OMG I got fired from Demand Studios

I can’t believe what an idiot I am.

I got a rewrite at Demand Studios,right. It happens,right. Honestly,rewrites don’t bother me,but THIS one did. Not because the editor was wrong,but because of the way he communicated the instructions.

I was writing about the Great Smoky Mountains. I checked a map and discovered that they were along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The mountains are on the west border of North Carolina and the Eastern border of Tennessee. I wrote that Tennessee was on the east and NC was on the west. Oops. My bad. An honest,albeit careless mistake.

Anyhow,the rewrite request begins with “You’ve got some serious problems with your geography…”then goes on to say “You should look at a map or something because NC is on the east coast.”

WTF??

Why so harsh? did he really have to mention it twice,in 2 different sentences?

And that’s just one thing the editor was rude about. Insanely rude about the most menial things. I wish I could remember everything,I can’t believe I didn’t save it.

Anyhow. Whenever I get a rewrite I’m uncomfortable with,I close it and come back to it a day or so later. Usually,at second glance,they’re not so bad and I can see past abrasive language and fix the article.

This one was so rude,though. Rewrites sit in the writer’s queue for 4 days,we have 4 days to fix them or they’re considered “abandoned”and we don’t get paid for them. Abandoning an article is a big deal- all the time you spent writing it is wasted. These days it takes me nearly an hour to write an article because I have so many distractions and I LOVE researching the travel articles.

I peeked at this one several times over the 4 days and just couldn’t get past the tone. It made my blood boil. There’s just no reason to be so rude,y’know. It’s just a job,it’s not politics or something. Speak kindly,that’s all I ask.

What I did next was wrong. Don’t try this at home.

In my defense,I had no idea that anyone would read the article after it was abandoned.

Anyway- I wrote a nasty- very nasty note to the editor. I cursed. I vented. And I previewed the article (which saves the note forever,never again to be edited or changed or removed)

I did NOT resubmit the article- so I had no idea that it would be read.

I don’t know if the editor saw it,God I hope not. It was rude. I know two wrongs don’t make a right.

But I got an email tonight saying they couldn’t keep me on as a writer. I’m officially fired from DS.

I didn’t send the note TO the editor,I didn’t resubmit it,I had no idea anyone would be reading it.

This doesn’t exactly feel fair.

I know what I wrote was rude,but I didn’t believe anyone would read it.

I guess I learned my lesson.

Thanks for the good times,DS. I was one of the ones that really liked you.
—————————————-edited to add……
Like the time when I bashed Angela Hoy’s method of “researching”and reporting on so-called content mills,then called her out personally,so other freelancers can steer clear of her nasty ways
And the time I defended the facts in the comments of an article where people were bashing Demand Studios (Actually,I did that a lot)
And the time I was interviewed for WM Freelance Connection and spoke highly of Demand Studios.

Last year at Demand Studios,I made over $10k in my spare time. Over the summer,there were days when I was making over $200 a day,to fund our family vacation. Contrary to what you may think,I’m not a pissed off newbie. I was on the USAToday team,I wrote for trails.com,trails travel,golflink.com,gardenguides.com and eHow.com at $20 per article. I was there for almost 2 years. I’m not a Demand Studios basher,and I never will be. I support my family of 8 with income I earn writing online. I homeschool my kids,volunteer for the humane society,and babysit sometimes. I spend 20 hours a week driving my kids to and from dance,drama,singing,volunteering,and other activities. This is not the whining of a newbie,or a habitual “why me”kind of person. This is the truth,as I have experienced it.

You might also want to read “OMG I’m Writing for DS Again”for the rest of the story. I didn’t “stay”fired.

35 comments to OMG I got fired from Demand Studios

  • It doesn’t make it any easier –but yeah,what you said about doors closing. It’s totally true.

    (((hug)))

  • Elvenrunelord

    I’m sorry to hear that you were dismissed from DS.

    I sorta feel like you do about a different company called ChaCha. I worked with them for over a year and when they started screwing over employees in a major way,I stepped up and make some very strong points about it.

    Within hours they had relieved me. Of course I would not have worked for them at a similar rate of 1 cent per 15-20 words either.

    • I haven’t been released from ChaCha but I also haven’t been paid either. I keep slipping up on the “fax back this form”I think they owe me like $60 or something. I hope they’ve sped up their system a little bit,I was making like $5 an hour there,it wasn’t worth it for me.

