This market research compares the biggest copywriting platforms (Textbroker, Fiverr, Contently and Upwork) with the up-and-coming ContentFly and highlights their pricing, value proposition, unique offerings, customer reviews and much more.

ContentFly vs Textbroker

Textbroker operates as a marketplace where writers can choose between “thousands of writing opportunities,” though limited by a quality rating, choosing when and how much content to write. In this sense, Textbroker is more evidently a middleman from the customer perspective than ContentFly.

In the OpenOrder system, Textbroker will pay per word depending on quality rating. The DirectOrder category allows writers to set their own price regardless of quality rating, and involves a direct communication between writer and client to the writer’s personal inbox. The TeamOrder category is suitable for projects and price is set by the client.

Compared to Textbroker, ContentFly has an advantage when it comes to quality assurance, as the cohesive nature and using the company’s services as opposed to selecting writers personally is a key differentiating factor.

While pricing comparison is difficult to measure given that writers and clients can price independently on Textbroker, we have pieced together a rough comparison.

Description of Company

Textbroker is a content mill – an online company that relies on freelance writers to provide digital content for their clients at a low cost. Customers sign up with the site to order different articles for their blogs or websites, and authors choose from a pool of writing assignments to complete.

Textbroker acts as the middleman, facilitating the platform for the work, collecting payments from clients, and disbursing payments to writers once an assignment is completed.

Textbroker, a US and Germany based business, claims to be the “world’s leading content marketplace, bringing screened freelance authors and clients looking for unique high-quality content together: from product descriptions, blog posts, press releases, social media posts and news stories to technical articles and much more.” Textbroker highlights its versatility of content topic coverage, budget flexibility, and multi-language services, as well as having “a short turn-around time.”

Company Service Description

Open Order:

  • project submitted to large pool of authors
  • i.e. authors choose your order, you determine writing quality and price
  • authors can only reserve one OpenOrder at a time
  • well-suited for large number of orders at once, those who have little time for author search, and quickly completed orders

Direct Order:

  • 1-on-1 relationship between author and client; optimal control for client
  • based on style, expertise, etc. required by client
  • well-suited for clients who require content on niche/expert topics and clients who want to work on a specific author
  • authors set their writing fees

Team order:

  • clients determine price and conditions
  • authors can join any number of teams
  • well-suited for large number of orders or large projects

If you’re satisfied with the content, you can choose to accept. Otherwise, you can submit a request for the author to revise the information.

Value Proposition/Unique Offering

As stated by Textbroker’s website:

  • Direct access to 100,000+ screened authors
  • Fast and Scalable content creation
  • Guaranteed unique, high-quality content, ready to use
  • You can outsource entire content projects and get individual support
  • Additional services like expert topic writing for SEO
  • Authors with experience in your industry
  • International Reach: Custom content in 36 languages
  • Translation service for every language in the world
  • Editorial service available

Curated Customer Reviews (On The Website)

53,000+ companies trust Textbroker to fulfill their content-creation needs. Some customer comments as follows:

  • Save your valuable work hours for important core tasks
  • Achieve better SEO rankings & higher conversion rates
  • Reduce stress by knowing you’ll always get the right authors
  • Reduce the cost of your content creation & increase your profit

Additional Information: Type of Order in 2016

  • On almost all Textbroker platforms, the average length of articles exceeded 400 words.
  • On average, the length of the content ordered from Textbroker was just over the 450-word mark.
  • In comparison to last year‘s statistics, the trend in 2016 is towards longer articles of a higher quality. This is reflected in the fact that 6 out of the 10 countries preferred content at 4 stars, one of the higher quality levels.
  • In Germany, the 3-star quality level led the statistics slightly though an almost equal number of 4 star articles were ordered.
  • Companies all over the world have recognized the importance of blogging and its role in content marketing. Globally, blog articles have been the most commonly ordered content at Textbroker this year. Research from HubSpot indicates that marketers who prioritize blogging have a 3x greater chance to achieve a positive ROI.
  • Product descriptions and product reviews were, next to blog articles, especially popular in USA.
  • Apart from business and health articles, Textbroker clients placed orders for a diverse range of topics: articles about cars, shopping, property, beauty and travel were the most popular.
  • In total, there were an especially large number of orders for the topics of travel, health and business in 2016.
  • Articles such as product descriptions and buyer’s guides are frequently requested by international companies.

Textbroker Author Survey Results

  • 1,200 responses from authors in 49 states
  • Popular topics among students are travel and product descriptions, while people with full-time traditional employment tend to prefer business blogs and health content.
  • Textbroker also found that people who identify as freelancers, aka those who do not have traditional employment and work exclusively in the “gig economy” tend to write the most orders per week and spend more time than average on each order.

