May 06, 2009
Examiner.com - Just Another Pay-Per-Click Meat Market? | printable version
We received a complaint about the terms this company offers contributors so we decided to check it out.
You've likely seen the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of ads posted on the Internet by Examiner.com, which seems to perpetually need writers. You can bet that anyone posting this many help wanted ads is offering really, really low pay. When examining their site, it appeared, to us at least, to be just another pay-per-click meat market. These types of sites rarely ever earn most contributors even minimum wage. I wrote an article about this long ago. See:
Here are quotes taken from actual Examiner.com help wanted ads.
It's easy to get started and make money with Examiner!
Auto Writers Wanted (or Enthusiasts who want to write!)
Writers/Aspiring Writers Needed
Many of us are experts, we just don't know it!
Being an Examiner allows you to write articles about a subject you love.
These types of sites want YOU to contribute content and then they hope YOU will drive traffic to their site in an attempt to earn a penny or two. They, in turn, earn advertising revenue (more than they'll pay you!!) because of YOUR hard work. They can also earn money reselling your content - but they don't have to pay you if they do that!
Many contributors to these kinds of sites end up earning nothing at all for the many hours they work to create content for these content companies. Many of these sites have a minimum compensation threshold. If you never meet that threshold (many, if not most, don't!), they never have to mail you a check! So, you do all the work after falling for their hype and you end up with NO MONEY for your efforts.
I'd be interested in knowing how many writers Examiner.com has and the total amount they've paid out to "Examiners" since they launched. I'd also be curious how much the highest earners have earned versus the lowest earners. And, I'd be curious to know what percentage of their contributors have earned less than, say, $50 in the past year. I'm also wondering how long it takes to write a typical article for them and what the pay breaks down to by hour - for the average "examiner", of course. I bet they wouldn't give me any of this info.
IF YOU WRITE FOR EXAMINER.COM, PLEASE CONTACT ME. Your anonymity will be protected. Email: angela - at - writersweekly.com
I have read comments by some contributors online and I couldn't find any that stated any impressive earnings. (Perhaps they're too embarrassed to admit how little they've earned compared to the time expended?)
So, what about Examiner.com raised a red flag for us?
1. They reportedly pay 1 penny per page view. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Even if it was double that, it would be hysterically and insultingly low. So, if you email 20 friends and ask them to read your article - and 5 actually do bother to click - you've earned a whopping 5 cents. Whoo hoo!!!
2. They claim you retain rights to your work. But, read the fine print:
However, by uploading, posting, transmitting or otherwise making any User Content available on or through this Site, you are granting Examiner.com, and its parent, subsidiaries, and affiliates, an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to copy, modify, publish, distribute publicly, and prepare derivative works of such User Content in any medium or form, without any obligation of notice, attribution or compensation to you.
If somebody else has these rights to your work, the resale value of your article is likely zero. You can't sell first rights to anyone else and you have to let any potential buyer know that you've already given these generous (and entirely unnecessary!) rights to another company. It appears they're a content meat market as well!
3. They do background checks on all "examiners." You may or may not agree with me on this but I think this is a gross intrusion in exchange for paying ONE PENNY per page view. Ridiculous...
4. Their contract doesn't "guarantee" any payment rate at all! See the note at the end of this article.
BELOW IS A COMMENT WE RECEIVED ABOUT EXAMINER.COM:
I am writing to give you and your readers a heads-up about Examiner.com. They are advertising all over the web for writers and I recently applied for a job with them. The initial information that they provide to their prospective writers is that you will make about a penny per page view and that you get to keep your content.
However, a careful review of their writer's agreement reveals (and I had a lawyer friend read this with me) that they never promise to pay you at all. They "may" pay you, based upon incentives, etc.
In addition, even though they claim that you own your content, there is one clause that indicates that they may use your content in derivative work (no definition given of exactly what constitutes derivative work) AND copyright it.
Now, this part is all hearsay, but I found blog notes on the web that indicated that they originally paid their writers 2.5 cents per page view, so they appear to be shifting their pay rate down with time. They do seem to be paying their writers right now, although the pay rates that I've heard seem awfully low.
You might have already had complaints about this, but I just wanted to let you know.
Read the comments under this post:
WritersWeekly was forwarded an email that was sent to a potential "examiner" that confirms the 1 penny per page view...but that also says, "We do not guarantee a rate."
That means they could pay you ZERO per page view if they so desired. They are not under any contractual obligation to pay you ANYTHING AT ALL!