CloudCrowd Review: Legitimate Freelance Opportunity

(Warning this is a very  long and indepth post)

The most foremost thing on your mind right now is: Is CloudCrowd Legitimate? And my answer to that is: Yes. Read on for my full review of this freelance writing opportunity.

I popped into my professional email account the other day and I spotted a message sent from someone I didn’t recognize. I was about to click it to spam but thought against it. So I decided to read the message. It went like this,

Write Articles and Get Paid Daily

If you are looking for a legitimate article writing opportunity that pays daily (expect on the weekends), then visit the following link to sign up: http://www.cloudcrowd.com/. You must have a facebook account to sign up at this site (create a new facebook account if you don’t want to use the existing one).

It is not a sale pitch so I will keep it simple. Just sign up with your facebook account and get paid for the work you do daily in your paypal account. You are paid up to $8 for a 400word article, $18 for a 350word press release and $0.90 for a 35-45word product review. For working at CC, you need to pass credential tests, which are quite easy.

All you need to do now is to join the site by clicking the link above which will prompt you to log in to your facebook profile. After you have signed up, just send me an email and I will provide all the info about passing the tests (this is important). I make $40-50 per day writing for this site and you can also do so.
It is free to join, no costs to you ever (not even paypal fees).
My readers know how skeptical I am about near everything but I decided to click through. I am glad I did. Honestly, this is legitimate, although my ‘new’ friend above sounds like he’s selling sunscreen to the jersey shore girls. Read on for my review of CloudCrowd.

WHAT  IS CLOUDCROW

A writing/content mill. BUT! And this is a big one. They pay very well considering the rates of other mills.

HOW TO APPLY

CloudCrowd is a Facebook application. Which I found very odd and almost did not go through with. As most of us know some Facebook applications tease and trick us into adding them and then we end up friendless because we have been hacked and spammed. But I decided to go all in. What happens is when you click the link CloudCrowd you will be redirected to Facebook and like all applications it will ask you to Allow it to collect your information etc. Go ahead, it is legitimate. Insert the information it asks you for and you are in.

CREDENTIALS

To work at CloudCrowd you will need to pass tests. These tests are called Credentials. You will also have a Credibility number that starts at 40 and goes up. (You have both a rating and a number.) Here are some credential tests you can take: (I will add details to those I have done)

Writing and Editing

  • English Editor (edit a document of between 80-100 words into proper English)
  • German Editor
  • French Editor
  • General English Writer (write a document between 50-100 words on a given topic)
  • Resume Writer
  • Press Release Writer {Marketing Level}
  • Product Description Writer {Marketing Level}

Translation

  • English to Chinese
  • English to German
  • English to French
  • English to Spanish
  • Arabic to English

(They have other tests but as I am writing this post those sections are empty)

Alright, so here’s the rundown of how credentials work. Each assignment or project has a credential rating and a credibility number. For example: The project “Write a Business Article” will require you to have the credential rating of a General English Writer and the credibility number of 50. Everyone starts with a credibility number of 40. You are able to increase that number with your good work. Similarly, poor work decreases your credibility.

Credential tests can be approved or rejected.

If you fail the test, you will not be able to take that test again for one month. You may only take each credential test a maximum of four times.

PAY RATES

To the important part. They have an Available Work screen that showcases what is available, its credibility, credential and its price. (as well as if there’s a bonus involved). These rates can and may change over time. I also do not know the lengths of these articles.  (Prices are in $US)

  • Business Article : $33.00
  • Health Article: $6.75
  • Write Press Release: $14.75
  • Write Web Ads $0.85
  • Find Mistakes $1.50

And there is more. Remember each of these tasks or projects will have its own credential and credibility rating. There are exceptions like Write Web Ads. This only requires you pass the English Writer General test.