Pricing (To The Best Of Our Ability)

Note: to become a 5-star author your writing has to be nearly perfect. You also have to pass a complex proofreading test).

  • All funds paid in advance via Paypal that are not used to order content can be returned (according to website).
  • Each project depends on the client’s demands, but from a writer’s review:
“However, the pay leaves a lot to be desired as it goes according to the writer's "star" level (ranging from 2 - 5 stars). As a 4 - 5-Star writer, it's possible to make a reasonable supplemental salary, as the writer would have to have other income to actually survive financially. The pay for the 2 - 3 Star level is minimal at best so a writer could never make a living on this salary.”
  • The minimum price per word for a DirectOrder is 1.78 cents, and Textbroker charges the client a 35 percent commission on all DirectOrders. The client sees 2.4 cents per word as their cost.

Writer System (Costs)

  • Writers get paid weekly, each star rating has its own pay rate per word:

-- At level 2, writers get 0.7 cents per word;

-- Level 3 writers get 1 cent per word;

-- Level 4 writers get 1.4 cents per word; and

-- Level 5 writers get 5 cents a word.

  • Writers find a job in the pool, and have 10 minutes to accept or it returns to the pool.
  • Once you accept the job, you must complete the assignment by the deadline, or it returns to pool.
  • After you submit the article, the client has 3 days to either accept it or return it to you to rewrite.
  • Once accepted by the client, you are paid by Textbroker.
  • Eventually, an editor from Textbroker will assign a rating to your article and may leave a comment on what you could do to improve your writing.
  • According to writer reviews, there are few assignments for those under 4 stars.

How Does The Accept/Reject Process Work?

  • Writers can claim one article at a time from their pool of titles that are submitted by their clients.
  • If the client doesn't like it, they have to give writers one chance to make a revision.
  • Writers can either choose to do the revision or let the title go back to the open order board.
  • If writers attempt the revision and the client still isn't happy, they can reject it.
  • If the client neither accepts nor rejects your article within three days, writers will automatically get paid for it anyway. Clients can choose to rate and leave comments after the writer has written something for them. In turn, the writer can also rate the instructions given by clients.

What determines your rating?

  • After you're initially hired in, every article you write for a client will be looked over by Textbroker's team of editors.
  • They will rate each article and leave comments on improvements that could have been made, then can choose to advance/demote the writer’s rating.
  • The client will get the article before the Textbroker editors, and the client has the only say as to whether or not content goes through.

ContentFly vs Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace where clients and freelancers meet to buy and sell various services. It is a vast network, and does not place a very keen focus on copywriting specifically.

In terms of quality assurance, ContentFly can provide a more reputable service than Fiverr, as freelancers on Fiverr do not undergo the detailed and stringent requirements for ghostwriters on ContentFly.

Additionally, finding a writer on Fiverr may take significant time and effort on the part of the client, whereas ContentFly provides a seamlessly integrated process from sign-up to product.

While pricing, which is determined by Fiverr’s freelancers, is possibly cheaper with Fiverr, clients who are seeking quality and not just cost-savings would find it worthwhile to choose ContentFly. Thus, the target segmentation for ContentFly is more specific and oriented than Fiverr, which accepts service postings with all clients.

Description of Company

Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services. Founded in 2010, the company is based in Tel Aviv, and provides a platform for freelancers to offer services to customers worldwide. The marketplace provides a two-sided platform for people to buy and sell a variety of digital services typically offered by freelance contractors.

Company Service

A service offered on Fiverr is called a "Gig". Buyers are able to browse the homepage and category pages, or use the search to find a Gig they wish to purchase.

It is important (and time consuming) for the buyer to read through the description of the services offered and if available the seller’s work samples. When a buyer is ready to make a purchase, there are several ways to pay for the Gig. All purchases are subject to a processing fee, $1 on purchases up to and including $20 and 5% on purchases above $20.

Buyers pay Fiverr for orders in advance. Sellers keep 80% of each Gig they sell and successfully complete and deliver. Fiverr accredits sellers once an order is completed. As you build your rating on Fiverr it is possible to start to raise your rates for Gigs. Each Gig is different and therefore may be subject to a rates change.

Digital-freelance sites each work a little differently. On Fiverr, buyers and sellers correspond through the platform anonymously and are not supposed to exchange email addresses or phone numbers. This is a rule designed to ensure that people won’t connect off the platform and thus hire one another without Fiverr getting a cut.

Anyone can create a profile and begin selling their services right away, but they don’t have to upload a photo of themselves, enter their education qualifications, or use their real name. Because people are restricted from exchanging too much information about themselves, it can be hard to know who you’re hiring.

