iWriter Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Do You Have Experience With iWriterSee results without voting
Note: I do include updates about iWriter in this long article, so if something I said is not valid anymore, or has changed in some way, there will be an update underneath it. Luckily (depending on how you look at it), not much as changed at iWriter since I wrote this hub, so there is not much to update!
If you notice that I have missed something, good or bad, please leave a comment at the end of this article and let me and other readers know!
Thinking about writing or requesting articles from iWriter?
Since I have been doing both for a while, I thought I would give you a to-the-point review on what iWriter is all about, and whether or not it is worth your time, money, or effort.
I have been there for a little while, and I think that I have some insight that would reflect many other peoples opinions and influence your reasoning for or against iWriter.p
Note: Since writing this article there have been many comments posted that reflect my opinions on the service, so take the time to scroll through some of them at the bottom of this page to learn more about what actual users are saying about their experiences.
Following is the good, bad, and the ugly of iWriter.
The Good of iWriter
For The Writers
As soon as you sign up to iWriter, you can start writing immediately. This means that, potentially, you could start earning some money for your writing today. It is probably the least painful way to start earning money online quickly, that is, if you can produce articles that the requesters are happy with.
Also, I have never seen iWriter miss a payment. The staff seem to be quite good at ensuring payments get sent out. The payment frequency is set by you (weekly, bi-weekly etc.) and the money is deposited into your paypal account. As of now, there are no other options for payments. I have my payment schedule set to every Tuesday.
Unlike some other places, iWriter has people actively looking for specific articles, which takes all the guesswork out of what to write. Just pick a request, not the keywords and the special requirements, and then write the article - it is that easy.
The requester can tip you. I find the requesters at iWriter are generally cheap, even when you over deliver and write an excellent article (it is after all a cheap place to get articles), and your tips will be few and far between.
It is important to note that the requester can tip you even after they have approved your articles. Even a year after, as long as it is sitting in their approved articles requested section.
For The Requesters
It is cheap to buy an article on iWriter. If you want, you can buy a 1000-word article for less than $10. You can even buy a 300-word article for less than a couple of dollars. You can't get much cheaper than that.
There are many writers waiting to write, so you can have an article within a few hours. Of course, this depends on the kind of instructions that you give. The more vague you are, the less willing writers will be to pick up your article.
You can reject the writers work if you don't like the article and it will go back into the writers pool to be picked up by someone else. This means that you never have to take an article you are not satisfied with.
After you find some writers you like on iWriter, you can pick them as your 'favorite writers' so that you get the same quality time and time again instead of wondering who is going to write your article and whether it will be any good. This saves a lot of time.
Elite writers are generally really good writers, and they worth the extra few bucks that you have to shell out. It is still cheaper to buy from them then from other people on other sites, and it's well worth the money. Take advantage of the fact that you can only promote your articles to elite writers if you want.
Your articles come in two formats: One plain text, just the way it was written, and one with spin tags.
Update Dec. 9/12 - Apparently you can upload the article written for you straight to your WordPress blog. I haven't tried this, but there are easy enough instructions on how to do it. Considering most of us use WordPress, this is a big bonus for convenience.
The Bad of iWriter
For The Writers
Starting out on iWriter, you can only write basic articles. You need to write 30 articles with a star rating of 4 or more to get into one of the next levels which comes with a higher payment. Basic payments are just over a dollar to about $7 (depending on word length and price point requester chooses.)
If you get 4.6 stars or more as an average, then you can move into the elite writers group and have your choice of articles from all three levels. The elite articles pay more.
Update Jan. 21/13 - Today a new option called the 'iWriter Fast Track Program' popped up for new writers. This program allows you to apply to skip the 30 day wait time by writing 3 articles around keywords that they choose. Then, they review those 3 articles and rate them, take an average star rating, and boost you up to a premium or elite level. BUT you have to pay a fee of $147 to apply. Their reason: so that serious writers apply and so they can pay the employees. I don't know what to say about this...I just hope the employees are fair in their reviewing.
Update March 30/14 - I had a woman comment on the Facebook page for writers at iWriter about the fast track program. Essentially she said that the ad for the fast track program said that she would get her three 'fast track' articles averaged, but instead she got an average of all of her articles already written plus the three articles. As she says, "Even if they had rated them at 5 each it would not have elevated my average enough to be promoted." So beware before you pay the money. If you have a ton of articles written, and your average is already low, those three articles are not going to raise your average. But if you have zero articles, then it could get you to elite fast if you can get 5 stars for each of them.
The requesters on iWriter can reject you for no good reason. I've seen all kinds of lame rejections, and you are literally rolling the dice if you don't know the requester or have never written for them before. Of course there is an approval rate under each requester, so you can see how likely they are to reject you, but there is no guarantee.
