different from another, yet it's still $20. That's the same on the buying side as well as the selling side.

No doubt, a fully researched article will take longer to compile, and if it's well written, too, it'll be a much more interesting piece. The extra time involved should cost more. If it doesn't, i'd be higly suspect that it wasn't fully researched.

I know some people that just want copy for their web pages. They don't want to pay anything for it, either. How are their web pages likely to stand out? The short answer is they won't.

On the other hand, I know some that will pay top $$ and their websites are compelling, original and captivate readers.

It's always worth considering what you want from a site. Is it a MFA, is it a scraper, is it a 'destination' rich in interesting and educational?

Either end of the market is fine and each site will have its place.


 12:20 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

and having used oxymoron,
in your expression of regret,
you may well have to explain ..

as you say..sad.

Mark 4:5..Matthew 13:5


 1:18 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)


My education was less wholesome -- I grew up reading, (yes actually reading), the Unabashed Dictionary definitions in Playboy's humor pages. One that always stuck in my mind had to do with a "cunning linguist" [being good with his tongue].


 6:17 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

paying someone in India $20 per article is certainly not slavery. Twenty bucks is equivalent to at least $50 or more

There you go with the decimal points again. At current exchange rates, it's more like $500.

$10,000/month = $2500/week = $60/hour for a 40-hour workweek. (Sorry, can't remember where the "approximately equals" sign lives on this keyboard. Will someone pay me for the time to research it?) So $10 = in the vicinity of 10 minutes.

Yes, it is physically possible to crank out 100 words in ten minutes, provided you don't take time to research, proofread or any other allied activity. Say, the literary level of your average Forums post. You owe me ten dollars.

Now, where's that <fe>markup</fe>?

Automotive site

 7:17 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)


$20 is not equivalent to $500 in India. There is a difference between exchange rate and the value of currency. $20 is certainly not equivalent to $500 there, more like $50 to $70, maybe a bit more, but certainly far less than $500.

Heck, if exchange rate was proportional to the actual value of a currency, a few million dollars will probably get you a billion Japanese Yen, in which case as soon as someone becomes a millionaire in the US, he would fly out to Japan and swap his millionaire lifestyle overnight for that of a billionaire.

If not happy being a billionaire, why not a trillionaire? You would probably need only a few million dollars to become a trillionaire in Zimbabawe.

Automotive site

 7:24 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)



 7:44 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Average wage in India is around slightly less than $2.75 per day taken per capita ..which means that very very many make less than this as the calculation includes the Indian billionaires and millionaires and in fact all Indians..

The average Indian in fact is making nearer $1.oo per day..so would make about $30.oo per month ..so yes $20.oo is over 60% of the average Indian salary..if the average USA salary is in the range of a minimum of $2000.oo per month ..then indeed $20.oo US to an Indian is worth even more than the $500.oo that Lucy proposed as a value..

In fact $20.oo to an average Indian is about equivalent to $1300.oo ' like for like"..

A technically skilled worker Indian working in an "outsourced" call centre for example or on IT support for "outsourced overseas" makes around RS 54 K = around $1500.oo per month..these people are usually IT or other tech studies graduates or final year students graduates..filling in in vacation..

Their parents however may be making much closer to the per capita figure of $2.75 per day ..so $20.oo is a lot of money to them ...unless their parents are rich ..in which case they are unlikely to be working writing copy for foreign webmasters..

Other people's shoes are usually uncomfortable to wear..but stepping into them, even briefly can help you keep a sense of proportion..

Normal economic maths no longer applies in Zimbabwe..you would need far far less than a million dollars to be the equivalent of a trillionaire in Zimbabwe..being a friend of Mugabe works for example.


 8:11 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

:: detour to Times of India with exercise of heroic self-control to keep from proceeding directly to Matrimonial Ads ::

I looked in the Mumbai area, where the cost of living is high by Indian standards. Most, predictably, are coy about salary. But here's one for a Windows IIS Admin:
Designation: Sr. Windows IIS Admin
Experience: 3yrs+
Salary:- 4 L per annum
Skills:- Candidate should have around 3 year exp in Windows Server and IIS Ver 5.0 and 6.0. He should have...

400,000Rs. at current exchange rates is less than $10,000 US. In buying power, it's closer to $400,000.

Here's another, barely past entry level:
Enterprise Support, Engineer / Voice & Non Voice Process. knowledge in Windows Sever (DNS,DHCP,ADS) MCP/ MCSE with 6 months exp in an International Tech support process with real time exp preferred. Immediate...
Salary Range : Rs. 2,00,000 - 3,00,000 p.a.

Same math. Want to sell life insurance? I found one at Rs. 2,50,000 - 4,50,000 p.a. But that's with 2-7 years experience.

(The commas are not typos. A lakh is 100,000, written 1,00,000. A crore is 10 million. I did not find any job listings in crores-- something over $220,000 US. I will not insult anyone's intelligence by translating "per annum".)

Automotive site

 8:23 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

You probably think everyone is dirt poor in India. Things have changed greatly in the last two decades. Today, $100K will only buy you a semi-decent 2 bedroom house in Mumbai, Delhi and other major cities in that country, and that's not even in the posh areas. In fact, Mumbai is right up there along with cities like London, Tokyo, New York in terms of property prices.

The country is soon to surpass Japan as the world's third richest nation in PPP. The world around us is changing a lot faster than we think, even if some of us are completely oblivious to them.

I can tell you for certain that $20 is not the equivalent to $1300. It may be in exchange rate (you may get 1300 Rupees for $20), but no way would $20 stretch to $1300 in terms of direct equivalent value, not even close I don't think.


