A good content mill list can really make the difference between a writer wasting their time or actually making a little money. Now, when I say “making a little money,” I mean very little money. Unless you want to invest a ridiculous amount of time and effort into writing for these sites, don’t plan on paying your rent with them. However, if you simply enjoy writing, it’s a fun hobby that can buy you lunch every once and awhile.
At the time of my writing, Yahoo! Voices was actually Associated Content. I wrote on and off here for a couple of years. Because I was still in college, and this was the first content mill I had come across, I was very excited when I realized there was actually potential to make a little money writing small articles. Yahoo! Voices has several options available to writers—you can submit your work for upfront payment, or you can submit it for performance payments only. You can also limit the usage rights so that you can retain the right to publish elsewhere granted you don't submit for upfront payment. Yahoo! Voices is a fun site to start out on. I actually enjoyed my time writing there. They have a nifty little leveling up system that makes a poor attempt to make the writer feel like they're accomplishing something, but in the end, it’s actually kind of fun to see your account grow over time. Performance payments are typically around $1.50 per 1000 views, so you’ll more than likely only build pennies here and there from these kinds of bonuses. Upfront payments usually ranged from $3-$5.
Verdict: Yahoo! Voices is a fun site for those who look at content writing as a hobby only. Yes, you’ll make a few dollars here and there, and no, it’s not a scam. However, Yahoo! Voices does take advantage of the fact that writers are desperate for work these days. With a little more effort and some networking, your articles could be worth substantially more.
Helium has changed dramatically over time. During my time writing for content mills, I mostly wrote for Yahoo! Voices, but ventured over to Helium every once in a while to change things up. At the time, Helium only paid performance bonuses, but a quick look at their website has shown that they have changed their platform up a bit. They now offer exclusive assignments, a marketplace for freelance writers, performance bonuses, and incentive payments.
Verdict: Several years ago I would told you to avoid Helium as a writing platform, but it has changed so much that it’s difficult for me to give an honest assessment. If you’re interested in trying it, you can sign up here:
Demand Studios was the first content mill I found that you had to apply to in order to accept jobs and submit content. At first, I thought I had struck gold. They offered $15 per article and you got to write for sites such as ehow and Livestrong. However, the site managed to diminish greatly over time. Eventually they changed their platform and the vast number of jobs that were once available seemingly vanished. I quit writing for them once it got to the point where finding assignments was more work than writing the actual content.
Verdict: Now, it seems you must become qualified just to gain access to certain areas of the site. It’s possible that Demand Studios could be for you if you want to work a little harder and gain a little more cash than sites like Yahoo! Voices. I plan to do a little exploring of Demand Studios in the future to see what this update is all about.
Constant Content is my favorite content site to write for. You’re able to write freely about mostly anything and place it on their market place for interested buyers. There’s only one catch—their super picky editorial team. In order to get an article accepted in their system, you must look over your article with a fine-toothed comb to ensure there are no grammatical errors. I’m serious- one comma out place? Rejected. However, if you can get past this little bump in the road, there’s actually potential to make some decent money here. Articles typically sell anywhere from $10 to $70 based on your own professional opinion—you set your own prices. There are also public and private requests for content.
Verdict: If you have excellent grammatical skills, Constant Content is a content mill that could pay off for you. The only downside is the unreliability of sales. I had an articles sit for over a year once before it finally sold. You can apply here:
Content mill lists are everywhere. A quick search will allow you to perhaps discover a few that aren’t listed here, or gain a fresh perspective on what works and what doesn’t. It’s really up to you to explore these sites and see if there’s any money making potential. Or, you can simply start your own site and write content for yourself. The potential for writers to make a living is out there; it’s just really hard to find.