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Internet Research Associates aka GuestProfessor.com / Nonpayment/underpayment

1 United States Review updated:

On December 13, 2006, I signed on with an Internet company calling itself “Internet Research Associates” to write articles. The fellow with whom I had all contact went by the name of Clark Covington, whom I also believe has a pseudonym of Clark Venable.

The pay for this work was very poor, $35 for [protected] word articles, but I decided to do it short term to dust off and sharpen writing skills that had been largely dormant after an extended period of time doing medical and legal transcription. I am a freelance writer and editor by trade, and have been in business for myself since 1994.

Simply put, Mr. Covington ripped me off to the tune of $136.50 for 39 articles turned in yesterday, saying he would not pay and that they were of poor quality (they were not). I have emails to support our "conversations". He also represents himself as a college professor, but I believe this is probably fake as I can find no evidence of this.

I did find evidence that he has a business, http://www.guestprofessor.com, by using an email of his to trace it, admin@guestprofessor.com. If this is indeed true, I'm doubly outraged, since he represents himself as the sole supplier of articles and charges $88 for 10 articles or $199 for 25, meaning that he pays writers to do this work at $3.50 per single article and pockets the difference.

This is incredibly greedy and unscrupulous even if it is not actually illegal. Certainly, writers should be passed the bulk of that fee with a small amount kept for costs and a small "finder's fee" percentage, but he's keeping almost two thirds of it.

What got me started on my search to get some justice for this is that I think Mr. Covington certainly owes me what we agreed should be paid as noted above, but more importantly, I want to get the word out as to what a truly greedy, controlling, unprofessional and unscrupulous individual he is. I want other freelance writers to read this and know to avoid him. Thanks very much for providing a forum to do this.

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Comments

  • Cl
      3rd of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    Your post is not only incorrect, but inappropriate. You have obviously felt the need to try to disrupt my business because of your own selfish need for assurance that you’re writing is not poor, which of course it is!

    Your writing was rejected for poor quality by the client. You have no right to request pay on work that is rejected, and you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to "expose" me for anything other than an honest person.

    You've been compensated for any work that was approved, and further you have sent me a letter "revoking the rights" of the said work that you're seeking payment for.

    How could you revoke the rights of the work and yet still request payment Kim?

    How do you know the first thing about what is done with your work, or how much people paid for the initial project Kim?

    You don’t, you again have put your words where they don’t belong. The sad fact is, if you tried half as hard on those articles, you wouldn’t end up on the outside looking in.

    The rates on my site are samples, and the clients often pay discounted rates for bulk work.

    You are not only out of bounds with your post, but could be held legally liable for your words.

    I'm tempted to list the awful excuse for articles that you did here, on this board so the world can see how awful it is, and expose you for whom you really are, a venom slinging disgruntled writer that can't hack it as a freelance writer.

    Is there not some medical transcribing out there for you, as I recall they enjoy a good team player like you, right? Maybe there you can bullet out 10 copy and pasted sentences and try to pass it as an article for payment, but not with my company.

    To your inevitable decline,

    Clark

  • Cl
      14th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    This person has been paid in full for their work, thus this issue is closed.

  • Ma
      23rd of Sep, 2007
    0 Votes

    I've written for IRA for about four months now, and I have been paid for every project I have written. I am sorry your work was inadequate, but if you read the "welcome packet" carefully, I believe it does mention that some people are not paid for their assignments if they do not measure up to the requirements. Your posting here was very well spoken. Without seeing your articles, I still have to take Clark's side on this. If you had put as much effort into them as you did this post, you might have gotten paid. As for his website charging more than what he pays the writers...well I'll just let you look up the word Capitalism yourself.

    Love writing for IRA
    Margaret LC

  • 1j
      23rd of Sep, 2007
    0 Votes

    I don't usually bother to comment on these types of things, but since it was pointed out to me yesterday i'll comment on what the original poster said, in order of her remarks:

    First- i don't know whether the person who runs this company has a "pseudonym" or not, nor do i care...it is completely irrelevant, & to "post" about it is nothing but an attempt to make the person look less-than-credible- nothing but mud-slinging on the part of the original poster.