Value Proposition/Unique Offering

Value Proposition:

  • To take some of the “friction” out of the process of finding and working with a freelancer
  • Making it as easy to buy labor as it is to buy a T-shirt online.
  • In a statement, spokesperson Sam Katzen described it as “a global community that enables anyone to be a doer.”

Key offerings:

Size and Service Diversity: lots of different categories, and over 3 million gigs

  • Graphics & Design
  • Digital Marketing
  • Writing & Translation
  • Video & Animation
  • Music & Audio
  • Programming & Tech
  • Business
  • Fun & Lifestyle
  • “$5 appeal”

Fiverr is a place where freelancers can set up a virtual store, create detailed pages that explain what they are offering, and how they can help customers.

Freelancers can also offer different service packages and set their own rates. Most freelancers get started by charging a low fee.

For Buyers, Fiverr is a place to find skilled and semi-skilled sellers willing to work for cheap. They track when work has been completed, allow sellers to rate workers, and provide staff who can help resolve disputes.

Size/Team

  • Fiverr was founded by Shai Winiger and Micha Kaufman in 2009
  • The website has been ranked among the top 100 most popular sites in the US
  • Has offices in Israel and the US
  • Fiverr currently has over 50 million dollars in investments from venture capital firms

Target And Current Demographic

The Fiverr marketplace is dominated by young adults, with only 2% of sellers are over the age of 55. The company has stated that the rate of sellers aged 55–64 grew 375% at the end of the second quarter of 2015, compared to the prior year.

Pricing

Fiverr charges businesses with a processing fee of $1 on transactions costing up to $20 and 5% on purchases above $20. While other freelance sites charge between 2.5% to 3% transaction fees, Fiverr remains one of the most inexpensive options.

Writer System

Fiverr takes 20% of the revenue earned ($1) of each transaction (fee for providing the platform and medium of service).

Customers are not universally satisfied with quality of writers. There have been complaints about inactive accounts, poor review system, and lack of proof of the work provided.

In terms of value creation, Fiverr disrupts the traditional professional service market by allowing more clients and suppliers to enjoy and provide services for a much lower price.

To ensure customer services quality, Fiverr introduced a rating system for clients to leave ratings and comments, and prioritized the high rating suppliers for selection. The wide range of services provided as well as the number of providers also present a strong indirect network effect, enabling clients to choose from the highest quality suppliers and crowdsource their task.

Summary of User Reviews.

What Fiverr Does Well:

Users who gave Fiverr a positive review said that they like its easy-to-use interface. It has search tools that help businesses filter the results they get based on the qualifications they are looking for.

They also like that they can check the ratings and feedback of every service provider which helps them choose who they will order a gig from (gigs are work orders).

What Fiverr Does Not Do Well:

Users who gave Fiverr a negative review said that it has issues with scams on both ends of the deal. Some clients don’t get the job they ordered, and some freelancers don’t get paid.

They said that while Fiverr has security policies, there are times when it is not able to fully-protect users from instances like these.

Users also said that customer support needs improvement.

ContentFly vs Contently

Contently operates a “unified solution” that connects clients to a global network of talent from designers and videographers to writers. Contently prides itself in a “network of specialized support, dedicated teams, ability to handle large projects, and a proprietary customizable platform”.

In many ways, Contently operates similarly to a streamlined online marketing agency. Unlike ContentFly, Contently caters primarily to mid and large sized businesses.

In terms of analyzing pricing comparisons between both organizations, Contently operates on a subscription basis, leveraging their wide range of services, ability to handle large orders, and customized platform to charge a high price. While the specific price is highly dependent on the customizations that a customer could want, rough estimates for a standard subscription equate to $3,000 a month, increasing up to $25,000 with different customizations.

This gives ContentFly a significant price advantage (standard subscription is $250), but the difference in target audiences between the two organizations needs to be taken under consideration as well.

Company Service

End-to-end content marketing platform that creates surface actionable insights. Focused on the “content decision engine” – plan, create, activate, optimize, strategy. Applies this concept via connecting the global talent network to clients.

According to Contently, their service encompasses:

Strategy: workshops and data-driven recommendations from pioneers of content marketing, optimize content and find breakthrough strategies.

Customer Success: faster time-to-value with dedicated support (tech support) for smooth partnership.

Editorial: execute with consultative partner – managing editors who understand audience work together to build and manage content program.

Account management: outcomes-driven manager, personal account manager/managing editor oversees partnership and provides regular updates and recommendations.