(Update: after writing this post I took a couple screenshots which are at the end of the article which will best help you to understand this site)

HOW DO THEY PAY

Paypal. Your one and only option. I have been trying to stay away from Paypal work since my money gets stuck in there due to a lack of withdrawal options but the higher pay rates of CloudCrowd made me ignore that. THEY PAY EVERY DAY! No matter if its a cent or $100 bucks. I had 21 cents my first day and I was appalled to see a Paypal message saying I was paid 21 cents a couple hours later! Wow! They do not pay on weekends. But they have paid me without fail every week day. I mean, every…. week….. day.

USER INTERFACE

I like the user interface of CloudCrowd. It is easy to find what you are looking for. You have your Home tab which outlines the money you’ve made, what is owed to you and what you’ve made for the month. It shows you all your submitted work and their statuses, whether approved or rejected. There is the Available Work tab and within that you can take Tests. Very quick, very useable. There is also a side tab that shows you your Earnings, Messages, History, Details etc.

WRITER SUPPORT

I love CloudCrowd and its writer community. With the help of GetSatisfaction, CloudCrowd has a vast community of writers on one forum. You can ask questions and get answers, talk to fellow writers, complain, make suggestions. The whole nine yards. I love it. I love the communication.

REVIEWS AND APPEALS

The reviewers are made up of people like you and me. In fact, you are actually able to take up review work from the assignment/work board. This means that the work you submit is actually viewed and reviewed by other writers. And you will be able to review other people’s work (as long as you have the correct credentials and credibility rating).

The appeals process works like this. If you do not agree with a rejection you can appeal it. You state why, you press submit and some editor or someone of a higher rank reviews the rejection. However, you can only appeal one article at a time AND you have to wait 30 days before you can appeal another article. This is their response to this quite constricting rule.

While we appreciate that you may have several tasks you’d like to appeal at once, we’re carefully limiting appeals to allow everyone an opportunity to have their most pressing appeals addressed quickly.  In the meantime, the best revenge on an unfair review is to do a bunch of new tasks, get great evaluations on them, and watch your Credibility score rise.

MY EXPERIENCE

The day I joined I went ahead and did the General Writer Test ( I have probably renamed this test about 5 times now but its the same thing). It took a little more than 2 weeks to get approved. Not much for speed. However, there were some cheap tasks on the board that only required 40 credibility which I had. They were approved within seconds. So it’s safe to assume tests will take a while. But I was actually able to do some low pay work until my credential test came back.

Let me warn everyone, CloudCrowd is no joke. They seek out top notch writers and they are not afraid to weed out the bad ones. Be consistent, submit only thoroughly proofread work. If you do not follow their explicit instructions they will not fear letting you go. My credibility rating had a bad crunch just the other day. Trust me, even the simplest of tasks can be rejected for the simplest mistake. And remember your rating goes up and down. If it goes down far enough they may cut you. There is one plus side to this however, CloudCrowd forces you to be a better writer. There are many content mills out there where I have submitted subpar work knowing full well they have editors to take care of it. Well, not at CloudCrowd, they require you do your best work each and every time. The better you work, the more “points” you receive and the more larger paying jobs are at your disposal.

CONCLUSION

Try out CloudCrowd, come back and let me know what you think by positing in the comments section below. If you have any job opportunities you would like to share go ahead. If I left something out, comment as well.

I know this has been a long and tedious post but I really want to outline every aspect of writing opportunities to my readers. There are many times when I have googled website reviews and gotten a couple of sentencces and some generic opinion. I want to know the down and dirty. The things writers want to know and I want to know details. Yes, I know they tell you to be concise and all but concise is not me.

