Before you even consider writing as a profession, I would advise you to take this free proofreading test and some of these free grammar tests. You might be the most knowledgeable person in the world about a subject, but that is pointless if you can't communicate yourself clearly. At least, that is what I always told my students
(I used to teach English).
Please note: I will not post jobs that require writers to write essays, term papers, and research papers. It is my belief that these sites make their money selling these papers to students, which in its own way a type of fraud. Also, this is one of the few pages where I list jobs based upon my own feelings and experiences of them.
I have posted articles on Constant Content for over a year. If you are a good writer and can produce good original articles, I would recommend them. The site is free. You can set your own prices. Once you have written an article, their editors review the article. They will either accept or refuse the article. If there are any grammar or punctuation errors, they will reject it.
The biggest negative about Constant Content is that writers only keep 65% of what they sell. Constant Content keeps 35% (of which 20% goes to affiliates and 5% goes to referring authors). They have a $50 minimum before paying (through PayPal), but have been known to pay out at less if someone has difficulty reaching that mark. The other negative about this site is you have no guarantee that your article will sell. I've had some sell quickly. Others have sat there for months without selling.
Associated Content is sort of a mixed breed site. It gives its writers several options when submitting. You have the option of submitting an article for an upfront payment (which is usually only a couple of dollars). If you do this, you must submit it as either exclusive or non-exclusive, which gives you little control over your content. However, you can also upload it as "display only" which gives you control over your article and allows you to take it down if you desire in the future.
In addition, Associated Content also pays writers "automatic performance payments." These are payments for every thousand hits your pages get. The amount depends on how popular your pages are. It starts at $1.50 per thousand but can go up to $2.00. If you have enough articles up, you can earn a nice bit of money from this site. I do recommend them.
I recently started working for Demand Studios. While they advertise that they have several different customers, the only site I've seen writing assignments is for eHow. Typically, they pay $15 for each eHow article you write. The nice thing about this site is that they pay quickly, at the end of each week. EHow articles are fairly easy to write, so the payment is not bad. The one negative is that you can only accept 10 assignments at a time, which can put your writing on hold as you wait for them to accept your articles. Still, I've been earning about $125 a week from this site.
I have applied with About.com several times. I have yet to be successfully hired. Usually, I don't even receive an answer. The last time I applied, I received an email claiming I wasn't "qualified" for the topic. I happen to have a master's degree in the subject, and have lectured at colleges about it. Since then, I've stopped bothering with them.
I do know people who work for About.com, and they are legitimate. If your application is accepted, you will go through three weeks of training as you build up a site. At the end of the training, you may or may not be hired. You do not get paid for your training. All-in-all, I've heard mixed reviews about this site.
Daily Article is a newer company and works similar to Constant Content. However, they only take out 20 percent compared to Constant Content's 35%. There is just one bad side, you must be willing to sell your content with full-rights. This means you give up all your rights to the article. At Constant Content, you are allowed to sell articles for usage only. I know that many writers are having good luck with Daily Article. I would suggest trying them out if you are interested.
This site tells you that they will pay you to write reviews. Essentially, you can review anything. They have three rates. The regular rate varies (it was $1.50 the day I visited). However, the will only pay you this rate if it matches their "criteria." What that means I don't know and they don't say. What bothered me most was when I decided to ask them I discovered their email was: email@example.com. If the review doesn't match their criteria, you can either choose to revise and resubmit it or have it published at the bulk rate. The bulk rate is only 1/5 of the regular rate. You can choose to bypass this by being a "self editor," although the rate is only $0.20 per review. Minimum payout through PayPal is $50 for regular rate, $20 for self-editors. I have the feeling that you will be writing at least 100 reviews before seeing a payment.
This site states that they pay $3 per 300 word blog/post for beginners and US$4 per post after completion of the 90 day probationary period. The price seems a little low for my taste, and I would suggest you could make more money with your own blog.