  • I’m so sorry that happened to you. I often leave a comment in a rewrite I will abandon,like disagree,will publish elsewhere. Never thought it would be read. I mean,they stay on the desktop forever.
    Put it behind you. I’m sure you’ll soon find something to replace the income. Something with a lot less stress.
    I’m glad you wrote about it so that others know.
    Good luck.

    • Thanks,both of you. I’ve never had all my eggs in one basket,so financially this really won’t be that big of a deal. I think I’ve only written like 20 articles this whole year. But I’m glad to hear that you never thought it would be read either,I mean,have we ever been given any indication that we could use articles-in-draft to communicate with an editor. Think of all the stress we’d save if we knew that we could ask an editor to clarify a rewrite just by saving our comment like that?

      And the article I had awaiting review,I wonder if I’ll end up getting paid for that.

  • And- Mr Editor- if you happen to read this,let me just make something clear to you…. The very first (and there fore most common) definition of the word “brilliant”uses the terms SHINING BRIGHTLY and SPARKLING and GLITTERING and LUSTROUS- all of which can be used to describe the face of a 200 foot snowbank,especially when you’re skiing at night.

    I stand by what I said in my nasty note “If you didn’t like the word,change it.”But don’t waste your time telling me that you don’t like it (that it goes against both the US and the UK meaning of the word) because I don’t care. It wasn’t used wrong and it did convey what I was trying to communicate.

    ————————————————–

    bril·liant? ?[bril-yuhnt] Show IPA
    –adjective
    1.
    shining brightly;sparkling;glittering;lustrous:the brilliant lights of the city.
    2.
    distinguished;illustrious:a brilliant performance by a young pianist.
    3.
    having or showing great intelligence,talent,quality,etc.:a brilliant technician.
    4.
    strong and clear in tone;vivid;bright:brilliant blues and greens;the brilliant sound of the trumpets.
    5.
    splendid or magnificent:a brilliant social event.

  • Arnold Lane

    Don’t sweat it. They did you a favor. Demand Studios sucks. You should only do it if you absolutely have to. Now you can find real clients that pay real money.

  • Barbara

    Lisa,I’m so sorry. I stumbled on this when I was doing some reading on freelancing and client-seeking.
    Sweetie,I’ll miss you and I hope you won’t change your mind about DS —I hope they at least talked to that CE about his manner and tone. Bobbie

    • Thank you,Barbara and Arnold,very much. Barbara,I hope they spoke with him,too. I hope they analyze it very closely to see exactly how rude it is for him to be so repetitive (why did he have to bring up the geography thing twice?) And so ANAL (telling me to reread my AP styleguide- without even being specific about exactly what he had a problem with) and so RUDE (about not liking how I interpreted the meaning of a “resort”because if a company calls themselves a “Ski resort”apparently that’s not good enough for this guy) and telling me that I couldn’t describe a snowbank as brilliant when,according to the definition of a word,it should be.

      I know we’ve phased through a few rude CE’s over the years,but this guy was beyond rude and aside from feeling red-faced at getting caught,I have to say it felt SO GOOD to vent my anger that way. I would never ever ever have written it if I thought it was going to be read. I simply do not talk to people that way.

      Thanks for your words of kindness and Arnold- finding clients is not something I’ll be doing. My niche blogs,my Suite101 and my other writing contract sites give me plenty of opportunity. I really liked the community at DS,I really felt proud to be part of the team there,I loved the ever-changing nature of the job,I loved the other writers and 99% of my interactions with CE’s were positive. My anger at this editor was also on behalf of so many new writers I see who get a bad impression of DS because they get a mean CE. There’s just no reason to be mean. Period. I wouldn’t have done it if I knew anyone would read it. I’d really like to see the editor released,too. He has no business treating people like that.

  • Oh Lisa,I’m so sorry to hear about this. I know you are a survivor and as one door closes another one opens.

    I’ve had increasing frustration with DS and have written only a handful of articles this year with them. Although it’s a quick way to make a couple of bucks,the mounting frustration with a few of the CE’s is hardly worth it anymore.

    I’m hoping they not only get rid of the rude CE,but change their mind and invite you back. You’ve been an asset to DS and it’s a bonehead move to let you go.

    There are other opportunities out there,but with your schedule,I don’t even see how you managed to write so many DS articles. I guess this will give you more time to concentrate on your many other online venues. If I come across anything that sounds like a keeper,I’ll let you know.