-FWJ

 

UPDATE Sep. 14.11: after working at CloudCrowd and trying to improve my credibility I have long since decided keep them at arms length (or maybe more of a continent away). Why? Well I mentioned it before but only briefly. Their review system. The work you submit is reviewed by writers like you and me. You can also choose to do reviews as well. The problem is, a lot of my articles were rejected unfairly and mainly because reviewers had not read the updated article guidelines. Hence, I was rejected for reasons that had been debunked. The appeals system also does not work for writers because it only offers one appeal at a time. And if one of your appeals have been rejected you have to wait 30 days to send another. Suffice to say, CloudCrowd has its kinks and because of them my rating has plummetted. Mostly for unfair judgements on the part of the reviewer. Sometimes because I missed a capital or a period. And I am not kidding, one missed capital letter is grounds for a rejection. This I find very tasking especially coming from writing jobs that have editors. Anyways. That is my update. Enjoy.

Available Work Screenshot

Credential / Test Page

Payoneer Review: Global Payments Made Easy

payoneer logo

I came across Payoneer after realising that PayPal was adamant at making it difficult for me to make physical contact with the money I earned while working freelance. I do not blame PayPal for restricting withdrawal methods for smaller countries but it does make it very hard for persons like me. I believe I learnt of Payoneer while looking for virtual credit cards online and instead came across a much better option. When I saw that Payoneer offers a payment option to global clients I had to sign up. Thus far, I have found it increasingly helpful and I really don;t know what I did before I had it.

WHAT IS PAYONEER?

Payoneer is a simple and powerful online payment distribution solution.

And that is pretty much it. What Payoneer does is distribute Debit Mastercards to payees all across the globe like me, where they are able to receive payments for work they have done. They have been in business since 2005 and have since enabled thousands of businesses to offer their workers, employees, suppliers and partners with compensation.

THE DEBIT MASTERCARD

payoneer mastercardAs aforementioned, once you sign up with a company that offers payouts via Payoneer you will receive a physical prepaid (debit) MasterCard. It is mailed by the company once you sign up and arrives pretty fast. The Card itself is issued by Choice Bank LTD located in Belize City:

Payoneer is headquartered in New York City and employs over 100 experienced financial and technology professionals. We are a registered MasterCard Merchant Service Provider (MSP), and partner with Choice Bank Limited or First Covenant Bank to deliver our services. Privately held, our funding partners include Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures, and Crossbar Capital.

I have had a Payoneer card for some months now, it works. I can use it as either a credit card or debit card whenever swiped. I have used it to withdraw money from ATMs, store purchases and online shopping.

COMPANIES THAT OFFER PAYONEER

There are quite a few companies that offer Payoneer as a payment solution: (here is a full list)

eCommerce Platforms

Freelancer Market

Direct Sales

HOW TO APPLY

You cannot apply for this Mastercard directly from the Payoneer website. You can, however, sign up with a company/partner that offers this payment option and then request a card (I signed up at Reviewme). Websites like the ones posted above offer Payoneer payouts. Once you sign up, the card is mailed to you. All you have to do is then activate the card and make it your payment option. Once you are paid by one of the companies above, money will appear on your card and can be used virtually anywhere.

FEES AND PRICING

Card
Card activation – U.S. $5.00 Per card One time – when card is first loaded
Card activation – outside U.S. $10.00 Per card One time – when card is first loaded
Card activation – outside US – Listed Countries $24.95 Per card One time – when card is first loaded (Angola, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Saint tome and principle, Turkmenistan)
Loading Payments $2.00 Per load Each time card is loaded
Monthly card account maintenance $1.00 5+ trx/month From available card balance each month
Monthly card account maintenance $3.00 1-4 trx/month From available card balance each month
ATM Cash Withdrawals or Transactions
ATM withdrawal – U.S. $1.35 Per Trx When withdrawal is requested
ATM withdrawal – outside U.S. $2.75 * Per Trx When withdrawal is requested
Declined ATM withdrawal $1.00 Per Trx When withdrawal request is declined
Purchase Transaction Free * Per Trx When card is used for purchases

OTHER FEATURES AND SERVICES

  • Card to card transfers
  • Load money to card options
  • Transaction history
  • Cannot be overdrawn
  • No bank account or credit check required

Visit the website to find out more.