    Second- regarding her comments on the pay rate & the "ghostwriting" aspect of the company- jobs are posted, it is up to you whether you wish to take them or not; as the decision is entirely up to you, you shouldn't gripe later on about the amount of pay or the type of service it is. If you disagreed with either of those points, nobody forced you to take on the jobs in the first place, did they?!

    Third- about the 'business' you claim you found 'evidence' of- your remarks make it sound like you had to dig for info, while the fact is it was readily available, certainly not "hidden." there's nothing illegal, immoral, or unscrupulous about ghostwriting services-- and, again, if you didn't like the fact, you could have simply declined to work there.

    Also- re: what clark c. Posted- perhaps the original poster should think of going into a different line of work. Although i started as a professional writer way back in the late 1970's, i've seen writers whose 'newcomer abilities' are way below par still being paid fairly and consistently for their work.

  • 1j
      26th of Sep, 2007
    0 Votes

    This just occurred to me... The original poster claimed that she was so terribly wronged by mr. Covington the day before she made that post? Sounds like a heck-of-a-lot of quote, 'evidence',unquote, to come up with in less than a day's time...

    Or should we take her post to mean that she was 'searching' for potentially-damaging info while she was still working for this company?

    Neither possibility makes the original poster sound like a very reputable individual!!

  • Qb
      25th of Oct, 2007
    0 Votes

    Clark is pretty brilliant to close his comment saying "To your inevitable decline" because how would he like it if someone wish ill will towards him.

    That comment right there showed how unprofessional Clark was. He could have responded to the comment Kim made in a more mature and professional manner. But wishing someone to fail he didnt have to go there.

    Kim didnt stoop to his level and returned any insults she was the bigger person who walked away and didnt go that route. She made her point and left it at that, but Clark wanted to go there with the comment wishing her to fail. Clark could have handled the accusation differently instead of making that derogatory statement.

  • Pe
      4th of Nov, 2007
    0 Votes

    Clark Covington (probably not his real name) is a snake in the grass BEWARE!

  • Ma
      12th of Nov, 2007
    0 Votes

    I'm just going to make the generic comment that everyone getting their feelings hurt because Clark writes under a pseudonym or because he sells the articles for more than he pays the writers for needs to grow up a little. Ever heard of a little economic phenomenon called... capitalism? He's making money... let's take him out back and beat him. Get over it people. If you don't like him or IRA/GuestProfessor, WRITE FOR SOMEONE ELSE!!!

  • Pa
      29th of Dec, 2007
    0 Votes

    Clark Covington, is not a nice or ethical person. Truth is he tries to bully people. I made the mistake of writing for him about 5 months ago and all I got for my trouble was the royal run around. He had be rush to write articles he said he was the end user for and he turned around and sold them. I spent two weeks chasing him for my money only to have to contact the publisher of my works and demand payment. The publisher paid me what I was due and swore of Clark Covington his company IRA and or any other fake name he works with. The guy is a snake and SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.

  • Ca
      29th of Dec, 2007
    0 Votes

    I think what we are seeing here is simple jealousy. Mr. Covington was intelligent enough to come up with a successful way to make money, and the naysayers who have commented above are just pissed because they don't have his business acumen.

    So what if Clark makes money on the articles I write for Internet Research Associates? Good for him, and may his business grow and prosper!

    I have been with IRA for 4 months. In all my dealings with Clark, he has been an honest "boss", sensitive to the needs of his writers when they have a problem meeting a deadline, yet a firm taskmaster when writers come on board and don't perform by the guidelines they agreed to follow when then signed on with IRA. I am proud to say I write for Internet Research Associates. As far as I am concerned, Clark Covington is a first class act all the way.

  • Ja
      18th of Feb, 2008
    0 Votes

    This guy is totally unethical. He never turns in projects on time and when employers hire him to write articles and leave honest feedback saying that he turned them in late, he lies about them and submits libelous statements. I have personally spoken with the authorities about some of his other actions and he's going to reap what he sows, eventually.

