One of the most overlooked aspects of Demand Media’s success is the super efficient payment system the company uses handle its thousands of freelance writers.We learned about it when we were reporting on the feud between Demand and its freelancers over the amount of writing assignments available.
One freelancer compared it to “an addiction.”
“The one thing they’ve done right is their fast, efficient payment system,” the source wrote. “I could work long hours one week and have the money in my bank less than a week later.”
We spoke with Jeremy Reed, who is in charge of the company’s studio content and editorial operations, to get some details.
The goal was to solve one of the biggest problems in the freelance world: the delay and opacity of payments. Demand executives gathered together members of the tech team, the accounting team, the product team, and the editorial team in order to figure out a solution.
The result was a weekly payment system that debuted in April 2008.
If an assignment was approved by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., the writer/editor/copy editor would be paid by that Friday.
“That was one thing that we invested in early on that really helped us attract the amount of people and the quality of people that we got,” Reed said.
Eventually, Demand decided to push the payouts to twice a week.
Citing the quiet period before the third quarter earnings, Reed declined to site figures for the average payment or whether those payments have increased over the years.
He did say that the company has never come close to missing a payment and remains committed to the system.
“It’s truly been a big investment, not only to build the platform and the infrastructure, but we’ve also built teams to support it,” Reed said. “We have editors who are managing payouts. We have people from accounting who are helping us process it. We have product trying to improve the UI.”
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