Monday, October 12, 2009

Be Cautious When Writing for eHow

Lately eHow has been going through a number of changes. In an attempt to clean up their site, they have been deleting many contributor's articles.

This wouldn't be that big of a deal, except that it seems that some articles are being deleted for reasons that make little sense, if any.

For instance, an article was deleted for being spam. The only problem was that the article was one that was suggested and approved by eHow staffers. How could it be spam if eHow suggested it?

Some eHow members are also suggesting that eHow is replacing their articles with Demand Studio articles. Demand Studios is eHow's parent company. At Demand Studios, writers get paid a flat fee of $5-$15 to write articles. These articles then get used on sites like eHow to earn residuals for the company. By deleting member articles and replacing them with Demand Studio articles, eHow would be able to make more money in the long run. So it seems to make financial sense for eHow to stock the website with as many Demand Studio articles as possible.

The positive aspects of eHow are that articles are extremely easy and quick to write. However, you have little control over your article once it is published. They can delete it without notice. For this reason, make sure to back up all articles.

Here are the problems I personally have with eHow:
  1. Lack of Transparency: It's hard to know eHow's reasoning for many of their decisions. It is also extremely difficult to get answers to questions.
  2. No Stability: It seems that things are changing monthly at eHow and a recommended article one day could be deleted the next for being spam.
  3. No Control: eHow has dropped memberships with little explanation and I personally don't fully trust that they wouldn't reuse deleted articles for their own financial gain.
Here are the positives to eHow:
  1. A place to reach a broad audience.
  2. Extremely easy articles to write.
So basically, if you are considering writing for eHow, I would do so with extreme caution. For now, I will not be writing any additional articles for them, but I am happy with keeping the articles I have up and running.


  1. I feel the same way, the articles are easy to write and I am sure they will eventually delete some of mine. It is taking days for them to publish two of my articles....those two may be the ones that they will delete. Ehow is so freaking addicting. Unfortunately, I didn't save my articles. I need to find a good method of saving them. Any ideas?

  2. Hey Tammy,

    I print mine to a pdf so that I can save it on my computer. That way I can save the entire article with the picture as well. I hope this helps!

  3. This is a well-written and informative post. I have been writing for eHow for several months and have had some articles deleted. It does not bother me too much; those articles weren't making too much money anyway. I'll have to check out Demand Studios too.

    My eHow articles deal mainly with mathematics, Microsoft Excel, and sports. Check them out at:

  4. I came across this Wired Magazine article that you might find relevant (and disturbing). It talks about Demand Media which I believe is related to the Demand Studios you mention:

    I'm curious to hear your thoughts after you read the article. I'm not a writer, although my BFA was in advertising and copy writing. I currently work in the IT field as a programmer, so I can see both sides of the issue. I'd like to know whether you think the article is accurate or not.

    - Steve

  5. Hey Steve,

    Fascinating article! As I see it, Rosenblatt says he wants to improve the quality of the Demand Media articles and videos, but I don't think his business policies encourage high quality work.

    Many people are just spitting out articles or videos to make the basic $15 an article. Who in their right mind would spend more than an hour or two on an article that earns that much?

    I think sites like Suite 101 have a much better grasp on how to create quality work. They have specific editorial guidelines for articles and they have road-tested editors who set consistant standards for their sections.

    Demand Media uses freelance editors and each of them has their own standards for their articles. It's hard to guarantee quality when the company doesn't even have much quality control over their editors.

    For me, I would much rather work for residuals at a site like Suite 101, than waste my time pumping out poorly-written articles for eHow or Demand Studios.

    Although I do think it is important to produce a high quantity of articles, you can't sacrifice the quality to do it. Demand Media definitely puts their sole focus on quantity of media, and their quality suffers because of it.

    Thanks again for the link! I am sure that this story will develop as Demand Media grows online.