Another IRA/SMMS/Clark Covington Complaint

I’m having a real serious issue with a content mill (or I should say project board) named SMMS which has not paid me for work I did way back in March of this year. I have also been left for dry by a few clients in the past who I did work for and no payment was issued. This problem is one that plagues freelancers. What do you do when your client is half way across the world? Not many of us can afford a private jet and limo ride to the client’s front door in order to punch them in the face reprimand them sternly. We are not all Stewie Griffin, unfortunately.  I decided to let my current frustrations out on a new post. Enjoy

I am a foreigner and reside in a third world country. I am only stating this as the main reason why I can’t take legal action against my clients. I don’t have the money for it neither. So here is what I did.


I remained calm. There is no reason to go crazy and risk loosing a lucrative job. I sent a kind email reminder and received no response. I sent another and another and another and no response. Except one hastily written email stating that the owner of the project board was a little behind. While there are many people who have successfully gotten paid for overdue work I have been waiting 8 weeks for payment. Honestly, after 6 emails I am plum out of kindness.

So I gathered all the writer emails from the project board and emailed everyone telling them my story. So far, based on the responses I have gotten, SMMS owes thousands of  dollars to their writers and I only sent the email an hour ago. You can read what other writers had to say about IRA/SMMS below.

So what happens if they never pay? I have already decided and told them that I will wait for up to one week to be paid. If not I will be reporting the business as well as posting complaints online.

Update: I have been since paid by Clark Covington for all the work owed to me. However, there are still more writers reporting they have yet to be paid by this company. (June 18)


Here is more information on SMMS for those who share my pain: (and for others to beware of)

  • SMMS is run and owned by Clark Covington, the same man who runs Internet Research Associates (IRA).
  • South Carolina Secretary of State Listing for Rufus Space Industries (the umbrella company)
  • Clark Covington’s Website
  • Clark’s email:
  • UPDATE!: IRA had been closed a few weeks ago. Now SMMS is being closed! Read below:


Dear Writers,

As you know we’ve had some issues keeping up with our invoices the past two months, and while I had hoped to resolve this sooner, it has taken this long to work everything out. I sincerely apologize for the pains and financial strain it has caused on anyone affected by late payments, and take full responsibility for the issues.

Good news, we should have most if not all of the outstanding invoices paid off within the next week as part of a restructuring plan.

Bad news, we won’t be continuing our job board, nor will we be using “D” as project manager, though she did a great job for us all the years she was with us.

So, please hand in whatever you are working on by 11:30 pm EST Tuesday 21st … That’s in one day, so if you can’t do a project in the next day here just update the status on the project so we know it won’t be done.

On Wednesday “D” will create final invoices for whatever is pending and not invoiced already.

Within the next week we should have all pending invoices paid.

I sincerely appreciate your patients with our company through this difficult time, and look forward to getting all the issues resolved in the next week here.

My very best,

Clark R. Covington

Internet Complaints: here, here, and  here.

(Please Note: That any and all references to “D” has been made by other writers in the quoted sections of this post and is not my opinion of her. She has always showed me kindness and I’m sorry that she was subjected to the constant tirades of annoyed writers like myself as a result of Clark’s unprofessional behavior. Any mention of her has been edited and she will only be referred to as “D”. Just to make it clear, she was simply hired by Clark and received the brunt of complaints from his writers. Read the comments below for more good words on “D”)



And to bring the point home here are more disgruntled writers who have previously worked for SMMS/IRA and shared their stories with me. Their email addresses and names have been hidden.


Hi Abigail,

I am so sorry that you got sucked into Clark’s bullshit. I went several rounds with him and even had to call to get my W-2’s sent to me. Since this is the first board email that I have received in weeks, with the exception of “D” trying to get people to post what they have done, I am assuming that others have come to the same conclusion that I have, Clark is in major financial trouble and extended himself too far.

I started in October of 2009 with IRA, when it was a board and wrote on and off for a year. When I started, we got paid each week for work done the previous week. As time passed, the people Clark had running the boards disappeared and payments became later and later. Last fall, Clark issued a statement that jobs would be paid after they were approved, and it was supposed to make payments more timely. Now, boards are closing, I have watched “D” stick by Clark and more and more of us become disillusioned about the work we are doing and whether or not we will be paid for it.

I am fortunate. Last fall I got really sick and had to go through several surgeries. I got paid for all my work but I have watched it all fall apart for Clark and all of you. I am sorry that he is doing this to you all.

-K. H.


I had the same problem. This Clark Covington has his name all over internet complaint boards for not paying writers. He owed me $125 for two months and I finally got tired of the runaround from Miss “D”, who SWEARS no one has never not gotten paid. LOL! So I got fed up and told her if I wasn’t paid by the end of the week (this happened a few weeks ago) I was going to start plastering Covington and his company’s name all over complaint boards on the internet. Then I got an email from Clark himself giving me the runaround again. I told him (and I quote: “Stick a fork in me Clark I am done with you”). Well, lol and behold I got paid the following day! All $125! It came from a weird place, not the writing company but I don’t care. I finally got it.


-K. M.


I stopped writing for SMMS well over a month ago. Maybe longer. And this is exactly the reason why. I’m not going to work hard if I’m not going to see the pay. I decided not to take on any new work with SMMS because I had no idea when I would be paid for it. And bills do not wait.

