At 3 a.m in Kahawa Wendani, a Kenyatta University student bends over his computer, reading and refreshing a page on the Internet. A mug of coffee sits next to him to help keep his eyes open. He scrolls down a page titled ‘available orders’. At some point, he clicks on an entry labeled Philosophy, 2 pages, $20, deadline, 3 hours. He reads the instructions given, then clicks on the accept button. He sips some more coffee and buries himself more on the Internet, looking for information to write the allocated research paper. In less than three hours, he will make KES 1600 for writing just two pages on Socrates.
Research writing is one of the ways people are making money online. Dennis Kaluma, who runs a research writing centre in Kahawa Wendani has made it his sole bread winner. He is doing so well that he has since quit his banking job to manage 6 writers who help him run his research writing account on Uvocorp.com.
According to him, one does not need to be well read in a specific niche. All one needs is an Internet connection, a push to make money, and time. Dennis is a former student at Kenyatta University. When he was in second year, he opened an account with one of the online research writing centers, Uvocorp.com. He did an online interview, followed by a phone one and was accepted as a writer. He has been writing since then, and has managed to start paying for his masters and even buy a car. Dennis started small, writing two articles a day, and making around KES 30,000 per month. “I kept on writing and with time, I got allocated more questions to work on,” he says. After one year, he had become a premium writer, thus, getting questions was not a task. He therefore got two writers to help him. “The more you write, the more advantage you get as a writer and the easier it becomes to be allocated questions. There are many other writers who are always bidding.”
Uvocorp is not the only online research writing company that people are writing for. However, it happens to be the most competitive because it pays better per page and has a track load of testimonies from people who have worked with it for years. “It is hard to trust these online writing companies. You need a company with a good record from people you know”, says Dennis.
Dennis is not the only one doing this kind of job. Time and again, you will spot job openings looking for research writers. Most of these writers are employed by account owners like Dennis, and are paid around KES 200 per page. These pages are usually double spaced and therefore easy to put together. The account holder on the other hand gets paid around KES 800 per page. On good days, the account holder can make up to USD 2000 per month. However, there are seasons – hot season and the low season. For Uvocorp for example, there are two hot seasons. One is between March and June, and the other one is between November and January. Writers therefore try to maximize their time as much as they can, working day and night to make enough money before the season comes to an end.
So how do they get paid? Dennis tells me that he banks online with Moneybookers. The company he writes for pays him twice a month, depending on the questions completed. Completed questions means that they have gone through a plagiarism checker, and that the customer has approved them. The questions completed between 1-15th of the month are paid from 15th to 20th, while those completed between 15th and 1st of the month are paid between 1-5th of the month. The payment department will calculate the total amount, including fines for lateness and plagiarism if any. Once the money is released by the research writing company, say Uvocorp, they will send it to your preferred method of payment. It could be Western Union, Mastercard etc. Dennis says that once the money is transferred to his Moneybookers account, he transfers the funds to his Co-operative Bank account, a process that takes around three days to complete.
But can you trust these companies? Numerous companies are always looking to hire writers. As expected, some are scammers. Others will pay very little for a page while others will look for excuses to cancel payment. The most notorious excuse being “the paper was plagiarized, and the customer rejected it.” However, there are those that have set a good track record, and as Dennis advises, “you cannot just start working with any company.”
It is surprising to note that a big percentage of writers in Uvocorp, which is run by Ukrainians, are Kenyans. It also runs a sister writing company, Academia. The other most popular ones are Research Writing Centre and Essaywriters.
As to whether this is a legit way of making money, or if it is too addictive, Dennis says that it depends on an individual. “We all want to make money to pay the bills. The job market is competitive. If a kid in some Canadian University feels like he can pay for my knowledge and time, why not?”