Regular readers of MALW know that I am not a fan of content mills. We had one of our liveliest-ever discussions here a few posts back about Demand Studios’ IPO plans, which to my mind revealed more reasons to be wary of the popular content factory.
As a result of my position that $20 an article is not a fair wage and that writers can do better, I’ve been called an elitist snob and worse.
So it may surprise some to learn that I recently told my husband that he should work for Demand.
Why? Because he is one of those people who are in a perfect position to benefit from a short stint at the Demand factory.
My husband is not a writer — he’s a Web video producer. He is a UCLA film-school graduate who worked in TV for years, and now he’s getting back into the visual arts. He’s a very talented visual artist, but to be frank, marketing is not his strength. He’s put together a couple of nice samples, but he’s having trouble translating that into paying clients.
In other words, he is perfect for Demand. Yes, they only pay $100 a video, which given the additional hours it takes to go out and shoot and then edit a video, I’m sure makes it roughly equivalent to Demand’s writer payments in terms of an hourly rate. So the situation is basically the same as for writers who contemplate writing articles for Demand.
It will be work for peanuts. But right now, for him, that will be a step up!
A few Demand assignments should be able to give him a few more samples and round out his portfolio. It’ll also give him experience taking assignments and meeting deadlines. It’ll get him in the habit of going out and making videos on a regular basis. I really see it as all good — for now.
The key to this idea is that he shouldn’t hang around Demand very long. Once he has a complete portfolio, he should be movin’ on up.
I’ve said it before, but it’s often been lost in the din of outrage that I’ve dared suggest mills aren’t the best new invention since the Internet… Mills have their place. For a brand-new artist who needs to get their feet wet, they’re great. For writers who don’t have the time for marketing or an interest in earning big, they may be the only game in town.
If you do have dreams of making a high-earning, award-winning type of career out of it, the trick is not to hang around places like DS and get hooked on these low pay rates — and get lazy about marketing. You can bet once he’s got a nice-looking portfolio, I’ll be suggesting my husband go out and find his own clients.
Photo via Flickr user loop_oh