I had to wait for my pay to come in and when it did, I found better things that pay on time.

-C. C.


Yes! I have experienced the same thing and they owe me over $200. I did 4 jobs for them and backed off after I didnt get paid. I have sent them repeated emails, most are ignored too or I am promised dates of pay  that come and go. I write for many other places and if I do not get paid soon I am going to let them in on this very unethical and unprofessional so called company that we have been conned into writing for. The last email I got was from “D” where she said that the work I invoiced would be paid the 23 or 30 of May…still nothing. What kind of company pays out 2 or 3 months after the work is done? I did not know this going in or I would not have even started. Right now I just want my money before I take this before bigger fish and let them fry it.

-C. H.


20 thoughts on “Another IRA/SMMS/Clark Covington Complaint

  1. Wow Abigail, I really do not know how to respond to all of this.. Yet I will as I feel I am being thrown under the bus for something I had absolutely no control over. First off. allow me to clarify something… I was an contracted employee the same as anyone else was on the board. I had nor have any part in Clark’s business and as I have said numerous times to numerous people, I had no control over payouts at all. My only function other then monitoring the board was to compile weekly invoices that were sent onto Clark for payout. Clark took it from there. I had no access to his funds whatsoever. Had that been the case, I would have been paid myself!

    In my time of working for Clark, I have never known of a writer not getting paid.. I did not lie about that, I was not “siding” with him. I was stating a fact. Had I thought anyone would not get paid for their services, do you think I would have continued to work for him with an owed balance? Please.. I am far from stupid.

    As far as when pay outs would come, I would respond with when Clark would tell me payouts would happen.

    All I ask is that I be left out of this fiasco. Had I had it in my power to make Clark pay out the writers on a timely manner, I would have. It would have only made my life that much easier. I totally understand all of your frustrations. I took the blunt of it from everyone even though your frustrations were misdirected.

    Yours kindly,
    Best wishes to you all,

  2. Hi Deana, I understand your comment. However, I refrained from mentioning your name in my post. Except for when stating you as the board manager (which I will remove promptly). I understand you were hired and I never wrote anything in the post above admonishing you for not paying me as that was not your job. It was Clark I spoke about through the entire post.

    However, your name is mentioned in the QUOTED sections of the post. This means you were mentioned by someone else and not me. I posted the complaints above as a means to educate other writers of the dangers of working for Clark. I posted them as is, no edits whatsoever. All mentions of you are simply the opinions of other writers and not my personal opinion.

    Please let me know if this explanation suffices. But I will add something to this post that may translate better for you.

  3. Supposedly we’ll be paid within the week. I am owed, just me, $1659.00! I am praying I see the money as I need to pay off a big bill and I was counting on this money. I worked for him for a few years and he used to pay on time. I don’t know what happened–all I know is I trusted Clark and I hope he goes through with paying all of us.

    I know Deana did the best she could. She tried to find out what was going on with the money. She did not have access to his payroll money- only the invoices as she stated.


  4. Thank you Abigail, I appreciate your edit. Again, I wish you the best in all your ventures, as I wish all the writers the best.

    P.s. Sorry for the delay in response.. Been battling thunderstorms here.. :-/

  5. Thanks for clarifying Deana’s relationship to Clark. I feel as if she might be the one to suffer most from this situation, simply because her name seems so closely associated with Clark. However, ALL of my dealing with Deana, both on Clark’s board and off, have been 100% above board.

    • I feel the exact same way about Deana guys. Let me see what I can do. After reading your posts I do believe I can do a better edit. So, with that. All references to her will be erased, even in the quoted sections of the post above.

      I would not want to mar her reputation as I said above she has been nothing but kind to me and all references to her were made by other writers and not by me.

  6. As I am included in that ex contractual employee status, I feel the same bitterness towards Clark Covington. I understand the reasoning of the post it’s called anger and therefore you lash out as you must.

    I am glad to see that she’s being removed from the posting however, the damage to her reputation is what is more important to me as someone that actually would love to work with her again.

    Deana only managed a writer’s board, who had no control over how Mr. Covington handled HIS company. She also did an outstanding job and put up with people that did not do their job’s or listened to complaints about him. I find her to be an extremely professional and ethical person and writer and I was proud to be a part of HER team. She is the one who made his company succeed due to her organizational abilities and talent. I never considered myself on Mr. Covington’s team he lacks ethics and that is something that many of us who did produce work for his company have.

    If other writers are going to lash out at Mr. Covington; I urge you and anyone that has worked with her to not include her and if you see her name mentioned in any article and that you come to her defense and that you post something as to her work ethics and abilities.

    It was Mr. Covington that chose when to pay his writers, not Deana. She was nothing more then another one of his pawns and also has her payment issues as do we.

  7. Hi Abigail…

    As promised I am letting you know I was paid $168 last week out of the $1,659.00 Clark owes me. I’ll let you know if and when he pays more! Praying!!!! This is very nerve racking…

      • Hi there,


        Clark sent out multiple ePay checks this evening. I was paid for all of my SMMS clients except the very last week of $70. He paid me $530 but the money is ePay check so it won’t be in my PayPal account until July 5th at the latest. None of my articles were paid.

        Total due yet: $829.00

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