Method Shop did not interest me, but if you're a technical guru, you might consider it. They are looking for reviews, tutorials, humor and lifestyle articles relating to the iPod, Palm Pilot, or just general technology. They state that they pay $20-$200 per article. The price depends on the depth and quality of content.
I was a writer for Suite 101. It is legitimate, but it takes a while for you to build up your audience. Shortly after I quit writing for them, they switched the way the paid their writers. It is now a percentage of the revenue earned by Google AdSense. The nice thing about Suite 101, that other sites do not offer, is that you are not required to enter in your own Adsense account information to get paid.
Helium is another site that allows you to post your articles and earn revenue based on how popular they are. One thing that bothers me about this site is that they don't come right out and say that. Instead, they give a whole runaround that makes it much more confusing than it really is. I have never bothered with Helium. However, I have heard writers who rave about it and writers who complain about it. The general consensus is that you won't make much money from Helium.
How to Do Things
How to Do Things.com has changed the way they are doing things since I worked for them. You used to sign up for an article, and they would pay you "points" which were redeemable for gift certificates. They are switched to having a 50/50 split with your Google AdSense account. I have never been a big fan of these type of sites. To me, it makes more sense to create your own site where you would get 100% of the revenue and retain the rights to the articles.
I signed up with Editfast in November of 2006. I was required to take a 100-question grammar test before being approved. They keep 30% of what you make and payments are made once a month through PayPal. Here is my experience with EditFast:
I heard nothing from them for nine months. In August of 2007, I
received a request from a client to submit a bid. At the time, I was moving, so
I was unable to reply right away. Less than three days later, I received
another email stating that my account is deactivated because I did not respond
to the request. If I wanted to reactivate my account, I would have to email
them explaining why I did not immediately respond. I never reactivated my
account, but that has not stopped them from emailing me.
In February, I received an email from a Robert Kidd at EditFast wanting articles about EditFast. Now, when I signed up they claimed to have 1,200 editors. Are they so hit up for writers that they have to email deactivated accounts? Since they were only offering to pay $10 per article, I can see why. Then, a month later, I received a notice stating they would pay $5 for every link to EditFast. My most recently email stated they were issuing a new deactivated policy. If an editor does not respond to an estimate request within three hours their account will be "temporarily deactivated." There was no indication on how long that would be.
This site is looking for proofreaders with knowledge of legal terminology and prior experience in a legal industry. If this fits you, you might consider them. I tried looking them up in the BBB. They were listed, but no information was given. It seems very legitimate.
When I looked at Proofread Now, they were only accepting applications for foreign language proofreaders. This may change in the future, so you might want to check back.
Word Firm appears to be a good company. They have nothing negative about them in the better business bureau, not could I find anything negative about them on the internet. They have been around for several years, so that would put them in the more reputable category of job sites. They are looking for experienced writers, copyeditors, proofreaders, and graphic designers
I'm listing Appingo simply because it is advertising that it wants to hire experienced writers. However, I could find almost nothing else about them.
Rowman & Littlefield and Lexington Books
Rowman & Littlefield and Lexington Books publish "scholarly works in the humanities and social sciences." They are a legitimate company. If you are interested, you are required to download and submit a proofreading or copyediting test.
Book Editing Associates
Book Editing Associates claims to be looking for fiction editors. The site seemed a little unprofessional for my tastes. If you want to work for them, they will expect you to do it full-time with no other jobs. While I did not see anything that would suggest that they are a scam, I think it would only be a good fit for certain people. You're welcome to check it out for yourself.
SoftwareJudge.com claims to pay "up to $50" for each software review that they accept. However, they could also pay as little as $1 for your review. There is also a minimum payout of $200 and they only pay via Western Union. There is something a little troubling about that. I did find someone who has experience with this company, and like I guessed, they only got paid $1 for their review. Once you submit your review, you have no choice but to accept whatever they decide to pay you. That really bothers me. You're welcome to try this site, but I cannot recommend it at this time. I'm fairly sure they are legitimate and pay, but I doubt you'll earn enough money for your trouble.