Is Examiner.com A Scam?

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Yes, Examiner.com is a scan if you want to seriously get paid for quality writing, time and effort. You'll get paid in cents, and your work will be nearly impossible to find.

No, Examiner.com is not a scan if you’re cool with pocketing a few bucks and just having samples to show off. It really does get published, and it doesn't cost you anything.

The problem with Examiner.com is that I'm trying to be a serious writer. So it doesn’t seem fair to spend hours of my week writing for a site that pays by the view—and doesn’t have a great way to promote my work.

In three months, I wrote five articles. My payment thus far? $1.98. (Money that never actually made it to my bank account, btw.)

You can Google search for my articles all you want; I never found them. Unless you’re a regular to Examiner.com or read my self-promoted Tweets, you probably won’t ever see them.

Examiner is great in theory, but there are just too many writers, niches, and cities. Content gets lost.

Most content is organized by city and broken down by topic. If you live in Charlotte and visit the Charlotte Examiner page often, you might see my gaming articles. But if you live in Denver, no dice. And there just doesn’t seem to be enough locals to keep my views poppin’.

I can see the possibility of making it big if you (A) live in a huge city like Los Angeles and (B) write celebrity gossip or something equally popular. But, let’s be honest, that’s rare.

The verdict

I’m tired of wasting my time when I could use my energy for writing query letters, pitching ideas to magazines, building a better blog, applying to jobs, or baking cookies. So, arrivederci, Examiner.com.

[This post was originally written in 2013. Has Examiner.com changed since then? Post your comments below!]


True Stories from Other Examiners:

[These stories were comments from my original post in June 2012 from other Examiners]

Marilyn - Dec 2013

"I’m an oldie. I first started writing for Examiner in the fall of 2009. I did so-so the first 3 or 4 months, but after that things got better. More views and started finally making some money about $20 to $30 a month. In 2010 I started writing another examiner gig and in late 2010 a third gig.

Over the 4 years the most I’ve made is about $50 a month. I wasn’t expecting to make a ton of money, but $100-$300 a month would have been nice. Some writers that did celebrity articles made $500+ a month.

In 2011, the wheels started falling off the wagon. Examiner kept making various changes, most not for the good. Along with that the pay per view kept going down down down. They made so many changes so often it was difficult to keep up. There was a large community forum of writers on Examiner that would gather and talk, discuss, exchange ideas and sometimes gripe and complain. There was Examiner monitors on the community forum that answered our questions from 2009 to 2012.

In May of 2012, Examiner discontinued paying $1 incentive pay for each article written up to 5 a week not counting pay per view. Most writers monthly pay dropped by half or more. I know mine dropped a lot. If it wasn’t for Examiner lowering the threshold pay to $10 from the former $25 there would have been some months I didn’t receive pay.

Other various changes continued, most not for the good. Though Examiner did start being able for writers to write articles and pre-publish where your articles would automatically publish on the dates the writer set, which was great.

Over the 4 years numerous changes were made to the Examiner publishing tools, some good and some not so good. Examiner keeps changing the looks of the website pages & articles, most of the time not for the good.

In 2012, I discontinued one of my 3 writing gigs and then earlier this year just started writing only for my original gig I started in 2009.

In 2011 or maybe it was 2012, Examiner fired a lot of their paid staff in Denver. All of the sudden it was difficult for writers to get answers from Examiner. Ticket sent in for help would languish. No monitors were in the community forums any longer. It was almost like Examiner closed shop and didn’t let us writers know.

A couple of months ago, to my surprise (or maybe not), the community forum closed down, without notice. I never received an email with the announcement. Examiner, back in 2009-2011 was good at sending out emails with announcements and about new things going on or new changes. By 2012, only received an email if i didn’t publish very often, reminding me to publish articles. Now most of the times I don’t even receive those.

At my high point in 2010 I was publishing about 20-30 articles a month. By 2011, pay had dropped so, that it got to where it didn’t seem worth it to put so much effort, so I cut back to about 20 articles a month. When the incentive pay was done away with I cut back to 5 to 10 articles a month. I made about the same amount of money each month that I had when I was writing more articles. Of course, by then I had a lot of evergreen articles.

As of now, I have about 850+ published articles floating out there and the majority are evergreen (meaning articles people would be interested in whenever, forever).

I have been working on about 15 articles to publish this week using the pre-publishing so the articles will be published throughout the month. When I happened to go on the internet to check on a few published articles, when it goes to the page of my article a video pops up and states the person wanting to view my article first has to watch a video (subject matter not even remotely having to do with my article, more like an advertisement)! 

In January 2014, I’ll be deciding whether to continue with Examiner or call it quits. I like to write and never expected to make a lot of money, but the past 6 months or so I’m doing good to meet the threshold of $10 a month. My time might be better spent elsewhere."


Richard Thornton - July 2013

"I am one of those people, who have actually gotten paid by the Examiner. My name and articles are all over the internet. One of my articles had over a half million readers and became the premier of a hit new series on the History Channel. YET about three months ago, I noticed something strange going on with my payments. The “dashboard” would say that they updated my total viewership, but the numbers wouldn’t change. Sometimes, I would go three or four days with the same number, then be updated for only one day. I sent in a complaint and attached proof via computer screen shots. I received an anonymous response that the viewership and payments are calculated by a third party and so the Examiner is not responsible for the amounts displayed. Say what?

I have a friend who is a corporate web site consultant. I don’t know how he did this, but he checked to see if a article I wrote was counted when he read it. His view was counted to the total viewership of the Examiner, but not credited to me. So what they are doing is pumping up their own viewership to maintain ad income, but only counting a fraction of the views when calculating payments to writers. That is interstate fraud, a federal offense.

The failure to tally daily readership coincides to when I am running particularly popular articles that are news items. I calculated that they cheated me about 83% last month. When a corporation cheats some of its most popular writers, who does NOT produce internet drivel, mind you, doom is on the horizon."