New Writing Opportunity: SearchInfluence.com

I came across this website looking for freelance writers this week. They were looking for all the kinds of writing I do: website copy, blog posts, online articles, press releases and social media posts. There were testimonials scrolling across their site from their writers saying how much they loved writing for them.  I decided I might as well apply and see what it is all about.

The site is SearchInfluence.com.

I started working through their application process. I really liked how they had it set up.

Instead of asking you to simply provide samples of your writing, they ask you to write fresh copy for each type of writing you wanted to apply for. They gave you some basic parameters and a word count range for your sample.

Having to write fresh copy for each of those areas takes quite a bit of time. I had plenty of existing published work I could have used as my writing samples, so why would I say that I “liked” their application process? What I liked about it was that it put everyone on an equal playing field, the newbie writer with no samples and the experienced writer with plenty to draw from.

So, I spent the morning writing out my fresh copy for each area: website copy, blog post, social media etc. Once I had completed every area I wanted to apply to, I submitted my application and they promised to send me details about their pay rates.

Sure enough. I immediately received an email in my inbox thanking me for my application and explaining their pay rates.

I was so disappointed!

Rather than tell you what it said in my words, I’ll just copy and past the info here for you to read for yourself:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for your interest in Search Influence! We will review your entry, and get in touch if it looks like you are a good fit for our team.

How much do we pay?

pennies-15727_150

Pay is tied to our grading system. All content is graded on a 1-5 scale, with five being the highest. If an assignment receives a grade of 1 or 2 it will be sent back for a rewrite. A grade of three earns $4, a grade of four gets $5, and the highest grade of five gets $6.

Don’t worry, we will work with you to make sure you’re making the most of your efforts. Our editorial team would be ecstatic if every piece was a “5”.

Our best writers may have access to higher value content as well.

When will I get paid?

We pay every other Friday by PayPal for each piece which has made it through the editorial process.

What kind of deadline will I have?

Deadlines are based on business demands, and can range from 24 hours to 5 days.

We look forward to working with you. Thanks again for your interest.

If you feel this isn’t a fit for you please do us the courtesy of emailing Content@SearchInfluence.com as soon as possible so we don’t spend unnecessary time reviewing your work.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They don’t mention how long each piece of content is that will earn you the $4-$6, but if it is similar to the sample writing, I’m guessing about 400 words.

If that is the case, $4 would be a penny a word. $6 would be .015.  I can make more than that through Textbroker.

I did follow their request and email them back to tell them if the rates were at .01 – .015 cents a word, I would not be interested in writing for them.

For someone starting out or just trying to make a few extra dollars here and there, it might be fine. I’m certainly not implying that you shouldn’t write for them. That’s your choice. I just can’t make a full time living off of that kind of pay.

Any SearchInfluence writers out there?

I’d love to hear from a freelance writer who actually writes for SearchInfluence.com.  If you do, what has been your experience? Do they offer much higher pay for those who excel? How tough is it to make a 5 star rating?

 

10 Comments New Writing Opportunity: SearchInfluence.com

  1. Chris Henson (Search Influence)

    Hi Kathleen,

    I just wanted to update you and your readers on our continued effort to improve our overall freelance writer experience here at Search Influence, including the application process and pay rates. We regularly review all of our policies and rates to make sure they are on par with the general freelance community across the internet.

    As Ray previously replied, we have raised (even doubled) our pay rates significantly since this blog was published. We have also recently added even more content types and foreign language content opportunities, also with highly competitive pay rates. More experienced writers and those who prove themselves reliable and consistent are afforded even more opportunities, including testing out new task types and working on more specialized content, all of which offer even higher pay rates as well.

    Though we have a solid core group of freelance writers that we are very happy with, we are constantly looking for new writers. To make sure we put our best foot forward, we continuously make tweaks to our application process to ensure that we are up front and transparent with all applicants about the workload, the writing and editing processes, and our pay rates. We are dedicated to being straightforward and timely in these matters and in all of our communications with freelance writers and applicants.

    And as we continue to grow our freelance community, we look forward to engaging you and others on how we can continue to improve in all areas. Please feel free to reach out to me directly for more information or to discuss these issues further at content@searchinfluence.com. And thank you again for your feedback; it was greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Chris Henson
    Search Influence
    Freelance Community Coordinator

    Reply
  2. Raymond Whitlow (Search Influence)

    Kathleen,

    Thanks for the compliment on our application process. We look for writers with many backgrounds, so it’s good to hear that our application puts everyone on equal footing.

    We’ve also addressed some of your concerns, especially with writer payment. We doubled our pay rates, and we’ve made improvements to our software so writers have an easier time selecting tasks.

    Last quarter, over 65% of tasks received a “5” grade. We’re always working on ways to help more writers produce great content, such as adjusting our grading scale and standardizing feedback. I also respond to every writer enquiry about grades, either by explaining the editor’s reasoning or, where appropriate, adjusting the grade.