  • Jo
      20th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I have seen his website and have debated about using his services. I have not had any personal experience in dealing with him..but after reading his reply to the original poster, I will not be using his services.
    From what I am understanding and what I have seen on the web is that there are a number of writers who write for mr. covington and some are seasoned writers while others are just getting started. The one thing that bothers me is that he advertises that all purchases will be completed by a trained professional in the writing field, (which means him I guess...)
    I understand completely that as a business owner he does have employees who work for him, he can't do it all himself...but it appears that not everyone who works for him is a trained professional, and some might not even have any experience. I don't think I want to risk spending my money with someone who might have never written anything before.

  • Ma
      3rd of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    How can you tell if someone you work for is going to take advantage of you? Being a writer I can't help but wonder ... not really knowing who is right or wrong what to do.

  • Ma
      24th of May, 2008
    -1 Votes

    HEY I WONT STAND FOR THIS NO MORE I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET FULL HOUSE SEASON 12345678 IN THE HOLE SET BUT IT IS ONLINE ONLE BUT IT WAS ALL SO SPOST TO BE IN STORS PS CALL ME AT 2333111 FOR MORE INFOE

  • Ja
      31st of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    I just wanted to take a moment to commend Mr. Covington on his professionalism. I have tried writing for his service -- Internet Research Associates -- and once I got to work on an assignment I was approved for, I found the work to be a little bit overwhelming. I emailed him about this, and unfortunately this email was not received right away. However, a couple of days after the fact -- 2 days past the assignment's deadline -- I got a polite response. I was approved to turn in the assignement by the end of the day.

    Unfortunately, this raised a delicate issue. Would I be paid? Afterall, I've read complaints listed here and elsewhere.

    For this reason, I requested that the assignment be reassigned, and that I be removed as a member of I.R.A.

    Mr. Covington had every motive in place to chew me out. However, I want everyone to know that this is not what he did. Rather, he did reassign this assignment, while reminding me that my responsibility of a member of his site was to evaluate my ability to carry through with an assignment BEFORE I accepted it instead of AFTER. I appreciated his professionalism in handling this matter in a way that seeks to meet the needs of his client without demeaning his writers.

    I believe that I.R.A. would be improved if it 1.) Extended deadlines for the projects it hosts (5 days instead of 3), 2.) Clarify payment policies by offering incentives for quality performance as well as deterrents for sub-par performance (for example, two dollars extra for projects completed UNDER the deadline/30% subtracted from pay for each day PAST deadline), 3.) Make available projects easier to locate, and 4.) Increase pay (preferrably through incentive-measures as described above -- possibly by paying top performers a higher pay grade than newbies).

    I feel that I.R.A. has good potential, because it appears that Mr. Covington is working to improve this website. I hope that this site will become a better match for others than it was for me.

  • Jo
      14th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Clark Covington is very unprofessional and downright rude especially when I spent over $1, 000 with him and his rip off company and got nothing but complete garbage.

    A 5 year old can produce better work than Clark Covington. He makes all these claims that he works with this person and that person but his work is complete and total garbarge. All his testimonials are fake.

    Beware of this scam artist Clark Covington. I feel bad for all his victims.

  • Ch
      3rd of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I currently work for IRA and in fact have dealt with Clark a little too. He has been nothing but nice, and in fact he seems like he's a great guy. I was paid for everything I've done, and keep taking more articles, the pay is not as stated by the original person "poor", in fact IRA is one of the higher paying on the web right now.
    Maybe the problem was with your writing? You know we never like to hear that we've done a poor job. I just got called on the rug on 10 articles I did that were short and had a bit of problem with the writing. It was put to me nicely and I was given the opportunity of fixing the problem.
    IRA may not have been for this guy, but it's a great spot for other writers, but yes you must be able to write good and a lot at times. But I love to do that, so it's not big deal to me.

  • Li
      15th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Has anyone else had any more recent experiences?

    I have worked for IRA twice now. The first time I worked there, I was told that I was being terminated (out of the blue) becuase a client thought my articles sounded like they were written by someone who didn't speak English. I wasn't given any more details, and wasn't even given the information about which project it had been. I fought my way back, explaining to Clark and the editor I was working with that there was no way that could have been my writing - simply becuase I know I speak AND write English very well. After a lot of arguing on my part, I got an email from Clark, saying I could have one more chance, but I'd be fired immediately if there was another complaint.