 8:27 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm using 2011 figures ..and trade with and have friends in India, they confirm my figures..

Automotive site

 8:38 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you seriously trying to tell me I can fly over to India and spend $20 to buy PC that costs $1300 in the US? There is no chance $20 will be equivalent to $1300 in buying power there.


 10:00 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Today, $100K will only buy you a semi-decent 2 bedroom house in Mumbai, Delhi and other major cities in that country, and that's not even in the posh areas. In fact, Mumbai is right up there along with cities like London, Tokyo, New York in terms of property prices.

You can buy a house in Tokyo or New York for $100,000 US?

:: insert jaw-dropping-with-astonished-disbelief emoticon ::


 10:20 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you seriously trying to tell me I can fly over to India and spend $20 to buy PC that costs $1300 in the US? There is no chance $20 will be equivalent to $1300 in buying power there.

No..because all things are not priced relatively the same , in any country ..

For example, the current real estate value of apartments in Paris is around $1300.oo per square foot, in the not so sought after areas,and without taking into account views etc ..the base rate ..

But IT and tech goods are only 20% more than the US price ..and 10% lower than the UK price ..I know this because I'm DSLR shopping ..again..and comparing ..

Yet houses where I am, 250 miles west of Paris..are less than one third the UK price..and right by the sea like ours ..less than one quarter the price of houses across the channel in Cornwall or Devon, within sound and sight of the sea and less than 2 minutes walk from the waves, your "classic French fishing village" slate roofs white walls and all.

Food is 10% cheaper here than in the UK ..and 10% to 20% dearer than in Paris..

$100,000.oo won't even buy you a bedsit 3 kliks from the centre of Paris..and won't buy you a parking space for a mini in an underground garage 2 kliks from the Eiffel tower.


 10:56 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

But he has his hands tied and can only do a max of around 20 articles a month.

Why not ask if he has any friends who can write near his level?


 12:35 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thread has been sidetracked with a non-issue: income/fees to writers, their lives, country, etc.

The reason why all these article writers SEEM SO SIMILAR is (think about it: in 20 words or less describe your product: grape) there's only so many ways to write about anything (grape), or how to use it (grape), what it might smell like (grape), taste (grape), feel (grape), weigh (grape), exist at room temperature (grape), or last (grape), rhyme (grape), travel (grape), enter into finance (grape), get the drift? (grape... whoops, that was one grape too many!)

ARTICLES are what they are... product descriptions are generally NOT articles. Reviews (by definition) are not articles. Fiction and poetry also have nothing in common with articles. News reports, on the other hand, might be articles from time to time. Editorial opinion is almost always an article (short one). The stringing of words together in any language to convey an intelligence... that is writing. Some have a greater gift for gab than others... and others don't even bother, but are wiiling to pay someone else to do what they might... if they tried.

No disrespect to either paid writers or those who pay them, merely an observation of how it works and the LIMITATIONS on EXPECTATIONS for either side. If one really desires HIGH QUALITY RESULTS, expect to pay premium rates. If the bar is lowered, 1) I'll only pay this much or 2) minimum standards are all that's required, then that's the end product (writing) one obtains.

Me? I'm a webmaster who writes his own stuff... I also moonlight as a writer for other websites, and am also (ahem) an old time printed on dead tree novelist and occasional reviewer for a couple of national magazines in a variety (but limited to my knowledge and expertise) subjects. All of those hats are fun to wear, but I only wear them one at a time. :)


 1:11 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

income/fees to writers, their lives, country,

Was exactly what was in the OP by the OP..;-)

With respect tangor , the only one who mentioned 20 words was you in your first post in a 28 post thread , having shown your straw man, you then attribute him to the thread ..and then destroy him ..eloquently certainly ..but he is and was all yours ..you brung 'im wiv ya guv, ee wasn't ere before ;-)

With the exception of the OP , the rest of us in the thread are like yourself , we write all our own material, and occasionally write for others, on or off the innertubes..or for direct non internet sale ( dead tree )..on many subjects and in many styles and in at least the case of two of us in other languages.

The Op complains that he cant afford to pay for quality, and bemoans the sameness of what he does get from the writers that he can afford, we are trying to get him to understand that the quality writers cannot afford to work for what he will pay, he must adjust his budget, their costs are fixed, or their time is limited.

btw ..I just switched on an English spell checker, and apart from the fact that it can't spell licence or colour etc ..it also says that write should be written as either wrote or rite !..

You guys over the water changed basic spelling again or what ?


 1:50 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

leosghost, I love you dearly, but you missed the point. You sometimes do, but I won't hold that against you). Paid writers, especially for newspapers, radio, tv, film, websites, are of a general mold... but where those writers reside, or how far that bit of income they receive enhances their lives... has nothing to do with the commonality of pay-for-hire COPY writers* and their body of work or work ethic or skills.

I see we ultimately say the same thing "we are trying to get him to understand", and salutes to you and all others in the thread for attempting to do the same. Just chose a different path to illustrate exactly why we get the same old krap from Tom, Dick, and Harry regardless of pay... there's only so many ways one can cover the same subject. The way to avoid that is to have a different subject than anyone else, such as inventing a better mouse trap...

Check your "English" spell checker for origin. There's "US/American English" and "UK/British English" and there's quite a difference between them. Last time I looked, we (on the West Side of the Pond) switched extra vowel use and spelling back in 1776. :)

*Not to be confused with copyright(er) as a COPY WRITER is one who writes copy for either advertising, announcements, general information, or specifications.

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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