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If you need to outsource content creation, Textbroker is a decent option, as you choose the quality level you want and pay accordingly. But this marketplace has some major drawbacks that you should know about before you sign up so you can avoid wasting time and money.
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Textbroker Is a Seasoned Online Content Marketplace
From blog posts to ad copy, Textbroker claims to be able to deliver all the content you need. But is this online marketplace really the best solution for outsourcing content – and is Textbroker legit?
Founded in 2005, this platform serves industries ranging from arts and crafts to travel and tourism. As a seller, you can hire select writers or open jobs to anyone on the platform. Textbroker assigns freelancers quality scores, so you’ll have a reasonable idea of the standard of work you’ll get when you hire a writer.
I was curious to find out whether this marketplace is as smart a solution as it sounds, so I decided to test it myself. Find out whether Textbroker’s features and pricing are right for you – or if you’re better off using another marketplace instead.
Textbroker Has the Basics but Lacks Advanced Functionality
With its administration system for managing orders, author search engine, and messaging portal, Textbroker has all the essential tools you need from a content marketplace. However, I found it lacking more advanced features like a mobile app to manage orders on the go or a premium plan to streamline recruitment.
Multiple Ordering Options
When you need content, you can choose from Textbroker’s four order types:
OpenOrder: Allows any writer with the quality rating you specify to accept your job. A good option if you need content fast or if you don’t have time to search for writers.
DirectOrder: Lets you pitch one author of your choice. This is a great option if you know exactly who you want to hire or are picky about who you work with.
TeamOrder: Enables you to create a team of writers and pitch the job to all your top choices. This option would work well if you were on a tight deadline but still wanted some control over who you hired.
TranslationOrder: Relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to translate content into any language. But we know how inaccurate machine translation can be, so it’s safe to assume that this option would lack precision and nuance. It might be useful if you don’t mind that a human won’t be editing your project, but you should expect a huge margin of error and be prepared for a high level of risk.
Writing Brief Templates
You can post jobs relatively efficiently thanks to Textbroker’s preconfigured briefing templates. Just choose the template for the type of content you want and let the platform auto-populate certain sections. For example, you can select a product description briefing template, and Textbroker will fill in the basic elements of your order, such as a recommended word count.
Then you can select the quality level, category, and turnaround time you need. You can also type out a short description of the project and any notes for the writer before posting the job. I was glad to see that Textbroker briefs also let you add keywords so you can order search-optimized copy.
Freelancer Quality Ratings
Textbroker has its own internal writer rating system, which ranges from two to five stars. The platform assigns a quality level to each writer based on their writing skills and the work they’ve delivered. Over time, writers can gain or lose stars based on the quality of their work.
Five-star writers also have to pass a Textbroker editorial test. However, since it’s just a simple proofreading test that writers can retake multiple times, I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.
Honestly, I found Textbroker’s explanation of its quality ratings a bit unsettling. I got the sense that you’d need to hire at least a four-star writer if you wanted content that made any sense at all. Otherwise, you’d have to spend a ton of time editing and reworking the content you’d paid for.
Although this rating system does set expectations, I’d really appreciate a customer rating system, too. With Textbroker, customer reviews aren’t public, so it’s tough to confirm writers’ strong or weak points without hiring them.
Although it might not seem like a deal-breaker, knowing how actual customers fared with a freelancer means a lot more to me than an arbitrary internal rating system. In other marketplaces like Fiverr, customer ratings and feedback are readily accessible so you know exactly what to expect.
Writer Work Samples
Freelancers can include writing samples in their Textbroker profiles, so you can get a better sense of whether they’re a good fit for your needs before hiring them – sort of.
Every Textbroker writing sample I found was quite short, so it was tough to really gauge quality or get a sense of long-form writing skills. I was also disappointed to find that writers can’t link to external portfolios or websites, and it’s against Textbroker’s terms to ask writers for additional work samples.
Ease of use
Textbroker Is Easy to Navigate but Unpleasant to Use
Once you set up your Textbroker login, it’s easy to find your way around the marketplace. If you prefer a visual platform, however, prepare to be disappointed. Textbroker is quite text-heavy and not particularly enjoyable to use.
Sure, the focus is on hiring people to write words, but that doesn’t mean the website has to avoid images and pleasant design. It feels extremely outdated and like it’s lagging behind the competition – the likes of Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and TopTal have got the user experience down to a fine art.