    We’re constantly working to improve the experience of the freelancers writing for Search Influence. You can read more about the improvements on our blog: http://www.searchinfluence.com/2015/08/the-write-stuff-search-influences-freelancer-community/

    Reply
  3. HS

    Just started writing for them. I have decided that since they allow several days to complete their articles that I will just pick one so that I will have something to do when my other content mill jobs dry up for a spell.

    Editors seem very picky for the boring topics they offer. When I wrote my last article the editor mentioned doing more research. If I had not done research I could not have written the article in the first place. The pay is pitiful for what they want from a writer, but again, I am learning to work these content mills to my advantage, because at the end of the day that what they are doing to us.

    I have a day job so I am mainly testing the waters with content mills as a way to earn some play money when I retire in a few years. I do make a little extra money for shopping, eating out and to purchase gifts, etc.

    Reply
  4. Sharon Therien

    Hi Kathleen,
    Thank you so much for posting about Search Influence. I really wanted to know what they pay before I went through their extensive application process, so I really appreciate you posting that. Now, I know to skip this opportunity because like you, I can make much more elsewhere.

    Reply
      1. Joseph

        I have been working with them for quite a while but they would never give you a 5-star. They also take forever to review these articles and It can be quite frustrating. I would love to get a text broker account to maximize on my earnings.

        Reply
  5. Bk

    Hi Kathleen, I stumbled across this post doing a Google search for reviews on Search Influence. I have been writing for them for just about a month now. I am a strong writer, having graduated top of my class from a top 5 in the nation journalism school, and having worked as both a writer and editor for various publications over the last 6+ years. At my most recent job, I maintained the company’s website, social media, and blog, but I had to leave a few months ago due to health problems. My boyfriend makes more than enough with his job to pay the bills, but I wanted to be bringing in money to give us more of a cushion. So Search Influence seemed like a great opportunity for me.

    I have written website content, press releases, articles, blogs, and social media updates for Search Influence. My average grade on all content is 4.1 out of 5. I’ve had a few pieces receive a grade of 5, but most have received 4. I’ve been extremely frustrated with it this past week because it seems like every writer grades on a different scale. I had one article last week that received a grade of 5 with only a few minor changes, which included formatting the spacing and a couple minor grammatical issues. I received almost exactly the same feedback on a piece the day before that got a grade of 1! According to their grading scale, content that receives a 1 is “completely unusable” and mine was VERY usable – it just needed the spacing formatted differently and the grammatical issues. I’ll also receive arbitrary feedback from one editor who points out something that I have apparently been doing wrong the entire month, but no one has told me until one editor randomly points it out and deducts points. An example of this is word count. I had a point deducted from my score yesterday because an editor said I needed to get to 500 words. The guidelines say articles should be “approximately” 500 words. This particular article was 455. All my articles have been in the 450-500 word range and no editor has deducted points for that or even mentioned it to me until this one. Then today I had a different editor tell me that all content should be OVER the word limit to allow for editor. Again, this is the first anyone has told me that, and it’s nowhere in the guidelines, but I got a point deducted.

    Starting this past Monday, Sept. 15, Search Influence changed the pay scale. This is to encourage writers to producer higher quality content, they said. Now a grade of 3 earns $4, a grade of 4 earns $6, and a grade of 5 earns $12 (except for articles, where a grade of 5 earns $10). But they are making it impossible to actually get a grade of 5. I had a blog post graded today where the only changes the editor made were to add one comma and to change the word “and” to “but”. This received a grade of 4. So those two very small edits knocked my pay in half! I put a lot of time and research into all of my pieces, so I’m getting extremely frustrated. I actually just sent an email about this to the content lead and the CEO. Not sure it will make a difference but I hope they will take some of my feedback into consideration.

    Anyway, I hope some of your readers find this review helpful if they’re considering Search Influence. I will be looking for freelance opportunities from other companies now. It’s just not worth it!

    -Bk

    Reply
  6. Susan Smith-Grier

    It’s so disappointing to hear that the work writers do is still not that appreciated monetarily speaking. I’m going to order the new Writer’s Market and work on submitting directly to magazines. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now that I’ve had the experience of writing for a couple, I think I’m ready to take the plunge and go full force into old fashioned magazine writing – even though there is little that is old fashioned about it now days!

    One of the magazines I’m writing for now is a neighborhood magazine in California. I’m assuming there must be some of those markets in the Writer’s Market book, but do you know anything about searching out those types of smaller mags or zines to write for? I’m assuming they have online versions too. I figure a few of the smaller markets – even if the pay isn’t that great – is a way to move up to the high paying jobs and if one is fairly decent, the pay is still considerably better than places like SearchInfluence. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Kathleen Krueger (@crafterofwords)

      I find regional and smaller magazines, especially, newer ones often put out ads on craigslist and journalismjobs.com. Google is your friend, as I always say. Searching for magazine publishers can be a good way to go. Most magazine publishers have several magazines they put out within a particular niche. Trade type magazines remain one of the best paying markets for writers. Searching for magazines related to an industry you have worked in can create some leads.

      Although magazine articles may pay better per word, they may not provide the volume of work that you can get from some other types of writing.

      Reply

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