Platform

Contently’s online platform has the following features

  • Content strategy, tagging, track production and archive, etc.
  • Workflow tools: approve/eliminate remotely, feedback tools, consistency and version control
  • Easy tracking of website, engagement with heat maps, generation forms – “Docalytics”
  • Compare performance against industry benchmarks
  • Automated review tools
  • Identify and fix bottlenecks with average completion time, user workload, user delays.

Value Proposition

  • Own your audience: the only unified content marketing strategy for the world’s best enterprise brands
  • Achieve content mastery
  • Company values: accountability, candor, empathy, curiosity, diversity and inclusion “Catalyst”

Target And Current Demographic

Contently’s focus is on mid to large companies and corporations, who want to have a hands-on team and can foot the bill. This is evidenced by their list of past/current clients on their website.

Pricing/Costs

  • Subscription based for software, ranging from $3,000 to $25,000 (source: Hubspot Blog)
  • Cost structure: customization costs, data migration costs, training costs
  • Costly for consumers, Contently lumps together good quality and lower quality services

Talent Network/Costs

Key services provided:

  • Writers
  • Videographers
  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Designers
  • “personalized recommendations from our unique talent matching algorithm”

Contently states that they have curated content providers that are vetted and continually rated on performance, who are certified (trained on the platform and on working with brands).

The company also claims to be very global, with presence in almost 20 countries. Additionally, the freelancers engaged for Contently tend to be able to tackle expertise-requiring issues, and are also attracted to working for Contently by the portfolio of clients they display.

Clients As Listed By Contently

  • Weebly
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Weber Shandwick
  • Hilton
  • Guardian
  • Domo
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • BBVA
  • Adecco
  • Cox
  • ENI

Client Comments: Best Features

  • Ease of communication/collaboration
  • Complete package
  • Access to experts on many different topics
  • Managing editors are helpful, large projects
  • Team mentality on platform
  • High traffic of search
  • Analytics
  • Trusted
  • Large Projects

ContentFly vs Upwork

Upwork operates as a marketplace where clients can post jobs and choose freelancers, who in turn also can bid on jobs. Freelancers are given a quality rating, choosing when and how much content to write. Similar to Fiverr, services are not limited to content-based offerings.

Upwork is a middleman between the freelancer and client. Upwork also provides three categories of services: Upwork (freelancers and essentials to connect them with clients), Upwork Pro (dedicated support and handpicked talent per each job), and Upwork Enterprise (customized technology and services).

Compared to Upwork, ContentFly has an advantage when it comes to quality assurance, as the company is perceived as more responsible for the quality of writers available. The cohesive nature and ease of going through the company as opposed to selecting writers personally is a key differentiating factor.

Though finding a writer personally may be more of an assurance for a client who wants to know specifically who will be writing, finding a quality writer among the vast number is quite time consuming and difficult.

Pricing is difficult to compare as writers can price independently on Upwork, but based on data from the website, the standard processing fee that the company requires for the standard service is 2.75% on the transaction amount set by the freelancer.

For the Upwork Pro, Upwork takes a $500 fee for each search and 12.75% fee on the project amount.

Finally, the price for Upwork Enterprise varies per the customizations that a company may want to add to provided technology and services.

Company Service

After a customer posts a job with certain skill requirements, Upwork’s search functionality can highlight freelancers based on skills and send the client a shortlist. Freelancers can also view the job and submit proposals (prices).

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the customer to screen prospective freelancers. Upwork Messages provides chat and video conference tools for customers to communicate with freelancers. Upwork also has an online workspace to send and receive files, share feedback, and a mobile app.

Quality Assurance

Upwork maintains a certain level of credibility through their monitoring of accurate billing. For hourly contracts, Upwork has a “work diary” that counts keystrokes and takes screenshots 6 times an hour to verify billable hours.

For fixed price jobs, Upwork enables the client/freelancer to set milestones for the project, and releases funds when the job is approved. Upwork also provides basic screening for freelancers in authenticated emails, job success scores and feedback, and results of online skills tests.

Pricing/Offerings

Upwork provides three offerings, which are priced differently:

  • Upwork: 2.75% fee on the transaction amount
  • Upwork Pro: $500 fee for each search + 12.75% fee on project amount
  • Upwork Enterprise: price varies based on the specific job

The three offerings differ in level of involvement from the company and quality assurance, with the higher level, Upwork Enterprise, strongly resembling Contently’s competitive advantages.

The middle level, Upwork Pro, seems to be a level of quality more comparable to ContentFly and Textbroker than Upwork’s basic offering.

In general, workers set their own prices for fixed and hourly based projects, so long as the price is above $3 an hour.  


This market research was put together by Enactus Analysis on 4th of March 2019 (authors Derron Yu and Amanda Ljustina).