    Well, when I got back into the system, I went to the articles that I had done, turned in, and not been paid for, as they were the ones the client didn't like. I was able to access the articles, because this is the way it is set up - and the ones that were there were articles of mine that had been tampered with. The grammar was all messed up, punctuation was in the wrong place, and things like that. I didn't say anything, becuase I'd been warned I'd get fired if I caused any more trouble - but I worried.

    Sure enough. I turned in a project the other day, and I got the same email back again - the client thought the article was written by someone who didn't speak English, he was ticked off, and was no longer going to order from IRA. Again, I wasn't told which project it was, or even which article, just given an ambiguous client number. From the number, I guessed that the client had been talking about a certain article, which I pulled up on my own computer. I couldn't find any instances of the article being written like I didn't speak English, so I can only assume the same thing happened again. I've sent numerous emails to Clark now, explaining what I think happened. I even attached the article I'd written, and asked him to check to see if that was the same article the client got. But I haven't heard back and its been almost a week.

    I think that IRA is a great company, but there is obviously an employee working there who wants to take down other writers. Unfortunately the way the work side of things is set up, employees can have access to the articles that others are turning in. I know that Clark wants to believe the best of his employees, as I'm sure we all do, but the writing community has snakes in it just as any other community. Writers know each other, and if a writer is taking too much work, or getting to work before other writers, sometimes people get really mean, catty, and vindictive.

    I lost a total of 86 dollars working for Clark. 50 from the first project that was tampered with and that led to my first firing, and 36 from this most recent one. If you add that to the 55$ worth of work that I had done for the site and hadn't had a chance to upload before I was terminated, thats $141. That's a day and a half of work for me - and a tenth of my rent payment. I can't afford that kind of treatment and I'm upset about the entire thing.

  • Li
      21st of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I wanted to write again and say that I DID get the payment that was coming to me. I emailed them for a few days, and did get the money that was due. I did not get all of the money, as I explained to them, because the articles that had been tampered with and were no good (there were 6 of them) had to be rewritten by other writers before being sent to the clients. SO, for those 6 articles, which were tampered with before they were sent to the client, and then rewritten by another writer, the new writer was paid. However, I do have the original articles for those 6 articles, and so I am now free to resell them in any way that I choose.

    For the articles that were used by IRA, I was paid.

    However, IRA has still not done anything about the fact that I was fired because they have another writer who is tampering with the work of others.

    Let me stress here, I am the person who wrote the post right above mine - and my complaint currently has nothing to do with Clark, or IRA, or any of the people he has on his direct staff - editors or co-owners or whoever they are. They have all been nothing but nice to me, and are good to work with. Its not their fault that there is a writer, or more than one writer, on their staff who tampers with the work of others to get them fired so that they might have more work for themselves. Clark and IRA's only downfall is that they have no way of knowing who is doing it, and therefore, have no choice but to fire the writers (like me) who customers have complained about.

    I was asked to remove my original post. I guess I don't know how to do that, but I still feel that my complaint about IRA is something that others should read because it is important for writers to know.

    But, I WAS PAID.

  • Je
      20th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I've worked for IRA in the past. They always paid me in a timely manner but their turnaround times for work almost guaranteed poor quality. I would struggle to complete smaller batches or articles sometimes because 3 days is just a short amount of time.

    And, because they pay so little, you're always grabbing bigger projects. Everyone did it. It's just so tempting when you started doing the math.

    As for their online user interface, it's AWFUL! It's totally public so your work is there for everyone to see and any feedback (negative or positive) is also public.

    I was always worried about someone claiming my work or stealing it. You don't know the other people and there's no way to have an indication of anyone's integrity. Why not take these things offline or offer more secure, individual access?

    Spend a little for some more professionalism. You'll find no shortage of articles where Clark brags about how much he makes. It's time to invest a little in the people making all that money for you, Clark!

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