The requester can say what they want about you in the review, and they can make you look pretty bad when they are being ignorant. I've seen perfectly capable writers get blamed for plagiarism and spinning articles. Up until a few days ago writers were not allowed to critique back (this really should be in the ugly section), but now writers can at least make a statement that appears under the review of their work.
Also, you cannot write on word and paste into the provided text area on iWriter. If you do, weird characters get introduced. In addition to that, many times you will format your article inside iWriters text area, and submit it, only to find that the submitted product looks ridiculous. Somehow the formatting gets screwed up from messing around in the text area.
I personally put all of article in notepad, make paragraphs in there, and then paste it into the iWriter text area and LEAVE IT ALONE! Or, find a system that works for you and stick with it (I think different browsers have something to do with how it needs to be formatted - at least for me.)
You will get rejected if your article looks like crap, and until iWriter is kind enough to provide a functional text area and a preview button - I wouldn't risk it.
Update: August 5th
The editor seems to have changed. What used to work for me, doesn't work anymore. I can't tell you how frustrated I am that iWriter didn't communicate this new change, and it messes up my chances of getting approved for articles because they now look like crap.
Basically, when I copy from notepad into the iWriter editor, and format the text inside the editor, it looks like this now:
There is no space between each line
as if I am writing a poem.
I wish iWriter would communicate better
so this kind of stuff would not happen.
In addition, I used to hit enter twice to ensure there was an actual space in between paragraphs, but now that seems to double space the paragraphs, which adds to the ugliness of the submitted article.
Like I said, test it out and find something that works for you. I think it has to do with using different browsers, although I have no idea why that would make it different inside of the iWriter editor.
For The Requesters
If you want quality articles, then you may waste a lot of time trying to find them on iWriter. Since the pay grade can be quite low, you may find that many of your articles that you receive reflect the price you are paying. While you do have the option to reject the articles, you may waste a lot of time rejecting and, in turn, have to wait a while for a decent article.
However, if you find some good writers on iWriter, then you can save them to your 'favorite' list and use them consistently to ensure you get well-written articles quickly.
You can also always choose elite writers for your projects. As I said, the extra money is worth the headache you save, and there are a lot of good writers in the elite pool on iWriter.
The Ugly of iWriter
For The Writers
The requester determines what star rating to give you. There are many who will give a positive review but leave a 3 or 4 star rating. Because the star rating directly influences how much money you can make, this could affect your ability to make money if you keep running into unfair reviews.
Even though iWriter makes it hard for requesters to copy your article while approving, this doesn't mean that they can't jot down what you wrote and then reject your article. I have had an article rejected and used anywase, and since there is not much you can do about it (besides complain to iWriter and possibly get them banned) you are pretty much screwed out of your time and money at that point.
For Both Writer and Requester
Right now, iWriter is completely down. It's been down for a few days. Why? Well, if I didn't stop by the warrior forum, then I likely would not know. There is no communication between iWriter and your email regarding concerns like this; therefore, you are just left hanging.(Apparently they are changing servers.)
There have been many changes that have occurred in iWriter within the past few weeks that were not communicated to us, and to me that's just bad business. Writers and requesters are what make iWriter run, so you think that they would want to keep us in the loop and give us the respect of letting us know when they are going to change their servers with a notice in advance - or, an email.
I have heard word that there is going to be a blog, so that may improve communication a bit. Only time will tell.
Update March 1st/13 - Holy crap! I was checking my emails today and saw an email from iWriter. I thought that someone was playing a trick on me and pretending to be iWriter communicating in order to get me to click on a link or something. But no, it was actually communication from iWriter! Woo Hoo! The message was informing me about an article that I had not used yet, and letting me know that the queue is low right now and the chances of having an article written quickly are good.
Good one iWriter team. That is the kind of communication that you should be doing with both your writers and requesters. Even if it is a mass email once in a while that touches base about what is happening on iWriter, it makes us (or it made me) feel as if we are more than just money makers for you. It gives a message that we are actual clients that you give a crap about.
Update June 13th/13 - I have never received another piece of communication again. In fact, I learned new policies only after writing into the support system to find out what was happening with an article I wrote. So I still give iWriter a VERY poor rating for communication.
Update December 9th/13 - A few days ago they started a blog. Much of the blog so far is Brad talking about how he forget to communicate that new features were added, such as article re-writes.
However, one cool thing was that, apparently, requesters can now get a properly formatted kindle-ready book that you can upload into amazon. I haven't tried this, so I would be interested to see how it works. Writers cannot format with headings, and I've never been able to make a picture stick inside of the article, so I imagine it would just be chapters and text.
If you use this feature, please let us know how it turned out in the comments. Just be sure to include the words 'kindle-ready book' so that it can be easily searched for by anyone in interested in seeing it. (Otherwise, there would be a lot of comments to go through!)
The blog is geared towards requesters right now, but it is still nice to see something.
So is iWriter Worth Your Time?
