Examiner.com is a blog network based in Denver, Colorado. Sooner or late, a freelance writer will get an invitation from another freelance writer to join Examiner.com. You may also come across one of the many Internet ads Examiner.com puts out to recruit new blog writers.
Stay far away from Examiner.com. You will wind up putting in an awful lot of work for hardly any money. Examiner.com suffers from a very high blogger turnover rate for precisely this reason. It is also impossible to get a hold anyone from the Examiner.com team in order to settle technical issues, such as how much you are supposed to get paid.
What Examiner.com Expects
Examiner.com expects their bloggers to write like journalists, blog for at least two times a week and stick to the blog topic. This isn’t such a big deal, but when you sign up, they send you about ten PDF files about the house rules and expect you to have them memorized. However, if you actually read a variety of blogs on Examiner.com, you will quickly note that very few bloggers bother with the house rules.
Writers are called “examiners” and are separated into two groups – national and local. Local examiners get an up-front payment if and only if their posts follow stringent guidelines linking their blog topic to the area where they happen to live. National examiners do not get an upfront payment, but are given a lot more leeway as to what they can blog about.
To give you an example, this writer was the Philadelphia Tea Examiner. There are just not that many tea-related topics restricted to the Philadelphia are that one can write about. I even once write about a suburb just outside of South Philadelphia, but that was not considered local enough to justify the up-front payment of one US dollar.
Within two weeks of getting hired, my supervisor suddenly quit. This supervisor had set up a writers forum on Ning. This was totally his own initiative, as Examiner.com did not have such forums. After the supervisor left Examiner.com, so did the Ning forum. About two months later, Examiner.com did start a forum for writers.
The forum posts at both Ning and Examiner.com were full of complaints. They ranged from the mild (“the site is running slow today”) to the alarming (“why haven’t we got paid in two months?”) I discovered that the only way to make money on Examiner.com was to seduce other freelance writers into joining, which would earn you $50.
I was the Philadelphia Tea Examiner from January to April of 2010. In all of that time, which included learning the house rules, trying to figure out the website template and not being able to communicate with Examiner.com staff, I made a whopping $29. This was far less than what I expected to receive.
Since the time I left, I have learned that Examiner.com has since lowered their rates. I’m glad I left when I did.