Freelancing Spotlight: Demand Studios

Written by David G41

Demand Studios is now hiring writers again. After closing their doors to new writers, they are finally accepting applications for new writers. They’re the biggest “content mill” around. If you want to produce content for famous sites such as LiveStrong, and eHow, then keep reading.

You’ve been freelancing for years, and are eager to grow your earnings potential (not to mention your portfolio). You’re tired of being paid slave wages to produce Academy Award-caliber content, yet don’t have an audience of employers or tools that’ll elevate your portfolio in Google or Bing so employers can find you. It’s then you’re told about Demand Studios, an incredible provider of content to eHow, Living Strong and Radio Shack. Is this ‘the one’?

Built by freelancers for freelancers like you, Demand Studios merges your creativity with content-driven companies seeking it. This freelancing spotlight illuminates the recently reopened yet always hiring Demand Studios company, driven by the even more eclectic Demand Media.


eHow needed content. A group of writers were able to provide it, hence the creation of Demand Studios in 2008. Since their inception, more companies have hired writers through their platform than any other of its kind. USA Today started buying travel tips, Live Strong needed health content – from there, companies fell in place for Demand Studios like dominoes. Increased demand for content begat more freelancers, and as of today, the need for fresh minds continues to reach new heights.

Current CEO of Demand Media, Sean Moriarty, cut his managerial teeth on Ticketmaster before heading to Demand Media. The current executive board chairs six, including Moriarty, all whom have their hand in Demand Studios to some degree. They’re now a media partner to (and hire writers for) Cracked, the satirical laugh site where seriousness isn’t commonplace.

For information, curious freelancers are offered blog articles to read, marquee writers to learn about and general information regarding where content skills can be applied. No tools exist for freelancers that haven’t joined, and very little assistance is available short of following Demand Studios around the social sphere.

The Writing Opportunity

Demand Studios offers unique writing opportunities which are paid per piece; the exact amount is conducive to where your content goes but is respectable enough to consider ‘par for the course’. For all approved pieces, Demand will pay you via PayPal twice per week – no other payment method is currently offered, and no future changes are anticipated. Once you’ve submitted work and it’s paid, copyright is transferred to Demand Studios under the U.S. Copyright Act. Upon approval of your application, you’ll be exposed available assignments which are divvied out based on level of expertise and niche preference.

Currently, only New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and United States freelancers are accepted into Demand Studio’s writer-for-hire program. And, as with any major commitment, there’s approximately two miles’ worth of contributor agreement to read, ingest and abide by. Overall, the opportunity is fundamentally sound and great for those seeking side work to complement their current freelance workload.

How to Sign Up

Upon clicking their signup button, you’ll be taken to page one where basic information is collected – name, address, phone and email. You are then required to add your Facebook and Twitter profiles in the preceding boxes to add flair to your Demand Studios profile – website entry is optional. Finally, before submitting page one, you’ll need to completely scroll through the user agreement, accept the terms and enter Captcha code.

On page two, you’ll choose which writing opportunities best suit your skills and education. There’s a content reviewer, writer, editor, translation reviewer, translation specialist, photographer and photo editor available. You’ll choose one, and apply individually; note that each dropdown selection has minimum education and experience requirements to be met. Page three offers more specific options, such as writing niche or language for translation. Finally, the last page is where you’ll submit URL or writing sample, resume, certifications and anything else pertinent to the position being sought.

The application is lengthier than most other writing jobs, and with merit; pay scales are much higher than what you’ll see on Elance, Freelancer and essay mill sites.

How to Get Writing Jobs

After submitting application and receiving your approval, you’ll work closely with Senior Editors to craft article number one. Obviously, this piece should be flawless in all aspects since it’s your gateway to future projects. Once this piece is approved, freelancers can officially hit the ground running and grab all there is available. In fact, you’re able to apply for senior positions which allow you to become ‘Section Experts’ which are rewarded with more writing freedoms than basic content producers.

Provided there’s enough time, write as much or as little as desired. Because you’re paid twice weekly, using their platform is not only great for enhancing portfolios, but perfect for those attending school and needing some spending money. New freelancers can expect between $7.50 and $15 per basic article, while advanced writers can receive site-specific assignments paying $25 and up. Photography assignments pay per approved image.


This is where Demand Studios is failing miserably; that’s just the honest truth.

Many ex-writers and current enlistees consider Demand Studios a ‘de facto content mill’ that pays lower than prevailing wages, if they’re kind enough to pay, period. Simple Google research can reveal miles of horror stories where freelancers begged for their pay, were lied to when pay was sent, and even paid only 25% of what was owed in one instance.

Glass Door, a major career portal, showed numerous reviews from disgruntled former employees stating how many great innovations never make it because the managerial mindset is “Win now, not later”, although there’s always two sides to consider when reading these. From Ripoff Reports, to Complaints Board entries, you’ll read hundreds of derogatory stories from individual freelancers, companies and even Bachelor Degree writers rejected during the application process. Their Twitter account is mildly used compared to other companies, and rarely engaged by followers; Facebook account has more rants than relevance.

Personal Experience

During 2010, I experienced several major gaps in freelance work because clients went belly-up. Demand Studios was there for me, offered me enough work to bridge gaps between long-term gigs and even taught me several writing tricks I now incorporate when writing landing pages. Payment wise, it was much lower than I’m used to; roughly .025-.035 per word. However, they never missed payments and always had an overabundance of writing assignments each day – some days, I turned away assignments because the load became unbearable.

If asking for my honest opinion, I’d offer this: commit to 5 articles, see how readers engage, wait for payment, and perform a cost-benefit analysis by taking into account time spent, effort required and today’s Federal minimum wage. Personally, I wouldn’t call Demand Studios ‘career oriented’.

In Conclusion: Good, for Some

New freelancers with talented fingers are definitely encouraged to test Demand Studios before heading to underpaying freelance platforms. Expect an over-the-top application process, rigorous review of portfolio and resume, and your first assignment to be the hardest one ever. Writing 500 words doesn’t take long, provided you’re passionate about subjects presented to you; just make sure any research and note-taking is done judiciously because you’re not paid for those efforts. Make sure PayPal is current, your W-9 is filed and profile stays complete so opportunities don’t slip by you, or payday skips you.

Demand Studios is good for some, but probably not ideal for freelancers trying to wean themselves away from .01 per word assignments since the pay is nearly comparable. Finally, it’s best to take reviews on sites like Ripoff Report in stride and simply contact a few writers that may offer better insight into Demand Studios.


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