by Karina Lafayette – May 21st 2022
It’s no secret that being a writer is one of the hardest careers to get properly compensated for. In order to be successful at making a regular income as an writer, it takes many years, many tears, and a whole lot of effort. But sooner or later, something has got to give.
Well it seems that even major platforms still get away with underpaying writers, despite having millions of followers, not to mention making millions of dollars in revenue every year. Most recently, I had the opportunity to apply as a freelancer with Screen Rant. For those who aren’t familiar with Screen Rant, they’re basically one of the biggest movie review websites on the Internet. Their Youtube channel alone has generated billions of views, not to mention their Facebook page has over 1.9 million followers. You would think becoming a freelancer with them would seem pretty lucky right? Imagine all the exposure that could get you, right?
Actually, that’s not how it works. After sending my resume, Screen Rant replied with the fees they typically pay. Depending on the article, you can get paid between $5 to $20 upfront, along with an additional $0.33 per thousand views. In other words, in order for an article of yours to make at least $300 on Screen Rant, you would need 1 million people to read it. Considering the hours writers put in for articles, the amount of proofreading and effort that gets put in, the numbers simply don’t add up. If anything, they’re an insult.
For one, there’s no guarantee that that many people will even come across your article, and even if they do, since apparently Screen Rant is also notorious for plagiarism, there’s actually no guarantee that you would even get paid from them. For those who’ve freelanced for Screen Rant before, reviews on Glassdoor have an average 2.5 rating. Some reviews complain how freelancers are burdened with finding stories instead of getting directions, and that they spend so many hours with little in return.
And with a quick Google search, it’s likely that this has happened more than we know.
On the surface, it seems that a writer like me who’s mostly worked independently should be grateful for the opportunity to publish on a large platform like Screen Rant, but given the risks and the low ball offer, it just isn’t worth it. I’ve really had enough of artists being told that we should be grateful for exposure because like a lot of us keep on repeating, “Exposure doesn’t pay the bills”.
And yes, there is a thing called passion, but the last time I was willing to write for someone for free (or almost free), I was a student working as a staff writer for my college newspaper, and at least with that position, it gave me the opportunity to graduate. Back then, I was living with my mother and was already provided for. As an independent adult, it’s only fair to want compensation for my work, and artists of all kinds really do deserve better. This isn’t up for debate.
When it comes to Screen Rant, I wrote them an e-mail showing my disappointment. At first, I just brushed it off, because I figured that they likely wouldn’t care about my opinion, but I couldn’t hold it in, and I shouldn’t have to anyway. I also don’t care if they see this article, because people deserve the truth.
How many more writers are being low-balled for their work is beyond what anyone can imagine. Even on Amazon KDP, writers only get 40–60% in royalties for every book sale, and we all know how problematic Amazon is to begin with. Big websites like Screen Rant are just the tip of a very problematic iceberg, and it isn’t something that should be tolerated.
The best part in all this is that they also happen to be owned by Valnet, an online media publisher that owns over 22 websites and Youtube channels. So after doing my homework, it isn’t that Screen Rant can’t give freelancers a proper wage, they simply don’t want to. Because really, they do not care.
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