(IMPORTANT UPDATE: Work-Online has made some key changes since I wrote this review. Read details here.
I’m leaving this review here, though, to reflect how the site was at the time.)
Now, I don’t usually go for low-paying writing gigs, uh-uh, but I have my reasons for going for this particular one (which I’ll explain later).
So, what’s this Work-Online thing, then?
Work-Online is a site that pays you to write stories (owned by a UK-based company called Re-Route). Each story has to be a minimum of 350 words and must have a certain number of keywords. One keyword has to be used at least once and three keywords have to be repeated at least 3 times throughout the story. So, for example, if your task is to write about Bubblegum, you’ll be given 4 keywords to use:
Now, in your story, you have to use the word ‘sugar’ at least once, the word ‘pop’ at least 3 times, the word ‘strawberry’ at least 3 times and the word ‘teeth’ at least 3 times.
That’s it. Apart from that, you can write whatever you want, however you want it.
Can anyone join?
You know what? I don’t know. I’ve checked through their site and I can’t find anything about it. It’s definitely open to UK residents as I’m one myself and had no problem joining. If you’re non-UK, you can either try contacting them or just try joining and see what happens. However, I’m thinking the fact they pay via Paypal might mean it’s open internationally. Don’t quote me though.
A nifty little in-built word processing program…
Work-Online has an in-built word processor on its site. When you log in, you’ll see a list of writing tasks available. Then you select the one you want to write about. Once you do that, it takes you to the word processor. As you type, the processor keeps a count of how many words you’ve typed in and how many keywords you’ve used. You can also do a spell check. Plus, you can save what you’ve typed as a draft and come back to it later.
What topics does the site give you to write about?
Well, the topics I’ve seen since I’ve joined cover Technology, Transport and Adult. You have to opt-in for the Adult topics to be listed (and obviously it’s meant for 18+ writers).
For anyone that might be concerned about the topics thinking they know nothing about Technology or Transport, trust me, it’s real easy to write on. I don’t drive and I’ve been able to write about several Transport topics with ease and without having to do an iota of research. You just make it up as you go along. For e.g., if you were a non-driver and you were told to write absolutely anything on car insurance using the words ‘drive’, ‘car insurance’, ‘licence’, ‘roads’, you could write:
You know what: I’ve never really felt the need to drive. Never. Some people put it on their list of things to do in their lifetime, but it’s not something I’ve been interested in. I get about just fine using good old public transport. So, thank God, I don’t have to worry about all the expenses involved in having a car – driving lessons, driver’s licence, car insurance, road tax and all the other expenses involved in maintaining one. I almost got a provisional licence, though, when I was 16, but it was only because my mum wanted me to learn how to drive, not because I wanted to. I think the roads of London are clogged up enough without me adding to it with a car of my own.
That’s about 130 words right there.
Just make it conversational, use the keywords they give you and you’ll be fine.
So what’s the pay like? (IMPORTANT UPDATE: 10TH AUG – Work-Online’s payscale has changed. It no longer starts at £0.50 per story. More details here.)
£0.50 (about $0.80) per story. After you’ve written the first 100 stories, you get paid more, but I’m a bit confused over the exact amount ‘cos there are contradictions on the site. On the ‘tell me more’ page, it says:
“You will receive 50p for the first 100 stories you write, 75p for the next 200 stories, and £1 for every story thereafter”
But when I log in, on the ‘Help’ page, it says £1 per story after the first 100 stories – so I’m not too sure on that front. However, I’m not that bothered for now as I’m nowhere near that amount of stories yet.
(Update: They’ve since changed the ‘Help’ page to match what it says on the ‘Tell Me More’ page – it’s 75p per story after the first 100 stories).
If someone joins through you, you get 10% of whatever they earn when they write (applicable to the first 100 stories only).
…is £10.00 which can be paid via cheque (UK only) or Paypal.
The pay ain’t that great, not what I usually go for, but…
– curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know if the site really did pay
– I found the stories super-duper easy and quick to write. Less than half an hour per piece
– it’s a great way to warm myself up before moving onto higher-paying writing gigs
– I also find it makes for a good stress reliever/ mind break
“You type, we pay” is Work-Online’s motto, but DO they really pay? Really?
Yes, I can confirm that they do. I’m relieved that they do as I was a bit cautious at first and it soooo would not have been cool if it had turned out that I’d written 20 stories for nothing. When I reached payout (£10.55) and requested it, it was with baited breath. On their site, it mentions that Paypal payments can take up to 14 days, so I was quite surprised to get mine 2-3 days after I requested it.
I’m holding onto this one, I think…
For me, for now, Work-Online’s a keeper. As long as I keep finding it painless to write the stories and it doesn’t start to feel like a chore or a bore, I’ll stick with it.
Things to bear in mind if you plan on joining Work-Online:
– Your stories have to be unique, coherent, fairly well-written and free of typos.
– Once you submit your stories, it has to be approved by the site administrator. You’ll receive an email letting you know if it’s been approved or not. Only when it’s approved will you get paid.
– For the Adult topics, keep it mild.
– There are times when there are no writing tasks available
– If you have a Paypal business account, you could get charged a fee by Paypal when you receive payment from Work-Online. Mine was £0.56.
If you do get a chance to join, do take note that on the joining-up form, year of birth only goes back as far as 1980. It’s cool – if you’re older than that, just pick 1980 and complete the registration.
Is it a bird, is it a plane, no, it’s a fried-egg sandwich…