  • Stevie

    Lisa,I was sorry to read this! It doesn’t seem fair,but I hope you find some more open doors and find a way to replace your DS income. You did one good thing:alerted other DS writers that what’s written on abandoned rewrites is visible to DS staff. I don’t think most people realised that.
    Stevie

    • Thank you,Stevie and Thank you,Felicia. I have plenty of other open doors,but DS was really one of my favorites. I agree,I hope something good comes of the issue with the CE.

  • MBZ

    Lisa,I’m so sorry this happened. I am very surprised to learn that a saved,but NOT submitted,comment could somehow make its way through the system and be read. I wonder if they use some sort of filtering software that picks up on profanity and it got found that way? Nonetheless,you didn’t actually SUBMIT the comment/article,so I think it’s unfair that they would outright fire you without even a warning.

    It’s a big old word factory,though,and we writers aren’t anything more than another cog in the machine. That’s not a moral statement –just a point of fact.

    Perhaps you can devote more time to residual income?

  • Miguel

    Really,Arnold? What other clients? Where can I find them? I really don’t have any other way to get income,so I guess I can’t really go anywhere else with my writing. I’m sure I’d be accepted to other places,but,as I mentioned,there aren’t any,unless you can enlighten me :)

    Sorry if I come off as harsh,I’m just frustrated like most of us.

    • Miguel- my site is filled with a bunch of resources. Demand Studios is the only place I’ve found with $25 titles and a strong business model. You can get private contracts by bidding for work through rentacoder,elance and guru but you have to take the time to find them,bid on them,send samples,hope you’re accepted and then try to stay in contact with them. You’re right,it’s not as easy as people make it sound but it can be done.

  • MBZ

    You’re welcome –I admire you so much as a writer and have learned a great deal from you. Something you posted last October finally gave me the kick in the pants to start with S101 and boy am I glad! I’m loving it there,and I know you’ve done very well there. Maybe it’s time to turn your laser focus on S101 and other residual sites and ramp up?

    I do hope DS does something with that CE,but sadly I think there is no consistency with anything at Demand. Did you read that they’ve retained Goldman Sachs to prepare for their IPO? That explains a lot of the changes there recently.

    • Oh my goodness,I hadn’t heard that (re:Goldman…) interesting…. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Suite101,they’re my all-time favorite for the long-term revenue and the awesome editor/writer relationship. DS could learn a lot from Suite in that department. The anonymity makes it all to easy to be a jerk. I’d like to think that if that person’s name &face were attached to the communication,he’d be a lot nicer. i’d hope,anyhow.

  • Miguel

    mrshannigan –You have a site? Let me know about it! I’d like to have a look.

    • Miguel- this is my website :) Check the top horizontal bar for “write at these sites”or check a specific site by using the category menu on the left sidebar. I hope that helps :)

  • MBZ

    You know,it only now occurred to me that the editors at DS know our names but we don’t know theirs –unless you’re a Livestrong writer and you can see their name at the end of published articles. You’re right –I’d imagine stripping CEs of anonymity would go VERY far in improving the quality of their comments to writers.

  • That is just yucky,but you’re now free of the stress of DS. I honestly can’t take the stress and drama of them and haven’t written there for a few months. There are tons of content companies now and there are ALWAYS clients who need work done. If you haven’t already,I recommend starting up with Elance. You can get some great gigs there,though it can take a few weeks to get a little feedback built up.

  • Miguel

    I saw the area listing the sites to write in. It’s a rather nice list,but has a lot of rev share sites there. Bills are bills >.<

  • Miranda

    Lisa,that SUCKS. It’s too bad they can’t look past one incredibly frustrating experience and see the entire body of work. You are smart and driven though,you will be just fine! And you didn’t have all of your eggs in one basket. Good luck in whatever comes next!

  • Arnold Lane

    Miguel:
    Sorry,I didn’t realize that Demand was the only place on the planet that hired writers.

    • It’s not the ONLY one,it’s just the highest paying gig and a stable company that always has ton of titles available. Check my article “Places that pay writers up front,”Miguel and hopefully some of those places will help you. Not mentioned on that article is Internet Brands (highest paying article $8,I think) and Break Studios (also $8,I think) So the $20 titles I was getting at DS were really a treat,and I loved writing the travel titles,so that was fun,too. Although if you ask Angela Hoy apparently she knows of “several”places that pay more than DS (though she hasn’t divulged that info to the rest of the world)

  • Candice

    Lisa,I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. I remember you from the DS forums and the funny thing is,I’d read this blog before on several occasions and never realized it was yours. Hang in there.

    Just for everyone’s reference,I heard through the grapevine that IB is offering $10 titles now.

