There’s never been a better time to be a writer… or at least that’s what I’ve been told. There’s two sides to that story, but one thing is certain; websites like Textbroker make it a lot easier to get started.
A lot of these sites are scams though, so which ones can you trust? Is Textbroker legit? In this review I’ll go over that and discuss the following topics…
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Course Hero. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What Is Textbroker?
Textbroker is a content marketplace that connects freelance writers with clients to collaborate on projects that include product descriptions, press releases, web copy, blog posts, technical articles, white papers, social media posts and news stories.
Their client base ranges from small and large businesses to independent bloggers and publishing houses.
Personally… I recommend writing for yourself as it’s far more lucrative, but content mills like Textbroker do have their place in the work-at-home industry.
Founded in 2007 by Jan Becker-Fochler in Germany, Textbroker is now headquartered in Las Vegas and one of the most popular content marketplaces.
Is Textbroker a Scam?
No… Textbroker is not a scam, but when your business involves a work-at-home/make money online opportunity, people get suspicious.
As home-based freelancing becomes more common I think perceptions will change, but for now… any company operating in this industry will be dealing with the inevitable scam accusations and comparisons.
And for good reason…
There’s a lot of scams out there. Some content marketplaces have a reputation of doing things like cancelling accounts for no reason and finding creative ways to avoid paying their writers.
That’s not the case with Textbroker.
Having said that… the reason you may have heard (or read) that Textbroker isn't legit is because of the low pay. It’s hard enough to make good money as a freelance writer... but with Textbroker it's unlikely you'll even earn minimum wage.
Does that mean they're not legit?
The important word here is “freelancer”. You are effectively a contract worker managing a home business and Textbroker is your client. You have full discretion whether to accept or refuse a project, but because you’re not an employee, there are no minimum pay obligations.
With an estimated 100,000 writers and financial backing from Viewpoint Capital, Textbroker has a good reputation of being reliable and paying on time. They are definitely legit.
How Does It Work?
Becoming an author for Textbroker is a four-step process…
I’m not sure why, but Textbroker is asking for a lot here. Maybe too much. But, it’s their site… so their rules.
You will need to provide your name and email of course, but you’ll also be asked for your full address, phone number, profession, date of birth and gender. They’ll also need for proof of US residency and a selfie showing your ID using your web or laptop cam.
If you’re a non-US writer, I’ll talk more about that below and explain how you can still write for Textbroker.
2. Submit a Writing Sample
Once you’ve registered you can either write a sample on a topic of your choosing, or provide one that you already have. It needs to be a minimum of 200 words and on something you’re familiar with.
3. Rating Assignment
It may take a week or two before you hear back from them after you’ve submitted your sample, at which point Textbroker’s editors will assign you a ranking between 2 and 5 stars. Your ranking determines the projects you work on and your pay rate.
4. Setting Up Your Profile
Now that you’re “in” you can set up your author profile. This can be a lengthy process but it’s important because it’s what clients will see.
The main areas will appear as tabs.
- General Info – Add your resume here along with things like pay rate (for direct orders) and availability (how many words you can commit to per week).
- Abilities – Under this tab you’ll be asked to fill in your education, occupation, industry experience and type of writing you specialize in (eg. interviews, speeches, press releases)
- Writing Samples – the most important thing a client wants to know about you is how well you write. Here you can include up to 3 original writing samples so they can see I your writing matches what they’re looking for.
- Languages – Include any other languages you are fluent in so you can accept projects in those languages. You can also include writing samples here.
- Interests – These are topics you like to write about. Clients often search by topic for a list of writers and filling in this section will improve your visibility.
- Travel – Listing the places you’ve traveled gives clients a better overall picture of who you are, what your experience level is, and it can shortlist you for projects that require specific knowledge of a location.
Once you’ve completed this step (which may be a few weeks from the time you originally applied) you can start writing.
When you’re new, the main way to find projects is to search for them. But as you gain experience there are other ways to land jobs within Textbroker.
Choose a Project
When you’re starting out this is how you’ll get work. Clients will submit projects and request writers with a specific quality rating. These go into an open order queue where you can search by topic and author rating.
As you establish relationships with clients they may request you specifically. You can negotiate your own per-word-price for direct orders regardless of your rating.
I should also mention here that the price you set is not the price the client pays. Textbroker adds 30% which is something you’ll need to consider when coming up with a fair rate.
I’m not entirely certain how team orders work or what the criteria is to join a team. However… other members have reported that being part of a team pays better with a higher number of available projects.
When a client submits a team project they set the per-word-price.
For all the positive comments and reviews about Textbroker, this is where they fall short. It’s not likely you’ll earn enough to write for them full-time.
As mentioned earlier, your pay is determined by your rank(2 – 5 stars)… which is set by Textbroker’s editorial staff. I’ve included (below) an example of what a 500-word article would pay based on your author rank.
- 2-Star - .7 cents/word (500 words pays $3.50)
- 3-Star – 1 cent/word (500 words pays $5.00)
- 4-Star – 1.4 cents/word (500 words pays $7.00)
- 5-Star – 5 cents/word (500 words pays $25.00)
There’s a significant jump from a 4 star writer to a 5 star writer and although you may consider yourself a really good writer, your ranking can be affected by the type of projects you choose.
For example… you may knock it out of the park when it comes to first person POV articles, but struggle with third-person news releases and sales copy.
Choosing the wrong projects could mean rejections from clients which will not only hurt your rankings but could get your account closed.
I don’t know what their criteria is for 5-star writers but it’s a fair assumption that they are competent in most styles.