Powerful Search Engine
Fortunately, Textbroker does have a decent search engine. When searching for Textbroker authors, you can filter by any or all of these characteristics:
Quality level – Two stars (lowest-quality but cheapest authors) to five stars (highest-quality but most expensive authors)
Category – Specializations ranging from business and economy to horoscopes and fortunes
Education – High school education to terminal degree, such as a doctorate
Languages – Nearly every language from Afrikaans to Zulu
Content type – Options range from blogs to product descriptions to poetry
Price range – Slider that you can dial from 2.7 to 20.2 cents per word per word
Order rejection rate – From 0% (no rejections) to 100% (excessive rejections)
Search results include only a list of names and basic stats, making the interface feel a bit like a spreadsheet. You have to click on each writer to learn about their areas of expertise or read their writing samples. From there, you can add writers to your favorites list or invite them to a team.
I was surprised at how few results came up in my search, though. A search for four-star authors with no other filters returned only 200 results, and many had never submitted an order or hadn’t been active for ten (!) years. That made me wonder how many writers actually use the marketplace.
Efficient Bulk Ordering
If you’re planning to order dozens or hundreds of articles at once, Textbroker thankfully makes this process as straightforward as possible. You can upload briefs via a spreadsheet rather than creating a separate order for each.
Just use Textbroker’s spreadsheet template to input the recommended details – from word counts and required keywords to processing time and project description – then post your entire order in one go.
You can also place recurring orders, which would help save time when managing ongoing projects. Just enter the basic parameters, including category, brief, and word count, and choose the recurring schedule you need.
Integrated Messaging System
With Textbroker’s messaging system, you can easily correspond with authors before, during, and after projects. You can also add writers to your Textbroker address book so you can find them again and keep internal notes that only you can see.
Textbroker Offers Excellent Support but Limited Hours
Whether you’re completely new to the platform or just trying out a new feature, Textbroker makes it easy to figure out how to use the marketplace. The site has step-by-step tutorials and how-to videos to walk you through just about every feature. Right after signing up, I also received a really helpful welcome email walking me through the ordering process.
If you have questions, you can access Textbroker’s virtual assistant around the clock. The site also has live chat, email, and phone support from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
First, I sent an email asking how to access freelancer portfolios or work samples. I opened the ticket on a Saturday afternoon, so I didn’t expect a quick response.
But in the end, the email support team exceeded my expectations. I received a response at about 11 a.m. PT the following Monday, so I really didn’t have to wait long at all. The response was short and to the point, answering my question efficiently.
Next, I turned to live chat support to ask about the refund policy. I wanted to know if I could get my money back if I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the work. Since it was during support hours, I hoped for a quick response.
Sure enough, a support rep assisted me right away. Although it took a couple of follow-up questions to get an answer, they told me what I needed to know in under five minutes.
When you outsource via Textbroker, you can purchase content for as little as 1.5 cents per word. While that seems pretty inexpensive, the marketplace can get pricey depending on who you hire and how you do it.
With OpenOrders, base pricing depends on the author’s level. That means you’ll need to budget more for higher-quality writers. DirectOrders and TeamOrders automatically have higher base prices because they allow you to handpick the writers.
Although you don’t have to pay to post a job on Textbroker, you do need sufficient funds in your account before the order can be placed. Textbroker accepts deposits via PayPal or major credit cards.
Textbroker does allow you to request unlimited revisions and ultimately refuse an article if it doesn’t meet quality or content requirements. Once you accept an article, however, you can’t get a refund.
If you need to outsource content creation, Textbroker is a decent option, but it’s definitely not the best out there. Through this marketplace you can order anything from cheap, low-quality filler content to high-quality content for several times the price. If you run into any issues, in my experience the support team is top-notch.
However, Textbroker’s arbitrary writer quality ratings, absence of customer reviews, and lack of active writers is really concerning. By contrast, a freelance marketplace like Fiverr is updated constantly with new sellers from around the world. With Fiverr’s transparent status system for sellers and public customer reviews, you don’t have to worry about writers being legit.
What is Textbroker?
Textbroker is an online content creation marketplace. You can use websites like Textbroker to outsource anything from product descriptions to ad copy.
How does Textbroker work?
With Textbroker, you can post jobs that are open to any freelancer or hire writers directly. Then you can contact writers, review content, and submit payments via the platform.
Anna Sonnenberg is a digital agency owner who specializes in email marketing, content strategy, and social media management. For over 6 years, she has run Sonnenberg Media, a digital micro agency that works with small businesses in the CPG, SaaS, marketing, and health & wellness industries.