Are Dollar Payment Thresholds Good for Writers?

Payment thresholds for writing sites have historically been moderate to high. Many paid to write sites have set the minimum payment at $20 or $25, but many have demanded $50 or even $100 before they would pay their members for traffic to their published posts. But recently, at least two sites are offering quick and easy payouts at a minimum of only $1. This has some web writers wondering if it will seem too easy to earn a writing payment, or if established writers who usually work hard for their cash-out will get lazy.

What is the Value of a Dollar?

Getting to that payment threshold fast is obviously a draw for a paid writing site. Contributors want to get their money quickly – both because most web writers are happy to have the extra cash without delay, and because so many writers have been cheated of their earnings when sites closed before they were able to claim a payment. So especially for a site that is new or trying to re-establish itself after an absence, it’s not a bad idea for writers to get into a steady rhythm of regular work and quick payments. As payments stack up, writers will begin to rely more on the site – and also to see the site as more trustworthy. So even if the site is having to put up an initial investment to cover cash-outs before their own advertising revenues come in, establishing a low payment threshold could be a good business move for the site.

But what about the writer? Do writers get good value for their work when sites are taking a bargain basement sort of approach to compensation? Well, that really depends on how the site calculates payments and what it asks from its contributors.

Many sites these days tend to be more socially oriented, and so they may pay for one-line status updates, uploaded images, interaction with other users’ content (e.g. liking and commenting) in addition to the writing of more meaty blog posts and articles. Other sites may set quite specific standards for content, and may be paying a flat rate per approved post. Some of these sites exercise a great deal of editorial control over the writer’s content, and will also require that the writer gives up any rights to the content if it’s accepted for publication. While it has become really difficult for the casual freelance writer to find a site that offers really good compensation for web writing, it’s important to consider how low we’re willing to go. Is that dollar really worth turning over a copyright to a well-written SEO-friendly post?

Do you know of any paid to write sites that are offering quick and easy payment terms? Have you cashed out and received payment reliably on any writing sites? I’d love to hear about your experiences! If you have a recommended site (or concerns about sites that haven’t yet proven their reliability) please tell me about it in the comments below.


Featured Image Credit: Dollar by Thomas Breher (aka TBIT,) courtesy of Pixabay; CC0


7 thoughts on “Are Dollar Payment Thresholds Good for Writers?

  1. I post at Mylot occasionally which drop the threshold down to $1 for this month and next month pay out. As they noticed the veteran members can’t reach the pay out. Some peopel will keep a memberships. Others will finally cash out and disappear.

    1. I noticed that one MyLot member had posted to ask if people will get lazy with the low threshold, but most folks who responded said it wouldn’t change their activity. I suspect it’s more an issue with newer members than with the site veterans. And since the threshold was dropped to help these veterans, it sounds like it was a positive decision in this case. Maybe it will help folks build their accounts up, so they can meet the higher threshold when it is resumed.

  2. I am not a professional writer and that is why I write for the penny sites.

    If I were a professional I most certainly would seek work at newspapers, magazines etc.

    But each person has to decide how they want to work and for how much.

    1. Actually, work for professional writers has become quite scarce due to the availability of free/cheap content online, and the syndication of the few columns that remain.

      We do each have to decide how to work and how much pay is acceptable, but that doesn’t mean we are an island. If a significant number of online writers accept lower terms than have previously been paid by content sites, that will drive the rate of pay down for writers in general.

      This is why professional writers tend to say that if you are accepting pay for writing work, you are a professional. (That is the definition of professional in many other domains, after all!) And it’s why they become frustrated when sites accept low quality work because it comes cheap, just as much as they hate to see a good writer taking too little for her efforts.

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