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Judy's Book

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Lisamer

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Back in late February, I answered an ad on Craig's List to write reviews of local Summit County businesses for Judysbook.com. I was told that it would pay 1.00 per 50 word review for up to 100 reviews, and that the money would be deposited in my paypal account by March 30th.

A few weeks later, I was told that I had written the most reviews on a specific day, and that I had won a $100 gift certificate for a local restaurant. How nice! NOT!!!

Come March 30th, there was no money deposited into my paypal account. When I inquired about this, I was told that I was ineligible for payment since I had won the contest.

Although I was not pleased, since I am still paying off my ACL sugery, at least I would be able to afford to take my husband to dinner for our anniversary. NOT!!

It is now May 3rd, and neither the gift certificate nor the $66 owed to me has arrived. According to Judy's Book site owner Sarah Johnson, she spoke with the restaurant owner "Mr. Robinson" who said that the certificate is on the way.

I contacted the restaurant. It is not owned by a Mr. Robinson, and they know nothing of this promotion! Writers Beware!
 

A. J. Luxton

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A bit lacking of gorm, perhaps

Judy's Book offered to pay you in cash? I worked for www.judysbook.com now and again, when they were paying, and they ALWAYS paid in Starbucks gift cards, increments of $5 per 5 reviews.

Which came promptly; and once they sent me an extra, and a free T-shirt (I never asked: maybe they'd confused me with someone else, but hey -- an extra starbucks gift card and a T-shirt. I wasn't complaining.)

Andy Sack is the CEO mentioned on the site, too. Sarah Johnston is apparently a technical support type -- I dealt with her before and she answered my concerns pretty promptly.

When they were doing the pay-in-starbucks-cards thing, the language on their site didn't explain the policies very well, and I had to go and ask them questions; also, once they randomly changed the deadline for a starbucks card promo to a later date, after I had submitted the claim form which can only be submitted once, and I had to ask them how I could claim more reviews. (Answer: email them. That worked, though, and I got my cards on time.)

I think they're well-intentioned but flakey.
 

SeeEmilywrite

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Sarah Johnson is NOT the site owner of Judys Book. She is just an employee in charge of sending out gift certificates.

I agree, if you email them they are usually VERY helpful and respond back quickly. I won that same contest and recieved my $100 giftcard at the end of the month. I also won the contest for the entire month and recieved at $200 gift card to another restaurant as well.

The T-shirt is for the city editor program...They also send you a *prize* every month for praticipating as a city editor. This month i recieved a $25 gas card, last month $25 at Target...the month before $50 at an online jewlery site.

In my opinion its a good site.

This is sounds like an issue with the restaurant you selected not sending the giftc certificate NOT Judy's Book.
 

Luckless

The buck has to stop!

People, please stop writing for mugs and free tee-shirts. This is a trade like any other. Could you go to the gas station and pay with Starbucks certificates? Would your medical insurance company accept a restaurant voucher? I don't think so.

If you give a money-making publisher rights to print whole reviews in exchange for one dollar or bumper stickers, you are selling all writers out. This has to stop.

Listen, writers GET PAID. Publishers pay their electricity and phone companies, their printers and distributors, so why not writers?

Stop being mugs and start being professionals. As long as you continue to let yourself get screwed, this industry will become more unprofitable for all of us.
 
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Lisamer

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Exactly Luckless! Even if the mix up was the fault of the restaurant, not the site, I still believe that first telling someone that they are writing for a given amount of money, and then saying that they have "won a contest" so they can't have the cash is a bit sleazy.

As I said earlier, given that I am paying of thousands from ACL surgery, I would have really liked to be given the choice of the money or the gift certificate.
 

Christine N.

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Hey, writing reviews for $25 worth of gas isn't bad. At the price of gas, I could get about half a tank for that. At least it wouldn't be out of my pocket. I'd take $50 to Target too. Might not pay a bill, but it's better than some of the really crappy per word payments I've seen.

I stopped writing for Associated content for that reason; too much energy for too little pay.
 

SeeEmilywrite

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If you've been to Judy's Book, the reviews you write are hardly literary masterpieces...or really even reviews in my opinion.

Saying they were not going to pay you and instead send you the gift certificate was bad. I dont in any way agree with that. It was my understanding that people involved in the writing program for $$ were NOT able to win prizes.

I used Judys Book as one of those "Wow I need to take a break" places. I have probably visited every business in my town, and have strong opinions about a lot of them. I write "real" reviews for "real" money for newspapers in my area. 50 words is probably 1/8 of this post.

I wrote a hundred in maybe a few days of just filler bordom time. Personally, I enjoyed networking with other people in my area (just as I enjoy networking with other writers here) and found out a few tips about places around me. Coffee cup or not, I would probably still use Judy's Book.

That said. I would say on an average I have gotten well over $1 in gift certificates (not t-shirts) that I ASKED for (they sent me an email and said "where would you like it?" for every review I wrote.

I think $.02 a word, for a brief comment about somewhere I have previously shopped is reasonable. I'm not shopping there specifically to write the review, and the whole review writing process probably took me 30 seconds a post.

"This place has fantastic pancakes...don't try the omlettes they used processed cheese"

It's hardly the effort or the time that I put into writing a review for a print publication.

For me I would almost prefer gift cards. I know I'm going to spend $100 at Target, and frankly $100 on gas. I'd rather not pay taxes on it and get it in the form of a gift certificate.

The T-shirt (and business cards) they sent out were for city editors. They also send out a free gift every month (as mentioned in my last post). Last month I recieved the gift, and wrote ZERO reviews for the month.

If I only write reviews at Judy's Book I wouldnt call myself a writer. I was actually shocked when i found out some people were being paid real $$. It's just not that type of review site.

A legitimate market for writers- Absolutly Not.
Place to get free stuff for your opinion- Absolutly
 

Aconite

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SeeEmilywrite said:
For me I would almost prefer gift cards. I know I'm going to spend $100 at Target, and frankly $100 on gas. I'd rather not pay taxes on it and get it in the form of a gift certificate.
I hate to tell you this, but better me than the IRS. Gift certificates from employers count as earned income, and you have to report them on your tax forms.
 

CaoPaux

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What's worse, I'll bet they pay in gift certificates and "prizes" as a way to dodge their own taxes.
 

A. J. Luxton

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JB is hardly a meaningful publication credit, any more than writing reviews on Amazon. The reason to write reviews there is pretty much the same reason one might want to write reviews on Amazon: one is opinionated and likes to promote one's favorite ice cream shops, books, hardware merchants, whatever, and/or warn other customers about the rotten apples. The talk on their website isn't the "OMG PUBLISH YOUR WRITING!!!" sort of thing either.

It's really less like getting paid for real writing and more like getting promo items for filling out surveys, and is attractive for the same reasons: you can do something with a work-to-fun ratio similar to poking around on people's blogs or playing a mindless video game for points, except the points will buy you coffee and (bad, over-sugary) pastries.
 

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