Article Rewriting Service – Using The Mechanical Turk For Profit

by El Plumber (admin) on March 5, 2009

Rewrite this Sentence – “Paul Pullen Will Pay You To Rewrite Sentences”

Note, anyone coming here looking for a review of Paul Pullen’s article rewriting Amazon Turk jobs or his service site Spunwrite.com, I have not used the service nor partaken in his HITs (The term for the jobs on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs).  That being said, I’ve read and heard only good things regarding his behavior and company service on both Amazon Turk and his rewriting site.  So take that in itself as a positive review.

Here is the first in an Electron Plumber series on how other people make money online.  All this information is gathered from freely available sources.  We won’t be giving up any of their deep dark secrets, but there are some juicy tidbits.

If you didn’t know, Amazon does FAR more than just sell books.  Over the years, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has  managed to leverage the infrastructure they’ve built for Amazon and branched out in ways that are startling and innovative.

There are some that both fit the Amazon business model and seem successful, such as:

  1. Allowing third parties to ship them goods to be sold on Amazon and used with their current shipping and fulfillment service
  2. Amazon Affiliate Web Services API which lets third party developers access the Amazon site data directly.

Some that haven’t worked out so well:

  1. Amazon Unspun was an attempt to tap into the social networking market by allowing users to create lists.  It’s now 100% discontinued.

And some that don’t exactly fit in with an online store but leverage their existing infrastructure or solve problems they needed solved, such as:

  1. Amazon Cloud computing which lets you run applications on the distributed network of Amazon servers.
  2. Amazon Mechanical Turk which lets people create HIT’s (Human Interface Tasks) where you can pay people tiny amounts of money to do manual tasks.

This is part one in a many part series of how entrepreneurs use the Mechanical Turk to make money and drive their business.

Article Rewriting HITs

There are currently 54 pages of HIT’s in the Turk interface, and 4 of them are all posted by one person, Paul Pullen asking people to rewrite various sentences at $0.05-$0.06 a pop or judge rewrites of sentences for the same amount.  At any given time in the past six months, HIT’s from Paul Pullen make up 10%-30% of the jobs available on the Mechanical Turk marketplace.

The sentences that are currently listed as I write this and some I’ve seen in the past cover the following topics:

  1. University program descriptions (appear to be pulled directly from various Universities).
  2. Drug descriptions (Xanax, Zoloft, Viagra, etc)
  3. Automotive Technology Schools
  4. Culinary Schools

Hard to say for sure, but there always seems to be a frequent customer having their university descriptions and programs rewritten on there.  Maybe it’s one of Paul’s pet projects.

Why So Many Article Rewrites?

There is a fabled Google Penalty for duplicate content.  That is to say, I can’t take this exact article, post it on 15 different blogs all linking around and expect them to act as relevant backlinks for keywords.    But to get my article or post to rise in the Search Engine Rankings, I need backlinks from relevant content, and what better way than to have the exact same content linking back, just slightly differently worded so that Google doesn’t notice it’s duplicate content and I get backlinks and authority.

How Does Paul Pullen Make Money?

This is where sites like spunwrite.com come in, which is Paul’s business site.  They charge $0.015 – $0.025 (depending on quantity) per word for a rewritten article.  Multiply that by the average sentence length of 18 words and get a average price of ~$0.30 a sentence.

Now look at the jobs on the Turk.  He’s offering $0.05 on average per sentence rewrite.  Plus another $0.05 to review the sentence rewrite.  Toss in some reasonable amount of loss (wrongly rewritten sentences don’t need to be paid, but the reviewer still needs to be paid for catching the issue) and you get ~$0.15 per sentence payment.

Throw in the software to split the articles into sentences and feed them into the Turk, plus the same to get the customers back their jobs.  Add in an automated process for customers to submit their jobs and article files in text format, and he has a nice turnkey business going for him.

That all being said, there is always marketing, customer support, and many many other costs and time sinks to be considered, but it’s a nice looking gig.

My point here?  Should you go try to get into the article rewriting business?  No.  It’s likely too thin to stretch much more out of.  However, take note of how Paul is leveraging the inexpensive labor on the Turk to his advantage.  There are many tasks while trying to earn money online that could use some automating, some large portion of which really need a human to do properly.  Use the Turk.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Pullen March 18, 2009 at 2:12 am

Hi, Paul Pullen here!
Very nice write up about the “secret” behind SpunWrite! :-)

Article rewriting is considered “spammy” by many people, but it does have its legitimate uses. And we’ve become popular with overseas clients as a way to “de-engrishify” their articles for use on English-speaking sites–a use I hadn’t originally anticipated.

I did a write-up entitled “On the Ethics of Article Spinning” that your readers might find enlightening.

Thanks so much,
Paul Pullen

Stephan Miller March 31, 2009 at 8:46 am

I guess using an article spinning service to de-Engrish articles does make sense. I have started to lose faith in some of these services and software because the resulting articles never turn out quite right, but I may have to give this one a try.

Carlos Colon October 26, 2010 at 2:05 am

There is nothing wrong with rewriting an article as long as you change the keywords and sentence structure, also there are millions of sites with duplicate content that outrank original content sites . There is more to rewriting an article on Turk than mentioned.

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