Does my opinion hold water? I've changed my freelancing energy-flow so often, I give a blurry picture. I'm experimenting cutting back - writing at places I feel most at home that have the fewest hassles. Also, if I can write for a site I like to visit for a read, so much the better.
Demand Media Studios is great for some writers, and I was trying to be one of them. While I do not consider the content on the company's properties to be of the lowest quality, as many claim, I have yet to find any I relish reading -- or have found useful.
Plus, with DMS...The computer-generated titles are often bogus or tricky - for example, an overview of "Idaho Stink Bugs" (when Idaho is one place this pest is NOT outbreaking); research and referencing take longer because content sites are blacklisted, and (rightly) DMS prefers .edu and .gov to .com (but the rules get complicated and change frequently); the photo gallery (that must be used exclusively) often has no pic directly related to the subject (and while photos are optional, searching the gallery before giving up, or getting creative and hoping the CE accepts it, uses up more valuable time); and...well, what I am getting at (in this parenthetical ramble) is how much this extra time I spend at DMS -- that adds up quickly writing $15 500-word blurbs -- is costing me (too much). I keep badgering myself to claim titles and work my way gradually to eligibility for better assignments. But...
But I find myself tossing the titles back and heading over to The Content Authority. I earn less per order there, but writing those blurbs is a simple, hassle-free business, usually. There are no reference and resource links or illustrations to fuss over. When the rare problem arises, the forum is often helpful and e-mailing the administration always brings friendly assistance within a day.
As I wrote before, the similar company Textbroker my be just as great (from what I hear), but I have not jumped in there, though I signed up. From a quick look just now, I notice most of the orders are for writers at the four- and five-star levels, that site's highest ratings (their lowest rating is two-stars). Unlike TCA's eight-hour writing window - which is provides a comfortable structure for me - I saw various deadlines, from one to four days. I just claimed my first assignment, so now I know that this is a one-at-a-time deal like TCA's system (and that is fine with me). [Update, later the same day: I have decided to stick with assignments from TCA only for a while longer and I released this order.]
What about my aspiring journalist self? Examiner.com and Digital Journal are still on my list.
Examiner.com is going through its major overhaul, but changes to the payment system are being pushed back, month by month, so it is too soon to tell if E is a keeper. So far, I am muddling along, publishing one or two articles a week. But I do not go there to read.
In contrast, Digital Journal would be among my favorite news sources even if I had not resumed contributing there.