For The Writers
If you have some decent writing skills and you can research, write, and review your articles in a short amount of time, then yes - iWriter can be worth your time. Especially if you get a bunch of people who specifically request you to write. Then you get some extra time to write the articles and a tiny bit higher pay.
But understand that if you write 10 articles in a day, get 3 rejected, and take 10 hours to write the articles, then you will likely only be making about $40-$60 a day for 10 hours of work (and it usually takes time.) That works out to about - $4-$6 dollars per hour. This is why it is important to write fast and find requesters that approve articles which are good.
Also, the above pay is only when you are an elite writer on iWriter. And because there are not always elite articles that you can write, you may find that you make less.
Otherwise, no...it's not worth your time if you are looking to make a full-time income. You can make some extra cash writing a few articles here and there, but if you can't research and write them quickly, then you may get more frustration and long nights than anything.
Update: Jan. 23/ 2013 - Today I noticed that I am getting paid more for elite articles. I'm not sure when this started, but I can tell you that the price difference is a few bucks, which can make a big difference. This is one of those problems with iWriter...they never sent out an email or posted anything about this change; instead, they just did it. While I'm glad that we will get paid more for writing really good articles, I wish they would start communicating with us better.
Update March. 5/2013 - Today I noticed that the prices had gone back down. Should I say how I really feel about this? Clients are too cheap to buy articles at a decent price so iWriter lowers the price. The writer earns less, the buyers pay less, and because requests have increased, iWriter earns more. No communication about this - like usual. Everyone wins but the writer.
For The Requester's
Yep. It is totally worth your time as long as you shell out a couple extra bucks and hire the best writers on iWriter (or not if you are not as concerned about quality). You are still paying less than you would anywhere else, and you get your articles fast and ready to spin.
The iWriter Affiliate Program
In case you didn't know, iWriter just developed an affiliate program. You have to be approved before you can become an affiliate.
They don't really give you much to go on besides a few stats.
Tip For Writers: Don't Cancel Your Article More Than Once
Today I had some problems with iWriter, and it was frustrating to say the least. Because there is zero communication from them to us, I had no idea about the 'rule' I broke and ended up spending an hour trying to communicate with someone from iWriter about the issue.
I decided that I would share this issue so that YOU don't have to go through this.
Cancelling Out Of Articles
I had a request today and I had cancelled the article once to look at how long the request had been there. I don't know why, I guess the question came to me afterwards, and being a little OCD I had to know the answer before I continued writing the article.
While writing the article, I had a formatting issue where the words started to become bold. I am assuming this was because I was re-writing an article for someone, and the bold formatting from the original got caught up in my editor - and became a part of my writing. There are no formatting buttons in the editor, so I don't know how to correct that issue, so I did what I normally do - I cancelled the article to go back in with a clear page to work with.
However, when I tried to go back into the article I received the message, 'Error: You have already opened that article for writing too many times. Please select a different article to write.'
After contacting the support system, with the following message:
I'm trying to write an article request, and the formatting in the article screwed up so I cancelled the article to come back in hopes that the formatting would clear up.
Now, I am getting a message that I have opened the article too many times for writing? What does that even mean? It is my article to write, so why does it matter how many times I have opened it?
Is there a way that I can get back in there now so that I can correct the formatting (since there is no way to do it while writing the article) and get on with writing?
I received a message saying:
You are allowed to start writing an article only for a limited number of times. You cannot cancel then create a new timer for the same article.
So I responded with:
The response I got was:
When you open an article to write it, you have X hours to complete it.
We had too many complaints from requesters about users that open an article, wait for the timer to end, open it again and so on, basically keeping that article busy and not allowing other writers to complete it.
The limitation to the number of "opens" was added somewhere at the end of last year. If you don't agree to this rule, I'm sorry, the rule is there to protect all our users and will not be removed.
So, I will still left wondering what to do about this. Plus I was a little ticked off that they are so keen to protect the requesters but not the writers...anywase, I asked again:
Okay thanks for clearing that up. Now I know.
However, what should we do in this situation. It was a request for me, so will it just sit there until the time runs out? If the requester re-requests it will I be able to do it?
Then, I waited for a while, contacted the requester and told them that they may need to re-request the article...even though I was not positive it would work, and then waited for a while longer to hear back from iWriter - a couple hours.
They did not respond back to me - so I had to ask again for a quick response about what I should do. It's not like I make money by the hour or anything...(I didn't put that in, even though I wanted to.)
Finally one of the helpful support people responded with:
Please inform the requester about your situation, Kari. Just so he can close the current request and open up a new one just for you to work on.
So, in conclusion, don't cancel out of your articles...
Update November 4th 2014
Yesterday, on a Monday, iWriter decided to move their website from one web-hosting site to another. There was no warning. There was no communication. It just happened, and writers were left without any ability to make money on the site for the day. This is just another unacceptable action by iWriter.
They have a Facebook page and they could have let everyone know what was happening beforehand so that we could come up with a plan of action, but instead they did nothing.