What: Write for pay

Expected pay: 5 cents to 10 cents per word

Husl $core: $$

Where: National

Commissions & Fees: NA

Requirements: a computer; some topic expertise; and the ability to write with proper grammar and syntax

Review: Everyone wants to have a website in the digital age and web gurus will tell you that if you want that site to show up in Google search, you’ll need to constantly add to it by “blogging.” The challenge for many a professional is that, while they may be brilliant at their day job, they’re not natural writers. Content mills, such as Scripted, offer an answer. Claiming to provide a bridge between businesses that need ghostwriters and the freelancers, who can do the work, Scripted says it can produce blog posts for $39 to $98 each. The problem for the people writing those posts is there’s an editor and a whole corporate structure (at Scripted) between you and that payment, which means you’re only going to get a fraction of that amount — somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $50. That’s not much for a 300-500 word piece that might require research.

Indeed, it’s the rare writer who can kick out copy fast enough to make this pay at even minimum wage levels. If you’re using this site to develop your writing skills and a personal clientele, it may make sense to spend whatever time is necessary to create a portfolio good enough to land you better-paying jobs in the future. But using Scripted as a long-term source of income is a ticket to Povertyville. In the interest of full disclosure, our editor, Kathy Kristof, attempted to sign up for Scripted to see what kind of jobs they were offering to freelancers (which is also how we got detailed information about many other opportunities when sites hid details, like the rate of pay workers could expect.) Her application was quickly rejected. If you Google her, you’ll understand why we found that funny.)

You can find real writing jobs at ProBlogger and FreelanceWriting.com.

What their writers say: 

Some of the most descriptive reviews of working for Scripted came in response to a post called Scripted and the Continuing Death of Good Writing at Stunt and Gimmicks. It’s long, but worth a read, if you’re considering work with a content mill. 

“For a standard blog post of 350-500 words, you’ll normally get paid between $22-25, and for a long post, $29/30 typically. As a writer for Scripted, I always put in the same amount of work as I would when writing for newspaper articles with my byline on them. Sometimes I wonder if all the effort is worth it. “

“When I got into freelance writing in 2007 I was scraping up whatever I could find and taking whatever pay was being offered. I did use some of the sites you mentioned, and a few others you didn’t.

However, still the same stuff. Same crap pay for killing yourself. I used my brief time on those sites to help build out a portfolio of actual work aside the other “fake” pieces I did for sample purposes. I got the hell away from those sites as quickly as I could. I used my own writing to market my business so after about 8 months, the bulk of my clients were coming through organic search. I didn’t have to touch those freelance sites for years unless I wanted to fill a pocket of empty time…It’s a bit like playing the part of Conan on the labor wheel while someone whips at you.”

from Glassdoor:

“Very rarely any work. You can usually pick up one or two gigs, but there is very rarely enough to make a living. The work takes a long time for very little pay.”

“I actually laughed out loud when I was turned down after applying to a specialty. I’m a professional technology writer with 25+ published books (not self-published) in my field as well as over a decade of paid writing work with the specialty I selected. Scripted probably did me a favor, as further digging has revealed to me their standard pay rates for short articles and long articles, and they’re not acceptable. I’ve heard from colleagues that Scripted is understaffed and is way behind in not only approving writers but in finding them work. This doesn’t surprise me. The only reason I applied to Scripted is I’m always looking for additional paid writing jobs and a friend recommended it. The hoops I had to jump through to apply were hilarious; cutting and pasting in a three or four paragraph sample of my work is all I’m allowed to submit? Really? A scripted staff member is going to be able to tell the quality of my work from a fixed essay topic? Good luck, Scripted. Turning away qualified writers is definitely the way to succeed. I forwarded the email message (telling me in four single sentences from an “editor” why I wasn’t qualified to write for Scripted) to eight writer-colleagues and almost all have given a comical response. One nailed it – “Sounds like Scripted would be better off trolling English department hallways at the local junior college.” 

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