London Brokers: Job Opportunity Review

london brokers

For anyone looking for legitimate and constant work then London Brokers is your destination.

WHAT IS LONDON BROKERS?

London Brokers is an online publishing company which procures constant work from their steady stream of clients. Their website says:

We never run out of work.

And, by god, this is the truth. I signed up for London Brokers 2-3 months ago and their board has never been empty. There is always work at all hours of the day for writer’s to take.

ARTICLES

The type of articles on the website vary from travel, recreation, business, finance, health, nutrition, eduction, pets, kids, music, home improvement and parenting, just to name a few.

They have regular articles that are 300, 400, 500, 750 and 1,000 words that each have their own worth.

They also have some hybrid articles that are titled UAW. You will need to write one article and the reword it twice. They make this very simply using their interface. Once you have written your first article you submit it to the Step-By-Step system. Once submitted your first article is broken into paragraphs where you are able to reword each paragraph directly on the site. I have got to say that this is a very effective way to do rewrites.

The also have HQ (high quality) articles which need to be written with absolutely no grammar or spelling mistakes. These articles usually take longer to write as writer’s need to ensure that the information contained within is relevant and to the point.

They also have Urgent articles (which can be applied to regular, UAW and HQ articles) which pay more and are due earlier.

DUE DATES

One aspect I love about London Brokers are the due dates. For the most part, most articles are expected to be submitted between 24 – 71 hours. You will also be able to extend the due date by 24 hours if possible with just a click of the mouse.

PAYMENT RATES

London Broker’s payment rates are not the best. But for a company that offers constant work, writers are able to make a steady stream of income.

300 words = $2.00

400 words = $3.00

500 words = $3.50

750 words = $5.00

1,000 words = $6.50

They offer a 5% bonus for regular articles if submitted within 24 hours.  For Urgent articles, writers will make 10% more.

UAW articles payout more than regular articles.

UAW300 = $4.75

UAW400 = $5.25

UAW 500 = $6.00

(I have never seen UAWs that are 750-1000 words)

HOW DO THEY PAY?

London Brokers pays in two ways, Paypal and Payoneer. For writer’s abroad with limited withdrawal options on Paypal may opt to be paid via their Payoneer card. (read my review of Payoneer here)

They pay absolutely every Friday without fail to any of the two aforementioned options. Payments are processed every Thursday and every Friday morning I wake up to money in my account.

THE BULLETIN BOARD, APPEARANCE AND TECHNOLOGY

London Brokers has really taken it to the next level when it comes to the way writers are able to organize their work and keep track of payments thanks to their interactive and effective UI.

Bulletin Board

For one, the BB (Bulletin Board) is always filled. Writers are able to select any articles they want and claim them. The BB is able to filter articles by their type, word count and due date.

Open Orders

Secondly, once the article has been selected it goes to your Open Order screen. This screen neatly organizes your articles. Once you have finished an article you can submit it using the ‘submit’ button. The Open Order screen also has a section for the hours remaining before your 5% bonus is up. Great for keeping an eye on getting that bonus.

Keyword Checker

There is one thing which I have never seen before, love and wish to note. London Brokers has an automatic keyword checker. When you write an article and check it, the system tells you what percentage of the keyword is in your article. Surprisingly it also tells you the percentage of constantly used phrases within your article. For instance, if the keyword is ‘types of cars’ it will tell you how often it is in your article (they often have a 1.5% limit). You may also have written ‘there are several’ in your article multiple times. The system will pick that up and tell you how often you have used that phrase throughout the article as well and encourage you to reword those instances so the article does not seem repetitive.

This I find to be very useful. You are better able to ensure that the articles you submit are not overladen with keywords or commonly used phrases which I do not see any other program doing.

Payment Report

London Brokers also keeps track of articles that have been approved and updates your outstanding payment. You are able to set a threshold of your liking (Payoneer requires a $20 threshold minimum). You can also export your payment report and see how much money you have earned since you begun.

