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$120 for a review like this under-paid?

     
9:38 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to get someone to write a hardware review under 600 words for my site.

Pros/Cons, Summary, Intro paragraph, Design paragraph, Performance paragraph.

Is $120 severely underpaid?

[edited by: rogerd at 1:17 am (utc) on May 24, 2004]
[edit reason] No URLs, thanks! [/edit]

1:25 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Tough question, irock, and the answer is highly dependent on who's doing the writing. An expert reviewer who's often published in major magazines might laugh at you, while an unpublished enthusiast would probably do it for free. (I've seen phenomenally detailed reviews posted in forums, written just to share with other and perhaps show off a bit.)

The main variables would be technical expertise (as related to the review), publishing history, and location (offshore would be cheaper).

Can you find a college student familiar with your topic? This kind of one-off, moderately lucrative task might be perfect.

1:35 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your feedback.

Can you find a college student familiar with your topic? This kind of one-off, moderately lucrative task might be perfect.

Forgot to point out that this is an on-going thing. So, if a guy reviews five hardware, he would get $600.

So, $120 sound pretty laughable to you, eh?

1:43 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It doesn't sound laughable to ME, irock, but then again I don't know anything about your product. ;) I've been out of magazine publishing for a while, but I'd guess the major mags pay a lot more than that for a well-respected reviewer.

OTOH, journalism is not the path to riches in most cases. I was flabbergasted when I found that some newspaper reporters don't make much more than fast food workers or store clerks. To someone like that, your deal would no doubt be attractive.

I guess one thing to ask yourself is how long a review is likely to take. If one has to set up/install a product, test out features, perhaps compare it to some familiar products, do a bit of research, and then write the review, one could be looking at a fair number of hours.

If the review process won't take long and the whole thing could be completed in an hour or two, then your rate doesn't sound bad for, say, a technical writer or freelancer. The fact that it's a repeating gig will be attractive, too.

1:51 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's really simple stuff like a webcam, dvd burner or a hard drive. The more complicated ones are MP3 players and video capture cards.

I was thinking that a person can probably finish it in like 4 hrs for the simple ones I mentioned.

4:08 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Can you afford to give them a model of what they're reviewing? Many people I know of would consider that a fine arrangement.
4:17 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So, about $0.05 a word? Lower end, but sounds reasonable, especially if it's part of a series of work.
5:28 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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MatthewHSE,

Well, if the manufacturer doesn't need devices back, I don't need them either.

5:59 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For 600 words, I charge $200. My rate is $100 per page under 5 pages.

Lisa

7:17 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, the site I run doesn't pay the reviewers. If they are reviewing gear that they already own, they get nothing. If they review manufacturer supplied gear, they get to keep the gear.

After their first few test series, pretty much everyone figures out that the "free gear" is far from free (three reviews over a 6 month testing period). But they keep at it mostly out if interest in helping people and improving the products.

I have no idea if this would work with a commercial site, but it works incredibly well for a community review site.

7:32 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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BigDave,

Does your site has a specific reviewer guideline? If I pay these people, I can enforce them into following my policy... (eg. submission deadline, write in a specific style.) Not sure though if these are important for your reviews. It seems like they just submit whenever they feel like it... Correct me if I'm wrong.

7:33 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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lisaevenson,

Do you write hardware reviews for websites and magazines?

6:00 pm on June 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Smaller magazine articles don't pay even that much. My mother has done articles for $45 - $60 in niche magazines. And she puts in WAY more than 4 hours!

If I had the time, I'd write for $120 -- plus the gear!

7:55 pm on June 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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irock,

We do have requirements for certain information that must be included in each review, but in general, we encourage that theywrite in their own style and concentrate on those features that concern them most. That is the reason that manufacturers have to supply at lest 3 different reviewers with the gear, so there can be a variety of opinions.

The main guideline is that they have to be polite and they have to justify any opinions. They cannot say "this thing is a piece of junk" or "this thing is the best" without justifying it.

Before they become qualified to get any gear to test, they have to write two reviews of gear they already own, and go through the editing process to make sure they meet our minimum standards and understand the process.

We definitely do not allow people to just upload whatever they write up the way epinions does.

I suspect that such an open model would not work in all areas, but you could certainly hand pick some volunteer reviewers that seem to be able to meet your requirements, that would be willing to work for the gear + pocket change. The enthusiasts will often turn in better reviews than any professional writer you could get.

12:19 am on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've worked a lot with reviewers. You can enforce a writing format - in fact I encourage it. It helps visitors remember your site and it does improve quality.

Whether they are paid or not reviewers should follow the basic guidelines you give them. It also helps to explain why you have the guidelines and how they contribute overall to the site's success.

I've noticed that overtime reviewers nhave improved the basic guidelines I gave them. So you have to be open to their input too.

As for paying less for shorter reviews, I disagree. Good and thorough shorter reviews take more time to write than long aimeless "commentaries." You should reward quality, not quantity.

12:47 pm on July 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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$120 + gear for four hours work seems reasonable to me. By telling potential reviewers what the gear is' you will attract people interested in the gear. So, they are more likely to write a good review. That's win-win! Another win-win incentive would be to allow the reviewer to post the review on his or her own web site. This could have a link to the magazine article thereby promoting both the writer & the magazine. Add an affiliate link to a sales page & AdSense advertising and things are looking good!
7:06 pm on July 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, but I have yet found a reviewer who's willing to do this. Sigh.
 

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