    Miguel,go to Suite101. If you know how to even moderately use your keywords,there is a lot of money to be made there. It spanks what once was eHow. Truly.

  • Hey there,

    Sorry to hear about your firing. I did the same thing –vented and ranted about a CE on a DS forum. And caught hell for it.

    Se we’ve setup a forum for DS writers who need a place to vent.

    http://www.makemoneywithdemandstudios.com/forum

    I’m linking this blog to our site,if it’s ok.

  • JJ

    I was threatened with dismissal after a post in a non-writer forum criticizing certain policies they had. I was told my words were inflammatory and accused of using profanity (for using a non-profane bit of British slang).

    Hopefully,you can move on,from this,to better things.

  • jan

    that’s very sad. i write for demand studios but only several times a week if that. i use them totally for extra cash for movies,dinner night,etc.,but really could care less about the company. i can’t imagine writing for them seriously. there is no standard for editing there at all. one editor leaves you a note to do something,then two articles later a different editor leaves you a note telling you to NOT do what the first editor insisted on with your previous article. but if you have a few extra hours and there’s nothing of interest on tv,why not spend an hour or two making $60 here and there?

    but it sounds like they actually did you a favor. you can make just as much selling items on ebay in your spare time. actually,the only reason i cut back on ebay selling was to write for demand studios. just got tired on going to the post office so often. something tells me i may want to fire up the old ebay account and sell again soon.

  • Trish

    I’ve been with DS for a while now and found that sometimes you just have to breath and do what the editor says. If you have SERIOUS ethical issues kick it in for an editing review. Thus far only 1% of my work has been rejected but I read every single acceptance looking for ideas that I can re-apply later.

    I find that many of us over-think the writing forgetting that our audience is pretty much 7th grade level. I respect that but it also slows your work. Most pieces take me about 45 minutes now,which is cool for the pay. But there many days when I still find DS challenging,yet I’m grateful to be able to support my family like you. Best wishes going forward!

  • Mike

    Funny this because I JUST got fired from there too! My reason is a little less serious than yours but oh so much more ridiculous. I wrote an article which was ~100 words too long. The CE rejected it,I appealed stating ‘the extra words are justified’(it was an instructional article) and,then,I got fired. No response regarding the article or anything. Simply an email stating ‘we are removing your writing priveleges’. I never wrote for them much,but I enjoyed it as I’m not a writer and I learned a lot from them. Its also a shame for them as I am actually an ‘expert’in my field,something that I feel they lack.

  • Catherine

    I used to be a Demand Studios writer. As a matter of fact,I was recently a writer for them. I rarely received rewrite requests although I slowly came to the realization that most of the DS copy editors are on a power trip. They would send back articles for a rewrite based on their own dislikes rather than actual mistakes made. After completing several articles within a week’s time and averaging out at about $1200 for the week (my highest earned week) I was dropped as a writer. I was extremely confused because out of the 80 articles that I had submitted that week,only 1 came back for a review. The rest of my articles were praised by the copy editors. I was told that they were “professional”,“informative”,and “experienced”. Imagine my surprise when they all of a sudden send me an email letting me know that the quality of my writing was not up to par with their expectations. I looked at my scorecard and was confused. I had a 5 out of 5 rating for research and a 5 out of 5 rating for grammar. If that was not up to their expectations then I am truly shocked and appalled. They should be ashamed for their behavior,treating writers that way and not even having the decency of giving them a legitimate reason for letting them go. I am now considering signing up for Break Studios. However,I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction for any other sites that offer pay for professional writers? I have a degree in journalism and over 8 years of professional writing experience (publications such as newspapers and small time magazine companies). Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ahead of time!

  • Jay

    I was “fired”for a similar reason.

    My scores were very high,I was selected as one of Demand’s best writers in a contest,won $250 in that contest,etc. I had virtually no rewrites or rejections.

    Then,I had trouble submitting an article. The article was done several hours before deadline,but the system did not work. I sent several e-mails to Demand and also sent a copy of the article.

    Eventually,the deadline passed and I received “your article has expired”e-mail. I tried to reclaim it,but it wasn’t there.

    Trying to send an article roughly 50 times in a few hours and failing because of DEMAND infuriated me. The e-mail I received said something like “do not respond to this e-mail. The e-mail will not be read and will be sent to an unmonitored website.”

    Believing what I read,I just wrote “F—y”and hit the Send button.

    The next day I was fired for using profanity in a communication to Demand that Demand clearly said was NOT a communication to Demand.

    Unprofessional company. Supervised by morons.

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