THE EDITOR AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

For anyone that has read my past posts you will understand that I take communication very strongly for any freelance job I am in. Both the editor and customer service reps are constantly online, always super nice and very helpful. They are available for any issues you have, questions about an article, discussions etc. They are the main reason why I stick with the company.

OTHER FACTS

  • You do not pay to write for London Brokers (you should never pay to work anywhere!)
  • You have to be a native English speaker to write. If you are from Asia for instance they may ask your to write a sample article before taking you on.
  • They have in-depth training videos for help with UAW type articles
  • You start off with a limit of 2 articles at a time and can increase that level once you pass 10 approved articles (I am currently doing 13 articles at one time)
  • Testimonials are available

CONCLUSION

I suggest you try out London Brokers. I, at first, was wary of the payment rates but at this point I am making a decent income working solely for this company. This site is the best option I have found due to the fact that other sites require writers to be U.S or Canadian citizens (Textbroker, Demand Studios etc).

If you or anyone needs additional information about London Brokers you can comment below.

(I have not been paid or compensated for writing this post. This is my honest opinion PLEASE NOTE: links to the london brokers website are refferal links. To sign up without that simple erase everything after .net)

UPDATE!

(25.May.13)

I stil have a London Brokers account and get frequent emails  requesting I show some activity or it’ll be closed (although reopening the account is as easy as buttering bread). I’ve stopped writing there simply because it isn’t worth it. Regular articles are now nonexistent. Which means only UAWs are available. And why would I take on 3 rewrites  for 6$ when I could have done the same amount of work for double. Suffice it to say, I haven’t so much as squinted at them.

I keep the account open for one reason, affiliates. Now, I’m not an affiliate type gal. I don’t have millions of open accounts accumulating money from referrals. And thats the truth. London Brokers is THE ONLY ONE I TRIED WITH THAT FEATURE and the naive, dow eyed child in me prevents me from closting it completely thinking one day i’ll get a large deposit in my Paypal from these ‘referrals’. But alas. My affiliate count is at 47… I get emails now and again that say I had someone sign up using my link, but I haven’t received a cent in a very very long time so frankly, i’m disillusioned by the entire service and referrals in general.

I personally disliked referrals and being referred so *shrugs* to why I bothered. I don’t know if they are retaining that money for themselves but 47 referrals later i’m not so sure anymore.

Also, this happened: Dear Writer! We are discontinuing payments via Payoneer by next week. Last payment via Paynoeer will be this Friday (22-February-2013). (posted on the London Brokers writer site)

Review of Writers JA/Katro Global: Jamaican Freelance Opportunity

cheap labour at its finest

(Warning: This is a very long post)

For those of my readers who live in Jamaica, I had come across a writing company not too long ago and subsequently signed up with them. The name of the company was Katro Global which has since been transferred/sold to Writers JA. I had a not so good experience with them. Here is a my brief opinion of this company.

APPEARANCES

Firstly, I would like to state that appearances are everything and as an individual who is constantly on the Internet there are some sites that do appear questionable. You all know what I mean: large yellow highlighted text, sensational words, never ending pages of testimonials and stock photography of some girl working at a computer.

Now lets take a look at WritersJA which immediately looks like one of those ‘amazing opportunity’, ‘make $1000 an hour’ type sites. Not only does it look sketchy, but it is an eye soar. I think, if I had come across this website when it looked like this I would have turned right back around. In this day and age, I don’t expect any website to look like it would have 15 years ago when this design was current.

You are greeted by a very bold, large and red text stating,

“Find the freelance work you like,apply and make money!”.

The fact that there isn’t a space between like, and apply makes my eyes twitch. But thats a simply error. I have probably written worse.

When it comes to the approach of this company I just had to laugh. They chose the ‘ooo pretty colors’ template instead of the ‘legitimate writing opportunity with professional design’ template. Maybe the latter was too expensive.

I also did not like the design of their project board. It was not very user friendly. And this is coming from a writer who has probably seen it all.

