Internet Writing Pay Scales

There is something I discovered about writing recently. And I didn’t even think about this being possible, let alone the possibility that it is true. There is, out on the internet, something I want to call “minimum wage” writing.

No, it’s not sloppy writing, or hacked writing, or even lazy writing. The term “minimum wage” writing refers to writing for very low payment. Actually, it’s only one step above trying to live for page view pennies from the content sites. But yet there are people out there earning a weekly paycheck with writing for low payment.

Okay, so what am I talking about? There are jobs out there which pay basically under a penny per word, with an expectation of roughly 3,000 or more words per day. Go onto any job site offering writing work and you will find them easily enough. These are the people who pay $3 per 400-600 words or even $1.50 per 400 words. In places like India this is considered good pay. In places such as the US or UK, this is extremely cheap.

Now, when I first started writing for the internet, I took a few of these jobs thinking that is all there was. I did finally find one client who pays a reasonable rate, and on time, for internet writing. I’m still with him.

I’ll give you an example of the pay range I’ve found over the past three months.

  • Associated Content, Helium, Triond and sites like this – $1,50 per 1,000 page views. (it takes about 10 page views to earn a penny)
  • Private content providers – this is where you find the penny per word, or sometimes less, crowd
  • Information sites like eHow – these guys are in the upper end ranging around $15 per article (if they accept it).
  • About.com – this site hires people who are called “guides”. The pay range is $750 to start for what amounts to four articles per month and 12 blog entries a week. But here’s the catch; you better know what you are writing along with the how, what, why and be as close to an expert as you can with what you write.

Now, on top of this I found out that the internet is actually low pay overall compared to other writing. I found this entirely by accident. If you compare say, magazine writing to internet writing you have a 10:1 ratio. This means if you wrote a 2,000 word piece for a magazine you might end up with $400; but the same 2,000 words on the internet would only grab $40. I’m guessing it has something to do with ad revenue and income streams.

But this whole thing gets me wondering. There are people out there who think they are making good money writing for a penny per word, and yet there are opportunities for .25 per word if you look for them. The tradeoff is this – the penny per word is pretty much guaranteed money while the magazine usually only pays on publication (which you have no idea or control over when).

So my guess is that it would be better to start out making limited income to learn all there is, like a minimum wage job; then start looking for other avenues and begin your research of those areas. Just try not to quit too early when the big money isn’t there yet.

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