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WCP: Writer Con Program?

I had an interesting “chat” with a “friend” over the weekend. I have changed a few inconsequential details, to protect the innocent.

How to Write it Old Skool

Talking about the Writer Compensation Program (WCP) buyouts. I’m not up on the details of that. There is at least one thread that sheds some light in the DSS forums, but that was back in May when they made the offers.

Good thing I didn’t have to go into the zombie forums in my research on this. Heard Demand Media servers were, how shall I say, erratic this weekend due to some technical problems. Surely the zombies were shaken and stirred. My friend messaged me:

“I am just getting to the point where I have enough work without Demand and don’t want to cut ties until I’m sure I don’t need them.

I’d like to find out if anyone else didn’t receive what they were promised on the EHow buyout. Unfortunately, I was out of town and couldn’t print out what I accepted, but there’s no way on earth I would accept the amount they claim.”

How long did it take to payout on the WCP buyouts?

Isn’t that yesterday’s news?

~

My friend W. had a group of articles that paid, let’s say, $100 per month, on average. The buyout offer was equivalent to four months worth of avg. payments. When the compensation payment eventually arrived, it was for $20 total across multiple articles — equivalent to 1/20 the agreed-upon amount.

I asked around. There is no clear formula that Demand Media used to payout. Writers received between $1 and $30 per article. Offers were individually made.

I asked Richard, and he said you just compare the buyout figure to what the articles were making on a monthly basis.

That is a laughably low-ball offer.

My friend says he eventually took it up the chain to an Executive in Operations for eHow. Mr. X can produce no documentation but is completely unwilling to rescind the agreement.

Does anyone else find it odd that Demand has no documentation of the contract?

I don’t know, since I wasn’t involved in these negotiations, but apparently the original offer came in a link by email. You clicked a link and it took you to your terms in some form of contract, I presume. The hyperlink has long since gone dead. My friend didn’t save any documentation or make a print-out. Is he screwed?

Has anyone else had problems with their WCP agreements or negotiations?

13 comments to WCP: Writer Con Program?

  • Jen

    I don’t believe for one second that DMS promised one amount and then paid another. It would be plain stupid to do something like that, especially since the amount would be pennies to them.

    What I do believe is that some people didn’t understand the email right and thought they were getting more. There was at least one woman like that in the forum back in May (she misunderstood and even though a bunch of people told her she was wrong, she kept saying “no, I’m not, they’ll pay me what they first promised” –They didn’t promise anything different, but she was too thick to get it).

    • Ken Ben Jen and the Hen-Men

      You don’t believe for one second that DMS could make a payment error? You must be a brand new hire if you’ve never seen the article price glitches. And you must not have participated in the WCP, since that had payment glitches all the time.

      Perhaps you suffer from selective amnesia.

      Or maybe you’re a dipshit.

  • Shadow

    O pooh Donna, I was not trolling. I should have included my remarks in my third post with the first, to clarify. And I only made the second post because I thought it was so funny that I got a thumbs down for just posting a non-anti DS story. But if all you guys want to do is bitch about big old mean DS, and all the shitty stuff they do, and never acknowledge the other side…then carry on….

  • Shadow

    I’d like to make an additional comment. The post asked the question “Has anyone else had problems with their WCP agreements or negotiations?” – while my post was not about a problem, I do believe the question opened the door to those who experienced something else.

    I confess, I about fell off my desk chair when I read their offer. And after I accepted, I wasn’t sure if I would actually get paid. But I did. As promised.

  • Shadow

    LOL…funny someone gave me a thumbs down for getting almost $8,000 from DS for my ehow articles….sour grapes?

  • Shadow

    I was happy with the buyout. Loved that check….almost $8,000. WooHoo

    • cockle bells and cowrie shells

      If you don’t mind sharing, how many articles did you have and what were you making per month at your highest? Also, did your offer come in May, or did you get one of the special offers made in March?

      I think a lot of studio writers who did not have WCP accounts are jealous of the people who did and got buyout offers. Back in the day, Ehow’s WCP rev share model paid out more (in my case, 20 times as much) than submitting articles through the studio. Not opening an Ehow account on the side was like leaving money on the table. During some months I stopped submitting them through the studio and just focused on the Ehow direct rev share. Man, that shit was sweet.

      It’s funny how some studio writers (MADDIE G/FRUMPY I”M LOOKING AT YOU) will complain about WCP articles being sub-par because they were not “professionally” edited, but then turn around and complain about idiot CEs butchering articles. Uh…which is it? Certain current studio writers don’t realize that most WCP writers were simultaneously writing through the studio too.

      • Shadow

        It was during the first round, before news was out on the DS forum. I obviously don’t want to get nailed for violating the vow of silence we had to take – let’s just say I had less than 300 and more than 100. I figured the payment equaled about 3+ years of rev share. If given to chance to keep earning the monthly revenue, or taking the pay, I would have taken the pay. Even if DS kept the old ehow going, there was no guarantee the old articles would continue paying, especially considering the changes in google. It was a gamble for DS.

        I would love to know what some of the others made. Lots of seasoned ehow writers made hell of a lot more than I each month.

      • I am sure as shit jealous I didn’t do any WCP. Good on you guys for making cash. Wish I had done the same. Fuck DMS.

        • Shadow

          I don’t really get the “fuck DMS” mentality. Since when does anyone expect a business to give a shit about anyone beyond its personal bottom line. Hell, one of the frontrunners for the GOP (Romney) has shown that in America you can make major bank while fucking over workers, yet still have a run for the White House.

          DMS isn’t my lover, so I don’t expect fidelity, loyalty or even consideration. Yet, they paid serious cash for my ehow articles, and I manage to bring in an easy 100-150 a day writing for them from the comfort of my home.

          I don’t give a shit if some don’t feel it is a “real” job. I really don’t care, as long as DMS consistently pays. Beats my old job teaching at a high school, where I had to deal with out of control kids and an administration that didn’t give a fuck. If that is a real job, you can have it!

          I don’t expect DMS to last forever. Hell, what job does? Lots of my teacher friends have gotten the pink slip, and they thought that was a secure employment!

  • JustAName

    I’m not a contract attorney, but if eHow executive do not have any contractual documentation for any buy-out offers, then it would seem there is no binding contract. Since there is no oral communication whatsoever from DMS, there can be no binding verbal contractual agreements. In essence, there is no evidence of any buy-out contract or agreement to present to a small claims judge. If the writer’s monthly or yearly revenues from eHow content were substantial, it might be worth pursuing copyright retention.

  • eh...

    I screen-capped my buyout offer because I knew they might renege. Luckily I got exactly what the contract said I would get, but man, what a bunch of shit heads.

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