ADVANTAGES

As a writer who lives in Jamaica I am constantly trying to find methods of being paid quickly and easily. Paypal does not offer Jamaican customers the same methods of withdrawal as they do elsewhere in the world. In fact, they only offer two methods of withdrawal: U.S bank deposit and cheque. So once I came upon Katro Global which deposits all money earned into a JN Jamaican bank account at the end of the month that was its main selling point for me.

DISADVANTAGES

There are several aspects of this business I was not very fond of. And as a full-time and professional freelancer for 3 years now I have learnt to be choosy and not sacrifice my talent for crappy companies.

For one, they payout JA$300 (US$3.60) per 500 words. Now, most of my freelance writer friends are gasping and choking for air at this point. Why would anyone want to work for a ‘reputable’ company that paid crap money? I did, for two months, before I realized that my talents were literally being abused by this business.

UPDATE: I have been told that once working there you will have the opportunity to climb your ranks as a employee and thus earn more money. “We have writers who make $1000 on featured posts”.

Secondly, they had almost no work on most days. It dawned on me, after attempting to do at least 10 articles a day for them that there were some days when I could do not one. For any writer who signs on to work for a writing mill, the least they would expect is constant work. If this had been the case I could have overlooked the cheap pay. But for the most part, Writers JA was always empty.

UPDATE: I have been told from a reliable source that “since January the site has been updated with assignments in batches of 100-200 every 2 days”.

Thirdly, there was a major lack of communication with writers. Let me expound on this point, for a company based in Jamaica you would expect to be able to reach the editor or a representative during working hours. The fact was that I would send a query at 9 in the morning on an article due by 6 and not receive a response until almost 8 that night. This is simply, unacceptable.

CORRECTION: Articles have a 24 hour deadline. At one point however they were due the same day. So above, I speak of those times.

I expect there to be a workable timeline when it comes to customer care. Other sites I have been on have a representative and writer’s aid online and waiting to answer your queries in a ‘real-time’ manner. I would simple click a button for support and be able to speak with someone re: an assignment right then and there. With WritersJA, I send an email and sit and wait for hours to get a response.

UPDATE: I have been told by a reliable source that “WJA now has a writer rep that is available via chat and email”.

Next, I was not fond of how the company spoke with me and with their other writers. I am a pleasant and professional writer. I may be sarcastic once or twice but I am never one to reprimand someone or let my temper get the best of me. As a freelancer I am not directly hired by any company. I am simply a floating mass of words who does a job here or there and moves on. I don’t make a monthly salary. I make what I work towards. WritersJA had an ownership aura about them which made me uncomfortable.

I received a mass email one day from the company, apparently reprimanding some writers for their lack of submitting work on time. I would be frustrated too if I were them, but I would definitely not write the email below:

It is becoming abundantly clear that for SOME writers this post is not taken seriously and in light of that we are going to be making some drastic changes.

Everyone is asked to notify us if and when they are unable to meet their deadlines, SOME of you completely ignore this stipulation. This is UNACCEPTABLE!   (Excerpt of an email sent on Nov. 9. 10)

Not only was the business unprofessional it was constantly on its period. While I understand their frustration, I really do not think it is professional to use all caps (as if you were yelling). This bothered me greatly to see a company speaking with their writers in this fashion. This could have been done in a more professional manner.

OTHER ISSUES

I recently received a call from a woman stating she was from Katro Global. I found this odd because I thought the company had been sold and was now in the hands of a new owner and thus new name. I asked her if that was correct and she immediately corrected herself. She then went on to tell me that she had noticed that I had been inactive for some time and may risk losing my account.