Having purchased content before it’s important to remember that your per-word-rate is not the same as the clients. Textbroker collects a fee as well.
When buying an article for example, I had to keep in mind that the writer was not getting the entire $20 or $30 I was spending and adjust my expectations accordingly.
Likewise, as a writer you might think the client is only paying you a certain amount, but they are actually paying more, and I’ve seen this in many of the complaints…
“The client is only paying me xxx for this… what do they expect?”
So… building client relationships and establishing long-term projects goes a lot smoother when you’re on the same page here and understand each other.
With that said, these are the client rates…
- 2-Star – 1.3 cents/word (500 words cost is $6.50)
- 3-Star – 1.8 cent/word (500 words cost is $9.00)
- 4-Star – 2.4 cents/word (500 words cost is $12.00)
- 5-Star – 7.2 cents/word (500 words cost is $36.00)
As you can see, the amount the client is paying is significantly more than what Textbroker is paying.
For example… if you’re a 5-Star writer earning $25 for 500 words, the client is actually paying $36 and right or wrong, they expect a $36 article.
When you do the math, Textbroker’s fee ranges between 30% and 47% depending on star-ranking, which is among the highest in the industry.
Pay Method and Frequency
There’s a small minimum payout of $10 before you can request a payout which must be submitted by 11:59 pm (pacific time) on Thursdays. Your pay will be transferred via PayPal by the end of business Friday.
To request payment there’s a green button in your account that says “Account – Pay-off".
I was originally under the impression that Textbroker was only for US residents, and that’s certainly what they advertise.
However, when you’re on their website there’s small tab in the right-hand corner that says “International”. When you click on it there’s a drop down menu of languages you can choose from.
If you’re looking for English writing jobs outside of the US you’ll have to click on UK (English).
You can follow the corresponding author pages to the Textbroker International application which says they’re hiring writers from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the Republic of Ireland.
What I’m not sure about is whether you’ll have access to the same clients that US writers do. I don’t see why not but if that’s the case I’m sure Textbroker has their reasons. And, there may be more than enough jobs outside the US to keep you busy anyway.
These are some tips and suggestions related to Textbroker and writing in general. If you’re a seasoned writer and freelancer you can skip ahead… but if you’re new, maybe you’ll find them helpful…
- Don’t Use Quotes - Avoid using quotes when you’re writing content as Textbroker has a strict policy when it comes to copied content. It goes through an automatic checker (software that runs it through CopyScape maybe) and if it comes up with any duplicated content… quotes included, your content will be kicked back to you.
It’s easier to just avoid using quotes altogether.
- Use Textbroker’s Writer Resources – As a writer, it’s easy for me to be overly confident and assume that I know what I’m doing. The truth though, is that I’ve been writing my own way for more than thirty years and I’ve developed a ton of bad habits that wouldn’t pass editorial review.
Textbroker has many tutorials, videos and a community you can learn from.
- Take Care of Yourself – Another issue that I (and many other writers) have suffered from is neglecting our health and developing bad posture. If you’re just starting out this might seem like a “parent’s lecture”… but believe me, after hundreds of thousands of words hunched over a laptop screen and snacking on unhealthy food, you’ll think differently.
Use a timer, take breaks, walk, and if possible set yourself up with a large high-res monitor at eye level… your back, neck and shoulders will thank you.
Of course, it goes without saying you should eat healthy…. not just for your physical health but for the cognitive benefits of a proper diet. When I’m eating healthy I write significantly faster, remain focused for longer, and my work requires far less editing because the original draft was much better.
Textbroker Employee Reviews and Complaints
Most of Textbroker’s employee reviews are good, but like any company, they have their fair share of complaints. Some of the issues reported I’ve already discussed above.
- Low pay.
- Not enough projects to work on.
- Some clients expect 5-Star content at 3-Star prices. They can be difficult to work with requesting multiple revisions (which are both time consuming and free on your part).
- Outdated and cumbersome user interface.
Among the positive reviews, writers are saying…
- Textbroker is reliable and even if the pay is low, you can count on them to pay on time.
- Can choose the jobs that interest you.
- It’s a good environment to get started and begin developing the skills that make an effective freelance writer.
What I Like
- There are so many shady content mills out there that it’s nice to see one that has a reputation for being honest and dependable.
- Work when and where you want.
- Writer resources which include tutorials, videos, community help, and regular feedback from editorial staff.
- Projects are automatically accepted and paid for if a client doesn’t respond within 4 – 8 days (72 hours if you’re going by the client’s terms of service).
What I Don’t Like
- No passive income potential. When you write for someone else you’ll only get paid once.
- In most cases you’re a ghostwriter. You won’t get credit for your work and you can’t use it for your portfolio.
- Only 24 hours to respond and re-submit revisions or your work gets sent to another writer for modification and you don’t get paid.
- Unless you have a 5-Star ranking, the pay is painfully low.
As far as content mills go, Textbroker is one of the better ones. However, it won’t provide a full-time income.
Making money as a writer is absolutely possible, but it requires more than just writing. You need to write with a purpose and know where the money is.
Marketplaces like these can be a good stepping stone and a place to improve your craft but at some point... if you want to make a full-time income from home, you'll need an overall freelance strategy.
And, there are hundreds of work at home jobs you can leverage.
The goal of most writers though, is to produce your own content… a book, blog, screenplay or whatever, and turn it into a money making asset that provides passive income.
Thanks for reading my Textbroker review and if you have any comments or questions, please share in the comments section below.
You can sign up with Textbroker here.