Anyone who makes a “living” writing articles on the Web knows things have gotten pretty darn tough lately. Assignments are just about slim to none.Demand Media Studios hit their writers with a sucker punch to the gut when they fired a whole slew of them, then began what they call a First Look Program and now consistently decline to release any assignments. Sure, you can call us freelancers, not worthy of a typical employee status, but pulling the proverbial rug right out from underneath your bread and butter is dirty and underhanded. After all, who’s making all the money and raising your stocks for you, DMS?
The Evil Panda Monster
So what happened? Some (or most) will blame it on the Panda Monster who gobbled up
(Googled up?) the so-called content farms and spit them out on their
low-quality behinds. Article sites like eHow, Suite101 and others were hit hard
and below the belt by the Google Panda. The problem is, not all freelance writers who write for these sites are hacks; sitting at computers in their underwear and informing the public one more time how to unclog a toilet with a plunger. Yes, that was one of mine, but in my defense I write what eHow asks me to write. I did write it while fully clothed, however.
DMS to Begin Relying on Video?
What’s a freelance writer to do? According to the rumors, DMS
is making a move towards video tutorials and away from the written word, but do
they honestly think people prefer to learn everything online via video? Some
subjects simply don’t transfer well into video. Some subjects are far too
involved to be condensed into a five-minute tutorial.
Test the Video-Making Waters
If you’re a writer, you may be wondering if you need to run out and purchase video
equipment and editing software. I don’t think it hurts to diversify. You can easily try your
hand at video tutorials. Most people have a camcorder or a camera with video
recording capabilities. There are some really nice, inexpensive HD video
recorders available. (I did a video review of the Flip UltraHD, which costs just $58.99 at Walmart.com.). Movie Maker comes standard with most computers nowadays. Start a free blog on Blogger or WordPress (although if you chose Blogger you can enable Adsense) and post some video tutorials to get a feel for it.
In this day and age of texting, YouTube, Instant Messaging, Facebook and Twitter, some people might think that reading actual articles online (or just about anywhere for that matter) is passé. I disagree, as do most other writers. It’ll be interesting to see how the eHow drama plays out over the next few weeks.