EDITOR’S INTRO: I’ve been trying for ages to get a detailed Textbroker review up on the site. I was determined to wait until I found someone who’d put proper effort into working for this content mill, rather than someone who’d given it a go for a just a couple of weeks. I’m pleased to say I finally found that person!
Heather has written 150+ articles for Textbroker, so is in a perfect position to provide a thorough and honest review – the kind we specialise in here at HomeWorkingClub. She’s also been kind enough to richly scatter her Textbroker review with lots of insider tips for earning more money on the platform.
Let’s get started!
What Is Textbroker?
Textbroker is a content mill – an online company that relies on freelance writers to provide digital content for their clients at a low cost. Customers sign up with the site to order different articles for their blogs or websites, and authors choose from a pool of writing assignments to complete.
Textbroker acts as the middleman, facilitating the platform for the work, collecting payments from clients, and disbursing payments to writers once an assignment is completed.
If you have been writing for any length of time, there is a good chance you may already have heard of Textbroker. It was the brainchild of Jan Becker-Fochler, and the first content marketplace to go online in 2007.
Textbroker operates all over the world with writers in various different countries. To find out if you can write for Textbroker in your country, you can click on the flag on their homepage and use the drop-down menu to see if you can find it. This Textbroker review is based on the company’s US-based website.
Registering with Textbroker
The registration process is straightforward. You have to provide your personal information, pass a few basic tests for grammar and spelling, and provide the company with an original writing sample.
If you are accepted, you are required to email them some documentation like tax information and a photo of your state issued ID or driver’s license. This is a requirement to get paid. The identity verification takes a few days (to a week), but you can start working on the site while you wait. You must have a PayPal account to receive payments.
While you wait for your documents to be approved, you can build out your profile. There are sections to input a resumé (with no contact information allowed), education, experience, the type of writing you specialize in, up to three original unsold article samples, the languages you speak, your hobbies and interests, and where you have travelled. There is also an option to set a profile picture and select your direct order rate (more on this later).
The Textbroker Rating System
Textbroker has a star rating system that determines how much you are paid per word. When you first begin writing for Textbroker, your rating is determined by the quality of your initial writing sample and the tests you take. The site’s editors review every fifth article you write for grammar, spelling, content, etc. Submitting high-quality content helps you improve your rating. You are permitted to accept writing assignments that are categorized in your star rating or below.
I began at three stars and moved up to four stars within a week or two, which wasn’t too difficult. You do have to be careful to maintain the same quality writing level or you risk being demoted to a lower star rating. This has not happened to me, but I have heard complaints of it from other writers. However, if you improve your writing, you can move back up and regain your ranking; It is not permanent.
Here is what Textbroker pays per word based on your star rating:
- 2 stars: Average quality content: 0.7 cents per word.
- 3 stars: Good quality content: 1.0 cents per word.
- 4 stars: Very good quality content. 1.4 cents per word.
- 5 stars: Excellent quality content: 5 cents per word.
(To become a 5-star author your writing has to be nearly perfect. You also have to pass a complex proofreading test).
Completing Assignments on Textbroker
Open assignments are listed in an “author pool” by star level. You can search within your dashboard to find all the assignments available to you at your writing level. There is a brief description, the rate of pay, the number of words required, and the amount of time allotted to complete the order.
The types of assignments available are varied. I have written product reviews for work boots and welders, rewrites for brochures, and even some interesting pieces on topics ranging from how to choose the best air freshener for your car, to the best places to go surfing in Puerto Vallarta!
To get more details about an assignment, you click on it and a page opens up listing the client’s requirements including keywords, writing style, specific instructions and more. While you are looking at the assignment, it is temporarily removed from the author pool while you decide if you want to complete it. You have ten minutes to peruse it and choose whether you are interested in writing the piece or not. You can only accept one order at a time.
I recommend you consider a few things while you look over an article:
– Figure out if HTML is required, what the keyword requirements are, and how many links need to be included before accepting an article. These tasks take extra time. There are also instances where the keyword list is ridiculously long. This can make the quality of your writing choppy, which could affect your rating.
– Do some quick preliminary research on the subject matter to see what is out there. If you are unfamiliar with the topic, this is especially important. It will help you get a general idea of how much digging you will need to do to have enough information to write an informative article.
– Check the client’s profile by clicking on their client ID number, which is highlighted in dark orange. Here, you will find their basic data, including their rejection rate and revision rate. If the client has a high rejection rate, you might want to skip them.
Before realizing that I could review this information, I took an assignment that was sent back for several revisions. The client was unnecessarily rude and even after the changes, rejected the article. (It was my first rejection on the site, and I was devastated!)
Had I read the client data, I would have seen that this client habitually rejects over 50 per cent of assignments. There is an option on the client data screen to block future assignments from them if something like this happens.
Writing your Articles
Once you choose an article to write, click accept and you are ready to begin the assignment. A box appears where you enter your text. I strongly recommend you write your article in Word or Google Docs, and copy and paste it into the Textbroker interface. Not only will this ensure that your work is saved, you will also have a copy of the article for yourself.
Once you submit an article, it is gone, never to be seen again. I don’t know about you, but I like to look at my hard work now and again and use it as needed in my portfolio. (Note that you cannot publish it anywhere else, as you are selling complete ownership of the article to the client.)
Once you are finished and everything looks complete, you hit submit and you are done. Now you simply wait for the client to send it back for a revision or accept it. (You can start a new assignment while you are waiting.) If the client is unhappy with an article, they are required to send it back for at least one revision before rejecting it.
When you’re first starting, sometimes an editor will also send it back for changes and give you some “constructive criticism.” If you are super sensitive, like I am, this may come across as harsh. Don’t do what I did and cry about it. (Yes, I did!) Just graciously accept it as a way to improve your skills and do what is asked. In retrospect, these learning experiences have been invaluable.
