The Truth About Textbroker

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Have you ever considered writing for content mills like Textbroker?

Are you currently?

Is it because you read one of the many, many nauseating posts from work at home blogs that say why yes gullible dummiesthese ARE legitimate and they DO pay you!!!1 …and then (hopefully) discovered that the reality isn’t quite as nice as they crack it up to be?

In this post, I’ll be making the case against Textbroker and similar sites.

What You Will Learn in this Post:

  • Why Textbroker and other content mills are a waste of your time
  • No, really, they’re a HUGE WASTE OF YOUR TIME
  • What you should be doing instead


I’m not one to mince my words, so I’m going to give it to you straight.

Textbroker is junk pretty bad horrible and you shouldn’t be working for them.

In fact, if you’re a halfway decent writer at all, you shouldn’t be working for any content mills.

There are no good content mills. I don’t care what the latest freelance writing or “work at home mommy” blog you’ve read has to say about them.

Demand Media? Sucks.

iWriter? Sucks.

wiseGEEK? Lord help me, run in the other direction now.

I’m not above admitting that I’ve written for these kinds of operations before during lean times. That’s how I know exactly what a terrible idea it is. It was a stupid waste of my time and I’d like to see you avoid making the same mistake.

How it Works

Just in case someone reading this is unaware of how Textbroker works, it’s more or less like this:

1.) Someone needs content for their site or blog or ebook or whatever it is that they’re developing.

2.) They don’t want to do it themselves or, heaven forbid, pay a decent writer a reasonable rate, so they place an order with a site like Textbroker.

3.) Textbroker places the order into a larger pool so that writers/victims can select the work and complete it.

4.) Someone picks the order, writes it, and after a lengthy 72+ hour approval process might have the privilege to be able to proceed to step #5.

5.) Writer/dog eagerly awaits their scraps to be paid out via PayPal on Fridays.

Some are better and some are worse, but this is essentially how all content mills work. In a few cases the content mills publish the content themselves rather than accepting orders from customers (e.g., wiseGEEK), but this model has been dying out as of late since it heavily relies on SEO to generate revenue, and Google continues to heap loads and loads of fecal matter on the rankings of content farms.

How Freelance Writers Get Stuck in the Textbroker et al. Rut

turtle on backTextbroker (and others) pay next to nothing. At the time of this writing, Textbroker coughs up a whopping $0.014 per word at the 4-star rating – that’s just under a penny and a half. Again, if you’re a halfway decent writer with English as your first language, you should be insulted by a rate like this. Even ESL writers can do better.

So why do otherwise good writers get sucked into writing for Textbroker?

It can be mathematically expressed with a simple equation:

(Convenience + Desperation) * (Not Knowing Better / Allure of “Easy” Topics) = Writing for Textbroker.

Basically, if you’re desperate, Textbroker sounds like a good idea. Their main selling point is that they “do all the work” of finding clients for you. How easy – you just log in, pick something to write, and you’re on your way to untold riches!

…Except it’s more like $50 if you really, really work your butt off.

Let me put it to you this way. I write a lot. An average day for me is anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 words. At Textbroker’s rates, that’s $42 to $70.

For the amount of work and skill involved, that’s bad. Really, really bad.

But here’s why writers still do it: if you’re capable of cranking out about 1,000 words per hour and you have a 4-star Textbroker rating, you’re looking at about $14/hour.

It beats flipping burgers, but not by much – by the time you write enough content to have made, say, $100 in a day, you’ll have completely fried your brain. The odds of you getting more productive work done (like finding better paying clients or working on your personal projects) is probably zilch.

“Oh, I’ll just do it in my downtime,” you might be thinking. “I’ll write for Textbroker between assignments from my actual clients.”


If you have “downtime,” guess what you should be doing with it?

That’s right – working on finding better clients or, better yet, developing your own projects.

Textbroker Will Eventually Screw You Over

Basically, Textbroker is the domestically abusive husband of the work at home game.

I’m not saying that Textbroker won’t pay you – they will.

But consider for a moment the star rating system: it ranges from 1 to 5. The amount you earn per word is based on your star rating. The vast majority of semi-decent writers get placed at a 4-star rating out the gate, which as I said above is $0.014/word.

If I recall correctly, to get a 5-star rating you have to pass a grammar quiz and jump through some other hoops – except it doesn’t really matter, since 5-star orders are few and far between. Point is, most Textbroker writers/slaves will be at four stars.

So, we’ve already established that the pay is low. The solution for most writers is to simply write quickly. And for most writers, that means producing pretty meh content.

You can float for a while on submitting quickly written junk, but eventually a Textbroker employee will review your submissions. If what you’ve submitted is bad enough, you’ll probably get your star rating bumped down to a three or lower.

But wait! Textbroker will let you redeem yourself – all you have to do is write a ton of 3-star orders for even less money and do a really good job on them so that during your next review they’ll be gracious enough to push you back to a 4-star rating.

A desperate enough writer might even do this. It leads to a vicious cycle.

Basically, Textbroker is the domestically abusive husband of the work at home game.

Make no mistake about it: Textbroker does not care about you. They have a line running out the door filled with desperate writers clawing at one another to get access to those sweet, sweet pennies penny and a half per word. So if you get an editor reviewing your content and they don’t like it, or they spilled their coffee, or they’re in a bad mood, or their wife stopped having sex with them years ago and they need someone to take it out on, et cetera, they’ll drop your rating faster than a drunk girl in high heels.

If this risk doesn’t apply to you because you’re one of those special (head) cases where you actually do put effort into your submissions, well, you’re probably making well under $10/hour.

All I have to say about that is…


Seriously, really? Is that all you’re worth?

The Other Side of the Fence: Why You Shouldn’t Hire Writers Through Textbroker

average textbroker writerJust a quick note for anyone considering outsourcing their content through Textbroker. While yes, it is possible that you’ll get lucky and find that one “diamond in the rough” (read: writer who doesn’t know better), odds are you’re going to get pretty garbage content most of the time.

And you know what? It’s not even the writer’s fault. See above. They HAVE to produce garbage content because they HAVE to work quickly for Textbroker to be even remotely worth their time.

On the (thankfully) few occasions I’ve written for Textbroker, I’ve clocked in at well over 1,000 words per hour. There’s no time to do research or put any kind of meaningful thought into it at that pace – you just write quickly, submit, and hope it gets accepted.

The content you’ll get from Textbroker will almost always be mediocre, even at the 4-star rating. Is it as bad as half-a-cent-per-word content from a foreign writer? No, probably not, but it certainly won’t be “magazine quality.”

Do yourself and your brand a favor and hire an actual writer – one who might even give a crap about producing high quality content.

What to Do Instead

The running theme throughout this post has been that there are better ways to spend your time than writing for Textbroker.

Don’t let that $14/hour suck you in. If you’re a good writer, you can earn way, way more.

Spend your time getting good clients or developing your own projects.

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