Though we were hoping to wait until we had completed the revamped author FAQ, we have decided to push forward with the new 5-star process.
Our goal with the 5-star process is to offer our clients top-notch content and service, and we are also working on things behind the scenes to make this process faster for our authors. This process may not be easy, and it may be controversial, but please remember that our 5-star authors are paid three times as much for their work. We expect a significant difference between our 5-star authors and our 4-star authors. Just as our authors want more transparency, clients have requested more safeguards.
Before we go into the process, we'd like to answer a few questions pre-emptively as well as explain our rationale for the change.
Q. Why is Textbroker changing the process?
A. There are many reasons for this change. For our clients, the quality level has been inconsistent as of late, and we need to ensure that our highest paid authors are delivering top-notch content. For our authors, the evaluation process takes a long time, and there is little transparency involved.
Q. What changes have been made?
A. First, we have our requirements in writing, so aspiring and current 5-star authors should be aware of what is expected of them. We will now be requiring ten consecutive articles rated at 4 stars instead of ten total for consideration, and an author will need to have either ten articles or 10,000 words to evaluate once the process has started.
Most importantly, we are now requiring passing the proofreading test to be considered for 5-stars. All authors who pass will be considered, so a formal request is not required. We will continue to honor requests made prior to today's date. The proofreading test debuted in January, so the three month waiting period to retake the test should be ending for many authors who didn't pass it when it was first offered. Authors who pass the test will not be required to proofread articles for our clients.
On our side, we have streamlined the process so that most authors will receive a decision about their 5-star eligibility within a week.
Our current 5-star authors will not be required to pass the proofreading test, but they will be held to the standards below. Failing to meet those standards will result in demotion.
Below is from our revised FAQ, which will be posted in the author section of the site once the FAQ is completed:
How can I reach level 5?
Authors who have maintained an author rating of 4 for at least ten articles and have passed the proofreading test are eligible for an upgrade to level 5. You will automatically be considered when you pass the proofreading test.
What do you look for when evaluating an author for level 5 status?
We look at the author's spelling, grammar, style and tone as well as the author's conduct.
Spelling: Misspelled words will not be tolerated and will result in our team denying your request. Use spell-check, and always proofread prior to submission. Proper names should be spelled and capitalized accordingly.
Grammar: Weakness in any of the following areas will result in your request being denied:
Word choice: Ensure that your word choice is both correct and appropriate for the tone of the piece. There should not be problems with homonyms at this level.
Pronouns: Keep pronouns consistent, and make sure that your pronouns have antecedents.
Plural/Possessive: Know the difference between these two concepts and the proper usage of apostrophes.
Punctuation: Understand the proper usage of the semicolon, the colon and the comma. Areas of concern in comma usage are coordinating conjunctions, compound predicates, adverbial clauses, appositives, essential and non-essential clauses, comma splices and introductory elements.
Stylistic Choices: Use dashes, parentheses and exclamation points sparingly. We adhere to AP Style, which says:
"Parentheses are jarring to the reader ... The temptation to use parentheses is a clue that a sentence is becoming contorted. Try to write it another way. If a sentence must contain incidental material, then commas or two dashes are frequently more effective. Use these alternatives whenever possible."
If you choose to employ these stylistic elements, be certain that doing so strengthens your writing rather than distracts your reader.
Style: An author's style is unique; however, every author's style should be appropriate for the content. Ensure that your pacing, word choice and sentence structure aid in the interpretation of your message. Most importantly, because clients are paying considerably more for 5-star articles, there should be no fluff in your writing. Fluff is defined as text that is redundant, circuitous, unrelated or otherwise devoid of value.
Tone: Your tone should match the content, and it should establish a certain level of insight and authority.
Conduct: We assume that all of our writers are capable of being polite and professional. We will not promote any author who proves otherwise. Harassing clients or Textbroker staff or engaging in other volatile behavior will not be tolerated. We are open to polite, constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. If you have an issue with a client, please contact us.
*Note: Client instructions may sometimes conflict with these rules. In these instances, please adhere to the order requirements.
My 5-star request was denied. Can I re-apply?
Authors must wait two months before requesting re-evaluation. After that period, we will be happy to look at your request again.
What happens once I'm a 5-star writer?
You will enter a probationary period for the next two months. Any mistakes during this time will lead to demotion. We reserve the right to demote an author at any time without warning after the probationary period has ended.
What happens if I'm demoted from 5-star status?
The first time you are demoted, you must wait two months before requesting re-evaluation. If you are demoted a second time, you will be re-evaluated if we see a noticeable and consistent improvement in your work, but you can no longer request 5-star status.
While many of you no doubt have questions or concerns, we believe we have created a model that sets a high bar but not one that is impossible to surpass. As mediators, we have obligations to both our clients and our authors, and we have tried to make this process fair to both. Please feel free to leave your comments below, and we appreciate your dedication to Textbroker.