Apparently, the company had hired a sort of collection agent. While speaking with her, I was thinking, “Wow, now I get to give feedback to them and receive some answers!”. Nope, never happened. I recounted  my issues with her:

  • No work when I sign in (and at that point I signed in every other day)
  • No communication or the lack of it
  • No email notifications of new work posted (Update: there is a mailing list now that provides writers with notifications)

In my eyes, I was very active, I was more than active. I signed in every other day to see if there was any work I could do. So I asked her, if inactivity was measured by visits/logins to the site, or was it measured by writer’s who acquired work on a regular basis? To me, I could not be the latter because the board was always empty when I did sign in.

She simply had nothing to say, other than she doesn’t know, and I should contact the company via email. In essence, she was only a messenger. Although she did tell me her name and said she were calling from a debunked company. I simply had zero patience to send an email that I would not receive a response for until later that night. I emailed the company and requested my account be closed. Then went on to filter any emails sent from them straight to ‘trash’.

CONCLUSION

Writer’s JA is more geared towards students who are looking for a helping hand. But is open to full-timers like myself.

My opinion is that, you can always go see for yourself. You have the choice to apply and work and possibly make a very good income. But based on my own experiences I cannot tell if that is possible and I suggest you also find other jobs in the process.

There are many more opportunities online for freelance writers who do not live in the U.S or in Europe. Yes, there are ways one can make money living in Jamaica. While payment methods may irk most I will also pay close attention to this in future posts. The only thing going for WritersJa was its payment method, which was deposits made to a Jamaican Bank at the end of every month. They never failed at this. However, the talents of freelance writers demands more than chump change.

In terms of part-time work, I would give WritersJA a chance.

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.

MY PROCESS

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)


COMPANY INFORMATION

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: TalkToClark@gmail.com
  • UPDATE!: IRA had been closed a few weeks ago. Now SMMS is being closed! Read below:

ATTENTION ALL WRITERS RE INVOICES BEING PAID / WRITING DUE

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”)

————————————————————————————

OTHER WRITER COMPLAINTS

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.

1.

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.

2.

Hello:
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.

Also, DONT WRITE ANYMORE FOR HIM!!!!!

-K. M.

3.

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.

4.

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.

Emerging Cast: Content Mill Review

Emerging Cast has always been a topic of debate amongst freelancers as to its legitimacy. I had previously worked at this mill and can attest to its authenticity. Emerging Cast ‘hires’ freelancers to provide written content/how-to articles. These articles are then passed on to other freelancers where they are turned into videos. As a result, persons are able to apply as writers, voice over professionals and video professionals. I have only applied to be a writer so I have absolutely no clue of the rates paid for other positions.

ABOUT EMERGING CAST

As a writer you are presented with a list of possibly hundreds of topics. Here is a brief run down of the work:

Position: Writer (other available positions include translators {english to spanish and vice versa} voice over and film maker)

Pay Rate: $1 to $2

Word Limit: min 250 words (max 500 words)

Format:

  • Introduction
  • You Will Need
  • Getting Started (Step 0)
  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Fun Fact

Getting Started to Step 3 includes optional additional entries (Tip, Don’t Forget and Warning)

Time Line: 10 days to complete 1 article (no consequences if rejected or sent back)

Review Period: 10 days for review by editors. If rejected with the opportunity to edit you will receive 10 more days.

REVIEW

click the image to see it full size

I worked for Emerging Cast very early in my career where $1 – $2 was sufficient. There is no way I can work for them now and make a substantial income. However, for those who are looking for something quick and easy to supplement their income then this company may work.

So, down to the important question:

HOW DO THEY PAY

When I first applied for them they stated the option of payments being deposited to a debit card, I assumed this to be a Payoneer card. If you are a freelancer and you have no clue about Payoneer, I suggest you go take a look. However, when I had applied, this option was not available. Speaking with customer service they stated this option wasn’t ready as yet. They do deposit money to Paypal, writers will need to have a threshold of at least $50 before this is done. Also:

Note: Our current payment policy is to process payments on a monthly basis between the 1st and 5th day of each month, for all payments request submitted in the prior month.

And to the last question: Do they pay? Yes.

click the image to see it full size