Why are the content sites, places like Associated Content, Suite 101 and Demand Studios, suddenly so popular? Why are writers flocking to these sites to make a measly few dollars per story?
That’s a good question. It’s one I’ve asked myself, too. I mean, I’m doing the same thing. I’ve made less than $40 at Suite 101 for 26 stories. The saddest part is, I don’t think that’s too bad, either.
I suppose two factors are at work here: First, the economic downturn has caused so many print magazines — which pay far better than do online content sites — to go out of business. There are fewer places now for freelance writers to submit their work. This is why I’m experimenting with the content sites. If I have a few moments between sending out pitches, I’ll write up a quick post for Examiner.com or begin working on an easy Suite 101 story. At least these posts provide some money.
The second reason, I suspect, is even more important: Places like Associated Content, Demand Studios or Examiner.com aren’t exactly picky when it comes to approving writers. I briefly wrote for Today.com, a popular blogging network, and that organization would accept anyone who could string three words together.
So it’s easy to get approved by the content sites. And being approved makes people feel like “real” professional writers. It’s far harder to get an editor at a trade or consumer magazine to assign you a story. At Examiner.com, you can be hired quickly and then write whatever bland, boring story you want. At magazines, editors demand stories that are interesting, informative and clever. That’s not the case at the content sites.
I’m glad the content sites are out there, though. They’re easy writing. And maybe some day, they’ll actually generate some decent money. I just don’t think of them as “important” writing. They’re junkfood, basically, that clutters the Internet.