However, I would like to point out how I have benefited from writing for Demand Media. During my quarter life crisis, [YES Michael Kimber, I stole this term from you!] I decided I wanted to be a writer. As a former teacher I was not prepared to shell out more dough to go to Journalism school. I found out about Demand Media and thought "This is a way of getting paid to write without hardly any experience."
The first thing I noticed as part of this virtual factory was that every time I submitted an article, it was proofread and revised by an editor. In fact, at least half the time, the article was sent back to me with suggestions on how I could improve it. Since I have started about eight months ago, my grammar, style and voice have improved. I still have a long way to go, but the individual attention for each and every piece I've written, has helped immensely. Sometimes I even get words of encouragement.
Writing for Demand Media has also given me the confidence to start querying print media. So far I have successfully published articles in four local publications and for several virtual clients, making more than the three cents a word that Demand Media pays me.
I have to admit, Basen and his subjects make a point that what I get paid is even EMBARRASSING, especially when it has taken me two hours to write a $15.00 article. But there have been other times I have written an article of the same value within a half hour.
Basen may be incorrect when he says the content lacks quality and reliability. Sure, since we receive low wages we probably aren't willing to spend as much time on an ehow.com article as on a New York Times piece. But for each of my articles, I fully research the subject, usually use between five and six sources and try to use only university and other reputable sites. In fact, editors have even asked me to research other sources if any of mine look fishy. I suspect that since I'm encouraged by editors to produce reliable content, the majority of the writers are held to the same standard.
All in all, I'm not passionate about most of the subjects I cover with Demand Studios. Don't get me wrong - there have been titles like "Earth Day Fun Facts for Kids" or "How to Teach International Art" that I have really enjoyed. I also hope to not depend on Demand Media for my whole writing career, or for much longer. But if I do make it as a freelance writer, which I intend to do, I will have to give a lot of the credit to Demand Media for helping me get started!