Unlike Copify (which does pay but can take up to a month), a client on Textbroker only has four days to accept your article. If they forget to do this once the deadline has passed, the article is automatically approved. To me, this is definitely a “pro.” Provided that your writing is of good quality, you are virtually guaranteed to get paid. Rejections are uncommon. (I have only had two rejections out of 158 articles I’ve written. The first I mentioned previously and the second was the only way to resolve a technical issue and both the client and I agreed to it).
If you can’t complete the article in the allotted time, it automatically expires and goes back into the writing pool. This can prove frustrating if you have half of it done already. One workaround for this is if it looks like the deadline is closing in too fast you can cancel the order (saving all your work first), then let it go back into the author pool. You can then refresh your screen and immediately accept the order again. This gives you another day to complete your work, but you can only do it once per article.
You are not penalized for cancelling an order or for letting it expire, but as a courtesy to other writers (and the clients!) you should cancel it as soon as you know you aren’t going to complete it. This allows it to become available for someone else to write.
Getting Paid by Textbroker
You need to have at least $10 in your account to get paid. To find out how much is in your account, you look in the payout tab. This is also where you request payment. You need to do this manually by 11:59 pm Pacific time on Thursdays.
Your pay is deposited to your Paypal account on Friday, before the end of the day. I have always been paid like clockwork before noon, EST. There are no Paypal fees incurred for receiving your Textbroker pay.
If you make more than $600 in a calendar year, Textbroker will send you a 1090 form for filing your taxes. You can download your income statements right from the site by clicking on each week’s payment. Be sure to keep this information in mind well before tax time, especially if you know you are going to have to pay self-employment tax.
How To Increase Your Textbroker Earnings
In addition to moving up levels to increase your earnings, there are a couple of other ways to make more money on Textbroker:
If a client is impressed by your work, they have the option of requesting you for another project. This is called a direct order. You can set your own direct order price and you can even set different rates for different customers.
Textbroker doesn’t restrict you on this so you can configure your direct order price however you like. However, it should be reasonable enough to ensure that clients want to place an order with you. I have set my direct order price at approximately double the regular rates, and I do receive a couple of these orders each week. You can experiment with the rates and also negotiate them with the customer through the internal messaging system.
One way I get direct orders is to send a thank you message to the client and let them know I enjoyed working on their article. I say that if they would like it revised or altered, I would be happy to do so. I also remind them that if they would like to work with me again, they have the direct order option. I think this small bit of communication makes a difference.
Important Note: Never give your outside contact information to a client. This is a violation of the site’s guidelines. The only way to directly communicate with a client is through the internal messaging system. I learned the hard way that the editors read these messages as well, so don’t attempt to bypass the system by including your email or advertising your services outside of Textbroker. I was fortunate enough to get off with a warning.
A second way to increase your earnings is to apply to be a member of one or more Textbroker teams. Team orders are for managed clients who typically have bulk orders. The pay for these is higher, sometimes nearly double. To apply for a team you need to have a 4 or 5-star rating. Most teams have a brief application that requires a quick writing sample. If you are accepted, team orders show up on the left of your screen whenever they are available.
You are allowed to take a team order and an order from the general writing pool at the same time. (You can also do this with direct orders) Team orders sometimes have a longer approval time than general orders.
I apply to as many teams as I can to increase the amount of work available. I have had great success with this. One of the teams I belong to is for a managed client that pays $58 for a 2000 word review of campgrounds. At first, these articles took me a couple of days to complete. As I grew accustomed to them, I was able to create a template that helps me write them in under four hours. On weeks when there is a large number of these articles in the team order pool, I can make above average payouts.
Is Textbroker Legit?
Absolutely. It costs nothing for you to join, and you are never asked for any fees to be a member. They also have a good track record for paying on time.
The negative Textbroker reviews that I read are primarily related to their rates of pay, which are not great. However, if you can really hustle, you can make at least a part-time income.
You are not going to get wealthy on this site, but you will receive the money you earn like clockwork every Friday, provided you remember to cash out. Clients are required to fund projects before a writer picks them up to work on, and there is a good system of checks and balances in place that ensures that neither clients nor writers can abuse the system.
Textbroker Review Verdict
I will end this Textbroker review with some pros and cons of working on the site.
– Textbroker provides an opportunity to improve your writing habits. If you have time on your hands, you could even think of it as a writing class with benefits. It requires you to learn how to do better research, improve your typing, write faster, and learn some new skills.
– Everything is very clear-cut. The site is pretty easy to navigate, and there is no complicated system to learn.
– It can add to your current income a little bit during lean times, or when you want to save for something special.
– Payment is quick and reliable.
– The pay is dismally low compared to some other sites. Even at the five-star author level, the rates are well below the industry standard. A writer at the five-star level can easily make more at Textbroker alternatives like Upwork, Fiverr, or by finding gigs on freelance job boards.
– You are at the mercy of editors who are sometimes picky, and can demote you for small grammar mistakes.
– You sell all the rights to your work, making it harder to build a portfolio that contains your own byline.
Even with the low pay rates, I am glad I started working on Textbroker. Friends and family had been telling me for years to find a way to make money with my writing skills, but I didn’t know how. The site opened up a way for me to learn more and make some extra cash.
Even though it was crappy compensation (especially at first), it was MY VERY OWN crappy compensation! I recommend it to anyone who is new to paid writing.
What about you? Do you have experience with Textbroker or other content mills? Do you have any feedback on my Textbroker review? Share your thoughts in the comments!
The pay's not great and - yes - it's a content mill, but it's somewhere for determined beginners to get started and earn consistent money.
- Ease of use
- Earning Potential